Every year, a large number of symphony orchestras move out of their typical concert hall and take residence in an outdoor, park-like setting during the warm summer months. These summer classical music festivals are a great way to enjoy fantastic classical music in a less formal setting - in many cases, outside under the stars. If you're looking for something new to do this summer, take a look below at some of the most popular classical music festivals 2011 has to offer.
From June 29 through August 21, 320 different events will be presented in various venues throughout the beautiful town of Aspen, including orchestral, chamber, opera, and contemporary concerts, master classes, lectures, and even children's programing. This year's festival welcomes its brand new music director, Robert Spano. Spano is a truly inspired man with a passion for music education and unforgettable classical performances. Most events during this eight week summer classical festival are free to the public, so attending a handful of events won't put too much of a dent in your wallet.
The world renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra makes its summer home in Berkshire Hills, just minutes southwest of Lenox, MA. From June 28 through September 4, visitors will be able to hear a wide selection of classical music as well as rock, jazz, and more. What's great about this year's Tanglewood music festival is that there will be over 50 guest artists including Joshua Bell, Susan Graham, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, the Emerson String Quartet, and Sarah Chang.
During the penultimate week of July, if you're driving through California's beautiful Napa Valley, you may just hear sounds of the lovely Emerson String Quartet emanating from one of several select wineries involved in the week-long festival. Though this year's artist lineup has not yet been announced (apart from the Emerson String Quartet and the Russian National Orchestra), the previous five seasons have hosted many phenomenal performers including Joshua Bell, Renee Fleming, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Chris Botti. Not only are you able to see and hear great classical music, you'll also be able to take part in wine and cheese tastings, winery tours, and fine art viewings.
One of the biggest summer classical music festivals is the famous Ravinia music festival. From June 9 through September 11, you'll be able to attend many amazing performances just north of Chicago. This year marks the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's 75th year of summer residency, and what better way to celebrate than to have performances with Yo-Yo Ma, Jorge Federico Osorio, Joshua Bell, and Bryn Terfel. The CSO will also perform works by Gershwin, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, and Tchaikovsky.
The New York Philharmonic's Summertime Classics music festival will be held from June 29 through July 10, and will feature works by Gershwin, Khachaturian, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Borodin, and more. Hosted and conducted by Bramwell Tovey, throughout the performances you'll hear commentary by Tovey between works.