A Stunning Summer At Jackson Hole

Although it’s not a habit of mine to post media from my travels, I figured that if fellow Inside The Arts blogger Brian Dickie makes a habit of it (check out his recent series of posts), then it isn’t a bad thing. As such, the time at Jackson Hole, WY for the Grand Teton Music Festival (GTMF) was one of the best I can recall over the last decade.

In addition to a nearly uninterrupted string of beautiful weather, the 8/12 and 8/13 concert series with pianist Yefim Bronfman and GTMF music director Donald Runnicles was simply fantastic. It was programming simplicity at its best (seriously, it a was a fantastic mix); Bronfman did a fabulous job both evenings while Runnicles and the orchestra did an equally terrific job with the rest of the program.

  • ELGAR; Cockaigne, Op. 40 “In London Town”
  • BEETHOVEN; Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op.73 “The Emperor”
  • BRAHMS; Symphony No. 3 in F Major

There’s A Reason It’s Called The Grand Teton Music Festival

But beyond the music, there’s the gorgeous Grand Tetons National Park and the higher than normal levels of rainfall meant an abundance of lush growth and animal sightings. Speaking of which, we ran across herds of wild bison on two separate occasions. I could sit and listen to the sound of them munching on prairie grass for hours. Truly memorizing.

The Simple Things In Life

There’s nothing quite like a sunrise hike to a secluded picturesque location for a breakfast of coffee and donuts. The air is cool and crisp, the trail is deserted and juxtaposing that with the warmth of the coffee and the selfish satisfaction of something like a donut is an experience in simple pleasures that is tough to beat.

So if you’ve never been before, you really should consider getting out to the festival for the 2012 season and make a sure you balance concert going with getting out into nature (while simultaneously avoiding the tourist traps).

Postscript: For a related but different sort of look at the festival from the inside out, GTMF violinist Holly Mulchay published an article at Neo Classical earlier this month recounting what it was like preparing the Jennifer Higdon Piano Trio for one of the festival’s chamber concerts.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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