2021 Summer Music Festivals
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
We are so glad that classical music festivals are making a comeback around the world! Of course, many festivals have to make some changes in order to cope with the pandemic, including shorten the duration of festivals and limiting seating capacity. Nevertheless, we are still very excited for the return of live performance with audience, and look forward to explore how performing art industry can live with the virus. We put together short introductions of 10 prominent classical music festivals for you. Let’s get into the summer music vibe! (The list is sorted by starting date)
1. Verona Opera Festival
Verona, Italy, 19 June – 4 September
The Opera Festival at the Arena di Verona began in 10th August 1913, with the first performance of Aida organized by Verona tenor Giovanni Zenatello and impresario Ottone Rovato to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi.
Every summer, the Roman amphitheatre turns into the world’s largest open-air opera theatre with incredible acoustic and beauty emplacement
2. Tangldwood Music Festival
Lenox, Massachusetts, 9 July – 26 August
After having to shuttered in summer 2020 due to the pandemic, Tanglewood presents reduced, six-week Boston Symphony Orchestra concert season—encompassing approximately 50% of the festival’s usual offerings while reflecting the variety and depth of programming typically associated with the festival. BSO begins the festival with a performance of Beethoven’s fifth symphony, the same work that opened the inaugural season of the festival in 1937—a fitting parallel, as the orchestra reopens the festival, returns to concertizing with audiences, and begins to imagine its next chapter in a post-COVID world.
3. Glimmerglass Festival
Cooperstown, New York, 15 July - 17 August
The Glimmerglass Festival returns to live performance on a new outdoor stage.
Presenting 90 minutes operas and concert performances like Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Offenbach’s Songbird (La Périchole), and the world premiere of The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson, a new work about the founder of the National Negro Opera Company. It also features Gods and Mortals, an event featuring works of Wagner, and To the World, a concert of musical theater journey.
4. Bayreuth Festival
Bayreuth, Germany, 15 July - 25 August
The Bayreuth Festival features performances of operas by the German composer Richard Wagner
The composer conceived the idea of the festival to showcase his own work.
For the first time in its 145-year history, the festival has been opened by a female conductor, Oksana Lyniv.
5. Verbier Festival
Verbier, Switzerland, 16 July – 1 August
The Verbier Festival is an international classical music event that takes place each summer in the mountain town of Verbier, Switzerland. The Festival’s mission is to build a community of exchange between great masters and young artists from all over the world and to be a leader in its field by providing meaningful music education programs. Launched in 1994, and now globally renowned, the Festival welcomes audiences with a distinctive and exhilarating blend of events, both large-scale and intimate.
6. Salzburg Festival
Salzburg, Austria, 17 July – 31 August
The acclaimed summer festival is celebrating its 100 years anniversary in 2021. As the performing art world gradually coming back from the agonizing pandemic, the festival sustains its values by offering a broad program from opera, concert, to drama, and highlighting the reinventing its founding plays of Jedermann, Elektra, and Cosí fan tutte.
7. BBC Proms
London, UK, 30 July – 11 September
Presenting 52 concerts in 6 weeks, a slightly shorter than usual, BBC Proms is aiming to bring back the sensation of live performances as well as keeping the diversity and variety.
As for the most popular First Night and Last Night Proms: The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor Dalia Stasevska kick off the 2021 Proms featuring a world premiere by Sir James MacMillan, Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, and Poulenc’s Organ Concerto with organist Daniel Hyde. And the Last Night line-up will feature Australian singer Stuart Skelton and charismatic Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova join the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo for a spectacular climax.
8. Lucerne Festival
Lucerne, Switzerland, 10 August – 12 September
With a designated theme every year, the summer festival presents a diverse array of formats, including symphony concerts, chamber music, recitals, debuts, late night events, and much more. The festival theme this year is “Crazy”, the program will explore different artistic aspects of “Crazy” by presenting works from Robert Schumann, Beethoven, Stravinsky and Second Vienne School.
9. George Enesu Festival
Bucharest, Romania, 28 August – 26 September
The George Enescu International Festival honours the remarkable work and spirit of Romania’s greatest classical composer. This year, it is the celebration of 140 years since the birth of the composer. The program includes 40 works by Enescu, including four symphonies of the composer - the largest Enescu presence in the Festival to date.
10. Ojai music festival
Ojai, California, 16 – 19 September
2021 Festival composers include Samuel Carl Adams, Timo Andres, Dylan Mattingly, Gabriela Ortiz, Rhiannon Giddens, Carlos Simon, and Gabriella Smith.
Program features the world premiere of Sunt Lacrimae Rerum by Dylan Mattingly along with the west coast premiere of Samuel Carl Adams’ Chamber Concerto