Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Sun Valley Summer Symphony Gets New Identity
The new website was scheduled to go up at 5 this morning.
Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Call it the Sun Valley Music Festival from now on.

The Sun Valley Summer Symphony has officially changed its name, and that is expected to elevate the symphony’s reputation around the nation and the world.

“The new name will help the Festival build its reputation,” said Board President Sue Monson. “The community should be proud of the orchestra it has built over the last 35 years, and the Sun Valley Music Festival deserves to be counted among the great classical music festivals in the world, including Tanglewood, Ravinia, Salzburg and Lucerne.”

Derek Dean, Margaret Hamamoto and Dan Drackett toast the new name.

Names can make all the difference, as Derek Dean discovered when he stepped into the role of executive director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony a year ago.

“One of the first things I did was to google top classical music festivals and summer music festivals. Up came articles form the New York Times and New York Magazine and others, and nowhere was the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. I think part of the reason is that people don’t know what this is,” said Dean.

The name Sun Valley Summer Symphony sounds like a regional orchestra made up of musicians from Sun Valley, rather than musicians who represent the top orchestras in the United States and Canada, he said.

“They don’t know this is actually a festival orchestra of the best musicians in the country,” said Dean. “I’m hopeful calling ourselves a ‘music festival’ will put us in the same crowd as the Grand Teton Music Festival, which is similar to what we do and is on the list of top festivals.

Others cheering on the new name were Nils Ribi, John Evans, Lauren Jorgenson , Kim Gasenica and Stephanie Guzman.

“In some ways, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony has been a best kept secret,” he added. “The locals and second homeowners know about us, but the name was seasonal and regional.”

Dean announced the name change to symphony supporters Tuesday night at a cocktail reception held in the lobby of the symphony’s Ketchum office.

“We believe the phrase ‘music festival’ represents what this organization is,” he said. “It presents concerts not throughout the year but in winter and summer and it’s comprised of musicians who make their living with other orchestras and who come together for festivals. I hope the Sun Valley Music Festival will take its place among the Salzburg Festival and others,” he added.

The advent of the Winter Festival, which debuted in February, was the catalyst for the name change, said Dean. As Music Director Alasdair Neale noted, “If we plan to keep the winter festival permanent, we probably shouldn’t call it a summer symphony.”

Sun Valley’s General Manager Tim Silva chatted with longtime arts supporter Richard Smooke.

The name change enables the organization to assemble musicians from its festival orchestra at different times in the year, no longer exclusively in the summer, said Dean.

“We will also continue to present programs of all sizes and formats as part of these festivals,” he added. “As an example, this summer we will feature Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Gautier Capucon in a duo recital without orchestra. Calling ourselves a ‘music festival’ more accurately represents what we are and will continue to be.”

Alasdair Neale said the name change takes the symphony back to its roots when it began as the Elkhorn Music Festival 35 years ago.

“With this change we reaffirm that we really are a music festival, more than a regional or seasonal symphony,” he said. “I’ve been asked if this changes what we do. The short answer is no--it doesn’t change the artistic direction. That’s not to say we aren’t always on the lookout for new ways to present what we do.”

Carol O’Loughlin, Debra Levin and Leslie Silva were among those talking about the new name.

The new logo for the Sun Valley Music Festival features a French horn meant to evoke the notion of classical music. Mountains are outlined inside the horn.

The font’s forms “are classic enough to speak to the quality and tradition of music making with strong pointed serifs reminiscent of Alasdair’s coif but with smooth and gracious curves that invoke the soaring of the music,” the designer said.

The symphony organization sent hundreds of photos of nature around Sun Valley in different seasons to the designer asking them to come up with the color palette that represents Sun Valley. What they came up with ranges from yellow goldens of fall to the red Idaho dogwood and will be rotated throughout the year, said Dean.

“It’s perfect for the organization we have,” Board Member Carol Nie said of the name change. “Our organization does such a variety of things from the summer festival to the winter festival and the music school. It’s no longer a summer organization and it hasn’t been for many, many years. Now, when we google ‘music festivals’ we’ll probably see the Sun Valley Music Festival listed among them. And the 2019 season is going to be so brilliant I think it’s going to be hard to find a space even on the lawn.”

The Music Festival is making a number of other changes along with its name:

  • The first week of concerts in the summer, formerly known as the “In Focus” week, will be integrated fully into the Summer Concert Series.

    Each concert will feature a Pre-Concert Chat on the lawn, which can also be accessed on mobile phones via live audio streaming. The big video screen will be live beginning with the first concert, as well, enabling lawn audiences to see, as well as hear the concerts.

  • All of the Music Festival’s education programs will become part of its Music Institute. The institute will continue to offer both year-round programs, in partnership with the Blaine County School District, as well as intensive summer programs that run concurrent with the Summer Concert Series.
  • The Music Festival will have a new website, live today at www.svmusicfestival.org.


Tickets for the 2019 Gala featuring Branford Marsalis on Aug. 11 will go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 10. For more information, visit www.svmusicfestival.org.


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