If BBC Young Musician of 2016 Sheku Kanneh-Mason, violin superstar Leila Josefowicz or prodigious young conductor Gemma New weren’t enough to get classical music fans excited about the Grand Teton Music Festival’s 2021 season, the venerable valley arts nonprofit recently rolled out details for the rest of its 60th season: a new Thursday night “Gateway Series,” programs for Wednesday night chamber recitals, and a summerlong schedule for “GTMF On the Road” events featuring string, brass and jazz combos at outdoor venues throughout the county.
Single tickets went on sale Tuesday for all of this year’s concerts for the Music Festival, which welcomes more than 200 professional orchestra players from 130-plus ensembles and institutes from throughout North America for seven weeks of live music starting July 2 and running through Aug. 21.
Already on the books are opening-week outdoor concerts through the first week of July: an evening of some of the classical favorites that Hollywood has borrowed over the decades (July 2), the annual Fourth of July “Patriotic Pops” spectacle (July 4) and “A Night at the Opera” featuring crowd-pleasing arias from “Carmen” and “La Traviata” (July 6), all led by Grand Teton Music Festival Music Director Sir Donald Runnicles.
Just announced is the addition of a “Once Upon a Time at the Movies” family concert for Saturday, July 3, with Associate Conductor Jerry Hou at the podium and the festival’s new education curator, Meaghan Heinrich, helping to explore how music and storytelling go hand-in-hand. Family concerts are free, though tickets are required.
All of the opening week’s events will take place on the Center for the Arts’ big grassy lawn, with plenty of space for social distancing and jiggly kids.
In years past, the Music Festival has welcomed a wide variety of non-classical and crossover performers, including chanteuse Norah Jones, jazz pianist Aaron Diehl, Broadway rock star Kristin Chenoweth, the world renowned Canadian Brass, longtime GTMF percussionist Richard Brown’s swing orchestra and many others.
The tradition continues this year as the “Gateway Series,” with boundary-defying stringsters Time for Three (July 22), Grammy-winning quartet Third Coast Percussion (July 29) and a “Broadway Through the Ages” program led by pianist Andy Einhorn, the peripatetic conductor/music director and longtime collaborator with triple threat Audra McDonald (Aug. 5).
Also back and better than ever is the festival’s extensive outreach work. Over the years, GTMF musicians and some of their guests have offered free programs, often tailored for families and children and often outdoors under the Teton summer sky.
This year, three combos will go “on the road” to play a total of 20 dates at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Teton County Library, Astoria Hot Springs, St. John’s Health and other public gathering places.
A string quartet of festival musicians will present a program called “Feel the Music,” with Heinrich leading a conversation about the emotions music can evoke. Heinrich also will work with a brass trio for its “Tell Me a Story” program, reviewing some of the techniques composers use to create a setting, present a character or propel a plot. And Mike Richards, the festival’s communications and operations associate, will head the GTMF Jazz Quartet and its “A World of Music” program, a trip around the globe to sample some of the different sounds heard and played in different parts of the world. “GTMF On the Road” launches July 7 with the string quartet hosted by Jackson Hole Food Rescue and runs through mid-August.
That’s all on top of six weeks of Wednesday night chamber concerts and weekend orchestra programs (with three Thursday night bonus performances) in Walk Festival Hall, Teton Village, featuring guest musicians and conductors, and favorite works by Mozart, Mussorgsky, Beethoven and a whole lot of Tchaikovsky, 20th-century masterpieces by Britten, Barber and Stravinsky, and living composers Jessie Montgomery, Clarice Assad and Melody Eotvos.
Go to GTMF.org for additional details and ticket information, or call the festival box office at 733-1128. ￼