Bravo! Vail Celebrates 30th Season

Gerald R Ford Amphitheater Exterior Lawn (c) Zach Mahone
Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (c) Zach Mahone

The iconic Bravo! Vail music festival is getting ready to celebrate its 30th season this summer. The festival kicks off this Thursday, June 22, and will run through Friday, August 4. Bravo! Vail is the only summer festival in the country to host four of the world’s greatest orchestras – London-based Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.

The 30th season will include a record number of world premieres, expanded educational offerings, and the largest-ever number of string quartets performing in the chamber music programs. The most well-known performances are the ticketed orchestra concerts at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater; however, Bravo! Vail offers much, much more if you care to look for it. The Chamber Music Series – also ticketed – offers concerts at more intimate venues throughout the valley. Then, there is the Free Concert Series with periodic daytime performances at the Vail, Beaver Creek and Edwards Interfaith Chapels, and three Bravo! After Dark concerts at Vail Ale House, Crazy Mountain Brewery in Edwards, and Vail Brewing Company respectively. Families with young kids can enjoy educational programs like Little Listeners @ the Library or the Instrument Petting Zoo.

While there is a lot of Bravo! Vail programming to enjoy, we know that most of our guests will only have time to attend one or two performances this season. If you are one of these people, we are here to help you narrow down your choices. Here is a list of the top five concerts not to be missed according to the Vail Daily Weekly’s Bravo! Vail guru Chris Freud:

June 25: Academy of St Martin in the Fields – Bell & Isserlis: Bach Mozart & Tchaikovsky

“Any of the Academy’s three concerts in its second residency at Bravo! Vail are most worthy. This is just a point of personal preference.

This is a night made for the skills of the Academy with its concert director, Joshua Bell, performing the Bach Violin Concert, following by cellist Steven Isserlis heading up C.P.E. Bach’s Cello Concerto.

Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nacht-musik” and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings rounds out the evening.

By the way, there’s a lot of Tchaikovsky this summer.”

June 28: Dallas Symphony Orchestra – Ohlsson Plays Tchaikovsky

“Speaking of the Russian master, Garrick Ohlsson plays the iconic Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with Jaap Van Sweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Ohlsson’s rang in different eras off [sic] classic music is astounding and this should be no exception.

It should be a pretty mellow evening with Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony as the second hald of the program.

And if you think we were joking about Tchaikovsky, James Ehnes performs his Violin Concerto on July 7 with The Philadelphia Orchestra and, yes, we have the “1812 Overture” on July 15, also with Philadelphia.

Seriously, no “Pathetique?”

July 13: The Philadelphia Orchestra – Yannich Conducts Bach and Brahms

“As one of the Big Five orchestras in our country, The Philadelphia Orchestra has a storied history, which includes having just two music directors, Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy, for a staggering 68 years.

One of Stokowski’s numerous contributions in the orchestration of Bach’s organ works, including the Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor and Toccata and Fugue In D Minor. The Philadelphia Orchestra performs these pieces with a sense of ownership, so this should be a treat.

And topping the evening is Brahms’ Second Symphony, and expect current Philadelphia music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin to wring every drop of emotion out of it.”

July 22: New York Philharmonic – Kavakos Plays Brahms

“One of the great lights in the violin world, Leonidas Kavokos performs the Brahms Violin Concerto with Alan Gibert [sic] and the New York Philharmonic. Yes, there is quite a bit of Brahms this season, but here really is no such thing as too much Brahms.

This night has a fun pairing of Brahms and Berlioz, with the latter’s Symphonie Fantastique.

And, by the by, with Gilbert finishing up his tenure as music director of the Philharmonic, it’s interesting to note that his first concert with that title back in 2009 was – wait for it – Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.”

July 26: New York Philharmonic – Gilbert Conducts the New World Symphony

“Any performance of Dvorak’s Ninth is a cause for celebration. Taking nothing away from the New World Symphony and how the Philharmonic will perform it, we’re coming to see Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F.

While Ives, Copland and Souza contribute to the landscape of our classical music, it’s hard to find a more musical expression of America than Gershwin’s Piano Concerto – brassy, sassy, mathematical and emotional simultaneously and enormously complex. Bravo! Vail artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott does the honors.”

Hope this great advice helps you narrow down your choices! Once you book your lodging with us, our concierge staff is happy to offer more assistance with concert options and ticketing.


Lodging Accommodations for the Bravo! Vail Music Festival

Searching for Vail Colorado hotels? Lodge at Lionshead has vacation rentals available for most of the Bravo! Vail season this summer. Our condos range from small (Platinum Studio Loft) to mid-size (Platinum 2 Bedroom) to large (Platinum 3 Bedroom) with kitchens and comfortable living areas. Come on your own, or bring the whole family! Two to four-night minimum stay is required depending on the dates. You can check out rates and availability right here on our website.