GTMF’s Star-Spangled Season Closes With Record-Setting Attendance


The Grand Teton Music Festival’s 57th summer season concluded Saturday night with a fully-cast concert adaptation of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. The season honored Bernstein’s centenary with a celebration of American contributions to music, including jazz and Broadway.

Throughout the seven-week summer season, GTMF welcomed more than 200 orchestral musicians—representing 90 orchestras and 57 institutions of higher learning—to present 60 events in Jackson Hole. The Grand Teton Music Festival was praised by The New York Times as a ‘Top Classical Music Festival’ for the third consecutive year and was recognized by the Chicago Tribune within its annual Summer Classical Music Selective Guide. Total Festival attendance increased from 9,800 in 2014 to more than 16,500 in 2018 marking a total increase of 69%. Attendance has grown 6% since last year alone, despite downturns in national trends.

The Star-Spangled season brought several sold-out performances including pianist Daniil Trifonov, Andrew Bird at the Pink Garter, violinist and conductor Julian Rachlin, and with Music Director Donald Runnicles in performances of Mahler’s epic Third Symphony and Bernstein’s West Side Story. Additional highlights include the 2018 Fundraising Gala with Audra McDonald—which netted more $230K—as well as the world premiere of Sean Shepherd’s Melt, a joint commission of the Grand Teton Music Festival and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in honor of Sylvia Neil’s illustrious tenure as Board Chair (2015–2017).

“The support of our community is profoundly gratifying,” said GTMF Music Director Donald Runnicles. “With each year, our enthusiastic and generous audiences have raised the Festival to new heights, achieving records in both attendance and fundraising. We are overwhelmed with gratitude and are committed to our community and to providing world-class music here in Jackson Hole.”

GTMF’s momentum continues throughout the fall with monthly free community concerts that highlight regional musical talent. The series opens in October with pianist Andrew Staupe. The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD series also opens in October with Verdi’s immensely popular Aida. The 58th Summer Season triumphantly returns on July 2, 2019. Tickets will be available on March 1, 2019.

Spearheading these community initiatives are the Grand Teton Music Festival Board of Directors, who under the direction of Chair Allan Tessler, welcomed five new members at the Annual Meeting. The Board elected Barbara McCelvey, Philip Sherringham, Robert Spetzler, Andrew Watson, and Mark Yockey. Directors Sylvia Neil and Bob Whitmire retired after many years of dedicated service and leadership to the Festival.

About the Grand Teton Music Festival (GTMF):

For seven weeks each summer, the Grand Teton Music Festival reunites 200 celebrated orchestral musicians. These musicians represent 90 different orchestras and 57 institutions of higher learning throughout Europe and North America. After the summer season, GTMF provides various community outreach programs, a Winter Festival, as well as broadcasts from The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series. The Grand Teton Music Festival is the single largest performing arts presenter in Jackson Hole with nearly 100 events annually. The Festival also launched a 13-part national radio broadcast called “Live from the Grand Teton Music Festival,” co-hosted by Donald Runnicles and Andrew Palmer Todd. Check local radio listings for broadcast times.

For media and interview requests, please contact Brittany Laughlin, Marketing Manager, Grand Teton Music Festival: or 307.733.3050.

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