On Sunday, June 26, the Vail Valley Music Festival opens with a free solo recital played by the festival’s newly appointed Artistic Director, the beloved pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. For six weeks from June 26 to August 3, three world-class orchestras – the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra – will set up residence in the magnificent Colorado Rocky Mountains. Programming highlights for 2011 include explorations of the musical titans Beethoven and Mahler; two thematic series respectively showcasing American music and programmatic orchestral works; chamber music, jazz, and pops; and New York’s Gabriel Kahane as this season’s composer-in-residence. The impressive guest-star roster presents such conductors as Alan Gilbert, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Stéphane Denève, Jaap van Zweden, and Bramwell Tovey, and more than 50 soloists, including pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang, and Kirill Gerstein; violinists Gil Shaham, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Augustin Hadelich; and double-bassist Edgar Meyer. As in previous seasons, chamber concerts will be held in the intimate Vail Mountain School and Vilar Performing Arts Center, while large-scale concerts take place in Vail’s spectacular Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, which accommodates 1,260 guests in covered seating and an additional 1,500 on the expansive grassy hillside, with its breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains. Kyle MacMillan of the Denver Post observes: “The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival gives classical-music fans something that no summer series anywhere else can match—the chance to hear multiple concerts by three top-drawer orchestras.”
Anne-Marie McDermott, a regular performer at the festival, is just the third artistic director in Bravo! Vail’s 24-year history. The duo partner of Salerno-Sonnenberg and a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, McDermott has been called “one of the great pianists of her generation” (Philadelphia Inquirer). She succeeds flutist Eugenia Zukerman, who explains: “Having often performed with Anne-Marie, I know that her musical insights and creative ideas will be great assets to Bravo!” The festival’s founder and executive director, John Giovando, confirms that this has already proved to be the case, observing: “What a season she has designed for summer 2011: exciting, innovative, fun, and all to be performed by world-class artists!” McDermott’s season-opening solo recital (June 26) is the first of her ten festival appearances, which comprise both orchestral and chamber concerts, and the “Two-Piano Extravaganza” with which the summer concludes (August 3).