“I attest to having fallen completely under the spell of the sights and sounds of the Grand Teton Music Festival and of this natural paradise. I return to Jackson and am restored and renewed.”
Maestro Donald Runnicles
Donald Runnicles is Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival, General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB), and Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In 2019 Maestro Runnicles also took up post as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s first ever Principal Guest Conductor. Additionally, he holds the title of Conductor Emeritus of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, having served as Chief Conductor from 2009–16.
Highlights of the 2019–20 season include return engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony; a premiere of Das Rheingold with the Deutsche Oper as part of an ambitious new Ring Cycle stretching into 2021; and a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which continues Maestro Runnicles’ Britten cycle at the DOB. He also brings the DOB company to the Edinburgh Festival this summer in a performance of Manon Lescaut.
Maestro Runnicles enjoys close and enduring relationships with many of the most significant opera companies and symphony orchestras. His previous posts include Music Director of the San Francisco Opera (1992–2008), Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s (2001–07), and General Music Director of the Theater Freiburg and Orchestra (1989–93).
Maestro Runnicles’ extensive and award-winning discography includes complete recordings of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Britten’s Billy Budd, Humperdinck’s Hänsel and Gretel, Janáček’s Jenůfa, Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and most recently, Aribert Reimann’s new opera L’invisible, released in May 2018.
Donald Runnicles was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was appointed OBE in 2004, and holds honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Our Board of Directors help ensure a bright future for the Grand Teton Music Festival.
We are thankful to the many Festival patrons and community leaders who serve as board members dedicated to our mission.
Interim Executive Director
Peter A. Benoliel
Lynne V. Cheney
Al Hilde, Jr.
Earl Sams Lightner
W. Richard Scarlett, III
Sen. Alan K. Simpson
William D. Weiss
Board of Directors
John Costello, Co-Chair
Barbara McCelvey, Co-Chair
Ralph Haberfeld, Treasurer
David Raisbeck, Secretary
Martha Conger Birkett
Jon W. Rotenstreich
Barbara Manfrey Vogelstein
Walk Festival Hall
The Grand Teton Music Festival’s all-wooden performance facility, Walk Festival Hall, is acclaimed by listeners and performers alike for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics. Walk Hall is located in the heart of Teton Village at the base of the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, a short drive from the town of Jackson. When you take a seat in Walk Hall, just a few feet away from our orchestra, be prepared to be fully enveloped by music. Like much in Jackson Hole, our hall is unpretentious, but delivers the clear sightlines and warm acoustics that provide a wholly intimate musical experience. Walk Festival Hall is available to rent year-round for concerts, conferences, film festivals and wedding receptions. For more information and hall availability please contact Facilities & Housing at 307.732.9954.
The Grand Teton Music Festival was founded in 1962 as a part of a movement to actively develop cultural activities in Jackson Hole. The Festival was initially produced by the Jackson Hole Fine Arts Festival, and with the appointment of Ling Tung as music director in 1968, the Festival began growing into the organization we know and cherish today. Ling conducted concerts in a canvas tent at the base of Rendezvous Mountain in Teton Village. Envisioning the Festival as a summer retreat for the country’s top classical musicians, Ling and his spouse, Margot Walk, worked tirelessly with the Jackson community to open Walk Festival Hall in 1974. Through the years, the Grand Teton Music Festival has grown into one of the nation’s finest orchestral organizations, a tradition that continues to this day with our current Music Director, Maestro Donald Runnicles.
The Donald Runnicles Musical Arts Scholarship Competition
In 2018, the Grand Teton Music Festival launched a scholarship competition in honor of Music Director Donald Runnicles. The annual competition is open to graduating high school seniors from Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana who are pursuing college studies in music. After submitting an audition video, semi-finalists are invited to perform in a daylong celebration of music at Walk Festival Hall, where they compete for the scholarship prize money in front of GTMF’s panel of renowned judges and a live audience.
In 2019, pianist Marshall McCall, cellist Alexis DePaolo, and baritone Brian Wacker won first, second, and third prizes respectively.
First prize-winner Marshall McCall hails from Boise, Idaho. He graduated from Borah High School and will study Music and Biology at Emory University in Atlanta. Mr. McCall earned $20,000 toward his higher education.
Winner of the second prize, and $12,500, cellist Alexis DePaolo is from Casper, Wyoming and attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She will study Cello Performance at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
Baritone Brian Wacker, who placed third and was awarded $7,500, is from Cheyenne, Wyoming. A graduate of Cheyenne East High School, he will study Vocal Performance at Oberlin College & Conservatory.
The 2020 competition will take place on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
Our mission of providing exhilarating musical experiences goes beyond presenting concerts at Walk Festival Hall. At GTMF, we are committed to sharing our passion and knowledge of music with the community.
Before each Festival Orchestra concert, Festival Musicians present educational introductions to the evening’s performance. Learn before you listen, with lectures beginning at 7PM on Fridays and 5PM on Saturdays in the Barbara Furrer Goodman Memorial Garden near Walk Festival Hall’s north entrance.
StringFest unites regional orchestra students for an intensive three-day clinic led by Festival Musician and Music Director of the Utah Youth Symphony Barbara Scowcroft. The educational event concludes with a concert to showcase the students’ newly refined skills and talents.
GTMF’s flagship music education program augments the standard music curriculum in local band and orchestra classrooms. Tune-Up teachers are practicing musicians with expertise in a wide variety of instruments. They provide individualized instruction, private lessons, and facilitate rehearsals.
Named in honor of our former Board Chair, the Sylvia Neil Student Ambassador Program gives young music lovers a chance to be an integral part of an evening at the Grand Teton Music Festival by working closely with our Box Office and Front of House staff on select concerts. Each summer, Grand Teton Music Festival seeks 15 to 20 young adults to serve as Festival Ambassadors throughout the summer concert season. If you are between the ages of 13 and 19 and love music, Grand Teton Music Festival wants you to be a part of the Sylvia Neil Student Ambassador Program.
Benefits include $12/hour compensation and the opportunity to attend GTMF performances, including sold out shows.
Jackson Hole is one of the most sought after vacation destinations in the U.S., nestled at the base of the Teton Mountain range just next to Grand Teton National Park and the southern gate to Yellowstone National Park. The town of Jackson is known as the “Last of the Old West.” The surreal natural beauty of the area is the perfect setting to experience outdoor adventure, distinctly western culture, and the Grand Teton Music Festival’s world-class orchestra. The Wall Street Journal commented that our Festival is “One of the best places in the country to hear classical music in the summer.”
Did you know?
That “Jackson” and “Jackson Hole” are used interchangeably to refer to our area of the world? Jackson is the official name of the main town in Teton County. Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley we are situated within, which is surrounded by mountains. The Grand Teton Music Festival takes its name from the highest peak in the Teton mountain range, the “Grand.”
Yellowstone National Park is an hour from Walk Festival Hall. The gorgeous scenery around Jackson is also home to an array of wildlife including herds of antelope, bison, elk, and deer. We also have moose, grizzly bears, black bears, gray wolves, and mountain lions, as well as rare birds such as trumpeter swans, bald eagles, blue herons, and osprey. Keep your eyes and ears open when you are here!