Murray: A look back at Bravo! Vail 2023

Caitlin Murray
Bravo! Vail

As the Bravo! Vail Music Festival concludes each year, I reflect on what has occurred over the preceding six weeks here in the Vail Valley. A highlight reel plays in my mind: inspiring conversations with patrons, friends, and strangers; the Bravo! Vail Presto Club kids waving to Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott and me onstage from the lawn; entire families dancing together at the Family Concert; and countless musical memories we have created together.  

The music this summer was, to quote Anne-Marie McDermott, “Completely exhilarating, artistically thrilling.” It was one incredible performance after another all summer long. Academy of St Martin in the Fields and violinist Joshua Bell performing Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1. Fabio Luisi leading the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in Franck’s Symphony in D Minor. The music and voices together in Mozart’s Requiem with Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium. Jaap van Zweden conducting the New York Philharmonic in Bruckner Symphony No. 7. Yunchan Lim’s unforgettable and goosebump-inducing performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Marin Alsop and the New York Philharmonic. Anne-Marie McDermott and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet at two pianos for the final Chamber Music Series concert of the season. The filled chapel at Community Concerts. The Prokofiev nature walks. The list goes on.

Bravo! Vail wrapped up its 36th music festival season on Aug. 3.
Courtesy photo

Bravo! Vail is committed to ensuring that world class music is accessible throughout the Vail Valley, and we brought dozens of concerts and events from Vail to Gypsum including Community Concerts, the Free Family Concert in Minturn, Little Listeners @ the Library, Inside the Music, and the Prokofiev Nature Walks. Our Music Makers Haciendo Música students enhanced their music education and connected with other youth through Bravo! Vail’s Summer Intensive camps, Young Musicians Day, and Presto Club—a new initiative that gives students ages 8-14 the opportunity to socialize and enjoy music together at select Bravo! Vail concerts.

An important highlight this summer was our partnership with the Eagle Valley Community Foundation to help address food insecurity in the valley through food drives at several concerts during the Festival. Bravo! Vail concert attendees donated more than 500 pounds of food to The Community Market, the foundation’s food bank. In addition, they received $500 in donations, recruited 10 new volunteers, and raised awareness of their organization and their mission. 

When we say that Bravo! Vail is “your Festival,” we truly mean it. Everything we do at Bravo! Vail is for and because of the community we exist in. Everyone who participates, in any way, is a part of why Vail is the home of world class music all summer long. Special thanks to Bravo! Vail’s Board of Trustees, Advisory Council, Guild, and staff for their countless hours of work and endless dedication throughout the year, ensuring the success of this Festival.

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I am also incredibly grateful to our outstanding Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott, whose artistic vision inspires us and drives us each year to bring incredible music and musicians to our community. And Bravo! Vail would not be possible without the support of the Town of Vail, Vail Valley Foundation, patrons, donors, sponsors, and all those who attend our events. You are the reason the world’s finest classical music festival takes place right here in Vail, Colorado.

On a final note, we are already looking ahead to next summer. We are thrilled to present next year’s international chamber orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, the first Latin American orchestra to be presented at Bravo! Vail. Later in the season, opera returns to Bravo! Vail when The Philadelphia Orchestra gives two performances of La bohème. Mark your calendars now for Bravo! Vail Season No. 37, June 20 – Aug. 1, and visit and our social media platforms to keep up to date on current announcements and programming.

Caitlin Murray is the Executive Director of Bravo! Vail.

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