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Summer Spa For Your Soul

Finding an orchestra in places you wouldn’t think to look.

by Drew McManus
July 5, 2004

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Planning on taking a trip out to Yellowstone National Park, the forests of Oregon, or perhaps you’re heading off to Europe? Either way, you’re more than likely to run smack dab into a full symphony orchestra while you’re on your travels. 
Although during the regular orchestra season you won’t find an orchestra nestled in the mountains of the Grand Teton National Park, you will in the summer. There are literally hundreds of summer music festivals across the United States, each offering something unique to patrons while they travel on vacation.
And if you’re not taking a trip this summer, relax; you can still find special summer programs in nearly every major city. Some of the larger cities, such as Chicago even have special orchestras that form just for the summer, even though their year round orchestras maintain regular concerts. The Grant Park Music Festival features a full orchestra and chorus that perform downtown in the new Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
And if you’re wondering if these orchestras are nothing more than pick up groups of college students out on summer break, think again. The majority of ensembles are composed of some of the finest orchestra musicians throughout the world. 
Since many orchestras have little to no summer seasons, these players take much of that down time to perform in these orchestras. They rarely pay very much, but it’s more like a break even working vacation for them. But in the end, the real winners are the patrons.
Many orchestral music festivals are becoming main attractions in and of themselves. Several RV associations schedule member trips around festival orchestra schedules. If you call a travel agent, you can even have them design trips to include tickets to music festivals.
Here’s a list of resources for some many summer festivals that feature orchestra and opera music across the U.S. and throughout the world:
·  All American Music Festival (Orlando, FL)
·  Aspen Music Festival (Aspen, CO)
·  Bard Music Festival (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
·  Bellingen Global Carnival: (Bellingen, Australia)
·  Bellingham Festival of Music (Bellingham, WA)
·  Bloomington Early Music Festival (Bloomington, IN)
·  Boston Early Music Festival (Cambridge, MA)
·  Boulder Bach Festival (Boulder, CO)
·  Brass Festivals and Events: The Historic Brass Society
·  Britt Festivals (Jacksonville, Oregon)
·  Colorado Music Festival (orchestra)
·  Great American Brass Band Festival (Danville, Kentucky)
·  Greenlight Youth Festival of the Arts (Vancouver, Canada)
·  Icicle Creek Music Festival (Leavenworth, Washington)
·  International Music Festival (Kristianstad, Sweden)
·  Kent/Blossom Music Festival - The Cleveland Orchestra (Kent, OH)
·  Lotus World Music Festival (Bloomington, IN)
·  Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland)
·  Norfolk Chamber Music Festival / Yale Summer School of Music
·  Old Isleworth Festival (Jolly Old England, June 24-29)
·  Orford Chamber Music Festival (Canton d'Orford, Québec)
·  Oregon Bach Festival, (Eugene, OR)
·  Other Minds (Dedicated to new and unusual music)
·  Port Fairy Folk Festival 2000 (Port Fairy, Australia)
·  Ravinia Festival (Highland Park, IL)
·  Salzburg Festival Page (Salzburg, Austria)
·  Verbier Festival Academy (Switzerland)
Another good resource is http://www.festivalfinder.com/ which also includes non classical music festivals.
So remember that even though you may be trying to get away from the suburbs or the city for a week or two, don’t let that prevent you from enjoying everything a classical music concert has to offer.
As for me, I’m spending a week at the Grand Teton National Park. While you’re reading this, I’m probably returning from a hike around Jenny Lake and preparing to head off for a concert in the evening featuring Hailstork, Barber, Ives, Corigliano, and Dvorak. Life’s good.

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