Grand Teton Music Festival Extends Contract of  Music Director Donald Runnicles to 2026

Five-Year Extension Brings Maestro Runnicles’ Tenure with the Festival to 20 Years
GTMF Makes Plans for Summer 2021, the Festival’s 60th Season, including Seven Weeks of Live, In-Person Concerts

The Grand Teton Music Festival Board of Directors has announced a five-year extension of Music Director Donald Runnicles’ contract, effective through 2026, bringing his tenure with the Festival to 20 years.

“The artistic growth of the Grand Teton Music Festival over the past 15 years is due to the outstanding musical leadership of Sir Donald Runnicles. We greatly look forward to the continuation of Maestro Runnicles’ tenure, as he delivers exceptional performances with our beloved Festival Orchestra for our community,” said Board Co-Chairs John Costello and Barbara McCelvey.

“These years with the extraordinary GTMF Festival Orchestra have been a defining period in my life, both musically and personally. I’m grateful for the board’s support, thrilled for the future, and incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved together,” said Runnicles. “I’m looking forward to having us all come back together next summer, our 60th season, when we return home to the Festival we love. It’s my honor and privilege to make music and share it with our extended family in the beautiful surroundings of Jackson Hole.”
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2021 Festival Highlights – 60th Season

GTMF’s 2021 season—to be held from July 4 through August 21—is the Festival’s 60th. The seven-week festival kicks off with its popular July 4th Concert, to be held outdoors. The first two weeks of the Festival include outdoor performances for larger audiences and then returns to socially distanced, indoor performances for five weeks at Walk Festival Hall. Concert programs feature guest artists cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, pianist Yefim Bronfman and violinist Leila Josefowicz. Other Festival highlights include a world premiere by composer Melody Eötvös and a concert of opera highlights with world-renowned soloists. Stéphane Denève and Miguel Harth-Bedoya return as guest conductors and Gemma New makes her debut. The world-class talents of the Festival Orchestra musicians are featured in a weekly chamber music series at Walk Festival Hall. Select performances will be streamed online. More details will be released in February 2021.

Upcoming Events featuring Sir Donald Runnicles

Saturday, February 20, 11 AM MT
Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Donald Runnicles, conductor
Irene Roberts, soprano

As part of the Berlin Philharmonic’s online festival Die Goldenen Zwanziger (The Golden Twenties), Donald Runnicles presents three works from operas written in the 1920s whose music reflects the disparate attitudes to life of the time: Schreker’s Schatzgräber, Berg’s Wozzeck and Kurt Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny confront us with the dark depths of society and the human soul. The concert opens with the pastoral, languorous prelude to d’Albert’s opera Tiefland, a tale of jealousy set among Spanish farmers in the Pyrenees, which premiered in 1903.

Watch Live in the Digital Concert Hall

Premiere: Sunday, April 18, 8 AM MT
Deutsch Oper Berlin
Sir Donald Runnicles, conductor

Wagner’s “Siegfried” will spotlight Simon O’Neill in the title role, Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde, Iain Paterson as Der Wanderer, Markus Brück in the role of Alberich, Tobias Kehrer as Fafner, Ya-Chung Huang in the role of Mime, and Lindsay Ammann as Erda. Sir Donald Runnicles will conduct the production by Stefan Herheim. Uta Heiseke is the costume designer.

Info & Tickets

Premiere: June 12, 11:30 AM MT
Deutsch Oper Berlin
Sir Donald Runnicles, conductor

Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” will star Derek Welton as Wotan, Markus Brück in the role of Alberich, Andrew Harris as Fasolt, Tobias Kehrer as Fafner, and Annika Schlicht as Fricka. The cast will also include Joel Allison, Robert Watson, Thomas Blondelle, Ya-Chung Huang, Flurina Stucki, Judit Kutasi, Meechot Marrero, Irene Roberts, and Karis Tucker. Sir Donald Runnicles will conduct the production by Stefan Herheim.

Info & Tickets

Grand Teton Music Festival Music Director Donald Runnicles Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II – Festival Announces New GTMF On Location Chamber Music Series

Grand Teton Music Festival is delighted to congratulate Music Director Donald Runnicles for being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his service to music. On October 10, the Office of Her Majesty announced the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2020 including Sir Maestro Runnicles, OBE who was bequeathed with the title of the Knights Bachelor.

GTMF is also pleased to present GTMF On Location, a 6-concert digital chamber music series featuring small ensembles, recorded and produced remotely in the home cities of Festival Orchestra musicians across the country. The series creates opportunities for more intimate artistic access to GTMF musicians who comprise some of the best musicians from the best orchestras across the United States.

Grand Teton Music Festival Welcomes New Executive Director Emma Kail

Emma Kail joins Grand Teton Music Festival on September 1, 2020, offering a vision of collaboration and growth
After a nationwide search, the Grand Teton Music Festival (GTMF) Board of Directors announces the appointment of Emma Kail as GTMF’s new Executive Director. Ms. Kail joins GTMF with long experience both as a musician and as an administrative leader in major classical music organizations across the US.  Read full release

One of the best places to hear classical music in the summer.

– The Wall Street Journal

The setting is everything at this event, but with Donald Runnicles in charge, musical quality is assured.

– The New York Times

One of America’s most impressive music festivals.

– BBC Music Magazine

Where some of the world’s best musicians congregate and perform.

– The Economist 1843


The Grand Teton Music Festival’s mission is to provide exhilarating musical experiences. The festival was founded in 1962 by the Jackson Hole Fine Arts Festival to foster classical music experiences for performers and audiences and to improve and enrich the cultural awareness and opportunities for people in Wyoming and the adjacent area. GTMF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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