Grand Teton Music Festival: An Open Celebration of Classical Music

The moment before the music begins, a still hush settles on Walk Festival Hall as all eyes turn to the conductor. Rapt with anticipation, the audience waits for the baton to fall and the sparks to rise.

In its 54th season, the Grand Teton Music Festival creates memorable classical music experiences for all involved in its seven-week run from the acclaimed musicians who migrate summer after summer to play in its illustrious fold to the devoted patrons who attend every performance. Under the musical direction of Maestro Donald Runnicles – who spends the rest of the year leading the famed Deutsche Oper in Berlin – GTMF continues to explore new heights of presentation and performance. “The level of orchestra playing under Donald Runnicles’ leadership is… some of the highest in the world,” writes GTMF Executive Director Andrew Palmer Todd. “Each time our Festival Orchestra steps on stage, I am truly thankful for their commitment to our organization. Their presence here each summer is a gift to our community that is to be cherished, celebrated and shared!”

On the subject of sharing, GTMF has added new programs with the next generation of music lovers in mind including free family-friendly concerts with its Artists in Residences and Music in Town, a pair of chic concerts staged in downtown galleries. “These events allow the audiences of tomorrow to be up close and personal with great artists and share in the joy of music,” Todd writes.

Every week from now until mid-August, the festival presents a varied menu of programs, from the star-studded Festival Orchestra concerts on Fridays and Saturdays to the exploratory GTMF Presents series featuring musicians stretching the bounds of classical music. On Tuesdays, Festival Musicians give free, informal concerts for all ages and on Thursdays, the Chamber Music series curates small ensembles. This summer, GTMF is hosting two Artists in Residence, who will perform a week’s worth of concerts: Cellist Alisa Weilerstein, considered Yo-Yo Ma’s heiress apparent, from July 13 to 18, followed by magnetic guitarist Pablo Villegas from August 3 to 8. Both artists will give free community concerts during their residences.

Throughout the summer, guest soloists and conductors make exhilarating appearances at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village, including Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor’s performance in this weekend’s orchestral program, The Greats: Bernstein & Mahler, and violinist Mark O’Connor – dubbed “one of the most talented and imaginative artists working in music – any music – today” by the Los Angeles Times – who will perform in GTMF Presents: American Classics on July 22. On August 14 and 15, Season 54 wraps on a particularly high note with soprano Jane Archibald leading Jubilation: Mozart & Respighi, a formidable program sure to enthrall the packed hall.

Beyond the summer flurry of performances, GTMF raises the valley bar for musical education by augmenting local schools’ music curriculum with individualized instruction, private lessons, small rehearsals and even the opportunity to perform in the professional setting of Walk Festival Hall. At its core, the festival aims “to ensure that everyone in Jackson Hole can access the world-class music making the Festival has presented for the past 53 summers,” Todd writes – a mission worth supporting by attending a summer concert. For the full schedule of festival festivities, visit