Summer Guide poster

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | May 4 – Oct. 17
SongFest | May 30 – June 21
San Francisco Opera Summer Season | May 30 – June 30
Mountain Play | June 2–16
San Francisco Jazz Festival | June 5–16
Ojai Music Festival | June 6–9
Britt Music & Arts Festival | June 7 – Oct. 14
Berkeley Festival and Exhibition | June 9–16
Music Academy of the West | June 12 – Aug. 3
Healdsburg Jazz Festival | June 15–23
Hollywood Bowl | June 15 – Sept. 28
Kronos Festival | June 20–23
Mainly Mozart | June 20–29
Festival Opera | June 20 – July 14
Stern Grove Festival | June 23 – Aug. 25
New Hollywood String Quartet Summer of Bohemia | June 27–30
Chamber Music Northwest | June 27 – July 28
Merola Opera Program | June 27 – Aug. 17
San Francisco Symphony Summer Season | July 4 – Aug. 4
Pacific Symphony SummerFest | July 4 – Sept. 7
Festival Napa Valley | July 6–21
Carmel Bach Festival | July 13–27
Mendocino Music Festival | July 13–27
Stanford Live Arts Festival | July 13–27
Valley of the Moon Music Festival | July 13–28
The Ford | July 14 – Oct. 31
Festival Mozaic | July 18–27
Bear Valley Music Festival | July 19 – Aug. 4
Classical Tahoe | July 19 – Aug. 4
Music@Menlo | July 19 – Aug. 10
Ventura Music Festival | July 25 – Aug. 4
American Bach Summer Season | July 26–28
La Jolla Music Society SummerFest | July 26 – Aug. 24
Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music | July 29 – Aug. 11
Festival del Sole | Aug. 1–4
Music in the Vineyards | Aug. 2–25
West Edge Opera Festival | Aug. 3–18
San Francisco International Piano Festival | Aug. 23 – Sept. 1
Flower Piano | Sept. 13–22
Monterey Jazz Festival | Sept. 27–29 


Yerba Buena Gardens Festival | May 4 – Oct. 17

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

YBGF is an independent nonprofit presenting six months of admission-free outdoor performances, which are family-friendly and ADA accessible. The festival is financed by the city and by individual and corporate sponsors. Extending from spring through autumn, YBGF offers more than 100 free events in categories such as lunchtime shows, salsa concerts, Poetic Tuesdays, and children’s programs. The Weekend Sessions series focuses on music and dance, this year presenting RAWdance, SF Uke Jam, ChoreoFest, Ana Tijoux with J Noa, the SF Mime Troupe, Pistahan, Meklit’s Movement Immigrant Orchestra, American Bon dancing, and Kokoroko with Jada Imani. And on May 30, the festival presents the Community Music Center’s Neighborhood Choirs.

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SongFest | May 30 – June 21

SongFest

SongFest returns to Southern California this year after recent seasons at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Vanderbilt University. Dozens of voice and piano students will be at Pomona College in Claremont this summer, deepening their understanding of art song. The public can see the artistry in action with performances highlighting SongFest composers, faculty, young artists, and alumni. Some of the concerts planned: an evening of contemporary American song (June 14), the world premiere of John Harbison’s Hidden Paths (June 16), and “Paris, Berlin, and New York Cabaret,” a program curated by soprano Amy Burton and pianist John Musto (June 19).

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San Francisco Opera Summer Season | May 30 – June 30

The Magic Flute

With tickets starting at $26, SF Opera’s summer season offers opportunities to attend both classic favorites and a bold new work. The latter is the U.S. premiere of the late Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s 2021 opera Innocence, performed six times (June 1–21).

The two classics are Handel’s 1730 Partenope and Mozart’s 1791 The Magic Flute, the latter of which is the bulk of the season, presented in nine performances (May 30 – June 30). The San Francisco production places Mozart’s final opera in the setting of silent cinema and 1920s cabaret, with illustrations by Edward Gorey. The three-century old Partenope also appears in a “modern version,” staged by Christopher Alden as a gender-bending comedy in 1920s Paris, performed five times (June 15–28).

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Mountain Play | June 2–16

Mountain Play

Every year, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in June, the Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre atop Mount Tamalpais plays host to a Broadway production. In 2024, the show is Kinky Boots — the Tony Award-winning musical with songs by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein. Mountain Play’s local cast and creative team bring this story of a struggling English shoe factory and an enterprising drag queen to life. Catch one of four performances.

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San Francisco Jazz Festival | June 5–16

San Francisco Jazz Festival

Long before there was the SFJAZZ Center, there was the San Francisco Jazz Festival, founded in 1983 and still the centerpiece of what’s now a year-round operation in Hayes Valley. For its 41st season, the festival is presenting more than 40 concerts, all in just 12 days. The big names — pianist Monty Alexander (June 11), saxophonist Kenny Garrett (June 12), and more — play Miner Auditorium, while up-and-comers, like vocalist Kalil Amar Wilson (June 9), hold sway in the Joe Henderson Lab. Don’t miss the two performances in Herbst Theatre: an evening with vocalist Jane Monheit (June 6) and a collab between Quartet San Francisco and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band (June 7). The festival proper ends June 16, but SFJAZZ’s Summer Sessions follow, through Aug. 18.

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Ojai Music Festival | June 6–9

Mitsuko Uchida

Ojai is embracing modernist tradition this year with pianist Mitsuko Uchida at the helm as music director. Arnold Schoenberg gets top billing, seeing as 2024 is the 150th anniversary of his birth, but a couple other composers are just as well represented. Works by the late Kaija Saariaho are threaded throughout the four-day lineup. And perhaps surprisingly for Ojai (though not for anyone familiar with Uchida), a piano concerto by Mozart concludes the majority of evening concerts at Libbey Bowl. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra is featured in those performances; other guest artists on the schedule include the Brentano String Quartet and violinist Alexi Kenney.

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Britt Music & Arts Festival | June 7 – Oct. 14

Britt Music & Arts Festival

A day’s drive from San Francisco, this bustling festival, located in the historic Gold Rush city of Jacksonville, Oregon, has a major draw for every musical taste. The classical programming comprises around half a dozen orchestral concerts, this year led by two guest conductors. Peter Bay takes the podium for the season opener, Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto with soloist Gabriela Montero (June 13), while Alexandra Arrieche champions the music of Latin American, from Arturo Márquez to Astor Piazzolla, for the orchestra’s finale (June 29). The lineup continues through the end of the summer with a series of pop, rock, and folk acts, Willie Nelson and family (July 25) being a sure highlight.

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Berkeley Festival and Exhibition | June 9–16

Voices of Music

If fans of early music in the Bay Area are said to prefer even-numbered years, it’s because of this biennial festival presented by the San Francisco Early Music Society. BFX returns in 2024 with a lineup of local riches. There’s no shortage of hometown ensembles represented here: Chanticleer (June 9), iSing Silicon Valley (June 10), Voices of Music (June 11 and 14), Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players (June 12), Cantata Collective (June 13), and the Farallon Recorder Quartet (June 14 and 16). Among visiting groups, you’ll have multiple chances to catch Alkemie (with Chanticleer on June 9 and then solo on June 11), La Fonte Musica (June 11–12), Cappella Pratensis (June 13 and 15), and Parthenia Viol Consort (solo on June 15 and then with Farallon on June 16).

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Music Academy of the West | June 12 – Aug. 3

Music Academy Orchestra

This advanced training program in Santa Barbara is a musical bonanza for local residents. Like Tanglewood, Aspen, and other student festivals, the Music Academy features young professionals whose playing is hardly less entrancing than their mentors’. This year’s theme is “The Magic of Music,” and there’s certainly something miraculous about “The Fauré Project,” a program bringing together violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Steven Isserlis, and pianist Jeremy Denk (July 5). Likewise, a concert by the Academy Festival Orchestra that has Leila Josefowicz soloing and David Robertson conducting (July 27). The big event for students in the Lehrer Vocal Institute is a production of Carmen at The Granada Theatre (July 12 and 14), but just as intriguing is a performance of Maurice Ravel’s fantastical opera L’enfant et les sortilèges (July 25).

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Healdsburg Jazz Festival | June 15–23

Marcus Shelby

The Healdsburg Jazz Festival has been a mainstay in Sonoma County for 26 years, but some of the signature summer offerings here were only recent developments. Take the free all-day Juneteenth concert (June 15) or the Father’s Day event featuring star singer Samara Joy (June 16). Both have become festival trademarks under Artistic Director Marcus Shelby. The San Francisco bassist can draw on deep local ties for much of the programming, whether it’s a solo set by veteran guitarist Bruce Forman (June 18) or a collaboration between dancers from Alonzo King LINES Ballet, pianist Taylor Eigsti, and vocalist Lisa Fischer (June 23).

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Hollywood Bowl | June 15 – Sept. 28

Zubin Mehta

Gustavo Dudamel may be leading his usual robust slate of programs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic this summer, but the big maestro news at the Hollywood Bowl this year is the return of Zubin Mehta. The LA Phil’s former music director is set for a nostalgic night, conducting the orchestra at its outdoor venue for the first time in nearly 30 years (July 23). In a similarly sentimental spirit, the music of Tchaikovsky features prominently on the schedule, from Ray Chen in the Violin Concerto (July 16) to the annual “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” (Aug. 2–3) to a performance of the Fifth Symphony (Aug. 29). Of course, that’s only a slice of the classical offerings at the Bowl — which is to say nothing of the jazz and pop acts, or the fireworks and favorite films in concert, that make each summer here so special.

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Kronos Festival | June 20–23

Hank Dutt, John Sherba, David Harrington, and Paul Wiancko

The Kronos Quartet stands at a threshold as it prepares for its annual festival at the SFJAZZ Center. Two of the group’s longtime members, violinist John Sherba and violist Hank Dutt, will be retiring with these concerts. (You can bet the grand finale in Miner Auditorium on June 23 will be packed.) At the same time, the ensemble is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and in true Kronos fashion, the four festival programs promise not to look back but instead blaze ahead. There are nearly a dozen world premieres, a roster of regular and unexpected guests, and much more stuffed into one very busy weekend.

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Mainly Mozart | June 20–29

Mainly Mozart

Mainly Mozart touts “the largest gathering of concertmasters and principal players in North America,” and it’s no surprise that these world-class musicians keep returning season after season. Combining a relaxed atmosphere and refined performances, the six concerts in this year's festival take place outdoors at the Epstein Family Amphitheater and indoors at The Conrad in La Jolla. Led by Music Director Michael Francis, the All-Star Orchestra stays true to its name, performing lots of Mozart alongside a handful of selections by Beethoven, Gabriel Fauré, Benjamin Britten, and others. Guest soloists, including pianist George Li and violinist Stefan Jackiw, bring additional star power to the proceedings.

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Festival Opera | June 20  July 14

Festival Opera

Festival Opera’s doubleheader for the summer is two rarely performed one-acters: Francis Poulenc’s 1958 La voix humaine (The human voice) and Henry Purcell’s 1689 Dido and Aeneas. Poulenc’s single-voice opera is based on Jean Cocteau’s tragic drama of a woman making her final phone call to her longtime lover, who is leaving her for another. Purcell, too, used a famous text, from Virgil’s Aeneid, about Dido, the queen of Carthage, falling in love with the Trojan warrior Aeneas, who is welcomed into Carthage on his way to what is to become Rome. Stage direction for both productions is by Céline Ricci; Robert Mollicone is music director for La voix humaine, Zachary Gordin for Dido and Aeneas.

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Stern Grove Festival | June 23 – Aug. 25

Stern Grove

The 87th season of the country’s oldest nonprofit music festival features the SFJAZZ Collective with Herbie Hancock on Aug. 11, among other highlights. Sigmund Stern Grove, which suffered $20 million in damage from flooding in 2021, escaped a big water main break on nearby Wawona Street two months ago. Organizers expect attendance this year to equal last season’s total of 90,000.

2024 opens on June 23 with King Isis and sibling pop duo Tegan and Sara. No SF Opera, SF Ballet, or Merola Opera Program this time, but the SF Symphony will perform on July 7 with Broadway star Jessica Vosk. On July 14, the Commodores perform, alongside the Grease Traps, an Oakland-based eight-piece funk band. Alex G and the Bay Area-based band Fake Fruit are due on Aug. 4. Chaka Khan performs on Aug. 25.

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New Hollywood String Quartet Summer of Bohemia | June 27–30

New Hollywood String Quartet

Since 2019, the NHSQ has been curating chamber festivals designed to immerse audiences in a particular theme. This year, the Quartet brings together esteemed guests to explore the rich music of Bohemian composers who brought their distinctive folk music together with the classical forms of Mozart and Beethoven. In the Gilded Age luxury of the Doheny Mansion, the festival celebrates composers from Antonín Dvořák to Bohuslav Martinů. Both these composers came to the U.S. to seek their musical fortunes, a transatlantic experience expressed in Dvořák’s “American” Quartet, which appears on the festival’s opening concert (June 27).

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Chamber Music Northwest | June 27 – July 28

Poster

The theme for this year’s festival is a familiar name — Beethoven — but the lineup of concerts curated by Artistic Directors Gloria Chien and Soovin Kim is anything but conventional. Inspired by Ludwig’s revolutionary spirit, the organizers are exploring his inspiring influence on composers today. Along with some of Beethoven’s most radical and ferocious compositions, the festival showcases music by some of today’s visionaries, like Jörg Widmann and John Luther Adams, whose latest chamber work has its world premiere (July 10). Reflecting Beethoven’s irrepressible energy, the festival’s varied offerings include open rehearsals, free outdoor community concerts, master classes, and even two “Garden Chamber Parties.”

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Merola Opera Program | June 27 – Aug. 17

Merola Opera Program

The SF Opera-affiliated training program has been highly successful at identifying major talents and launching them on to productive careers. The program had 1,300 applicants this year and vetted 650 auditions, so the 29 singers and collaborative pianists chosen from the U.S., Canada, and around the world are already winners. The public events begin with a recital, “The Song as Drama,” conceived by tenor Nicholas Phan and SF Opera Center Artistic Director Carrie-Ann Matheson (June 27). The annual Schwabacher Summer Concert follows, performed with full orchestra  (July 11 and 13). The full production this year is Don Giovanni (Aug. 1 and 3), and as usual, the season comes to a close with the Merola Grand Finale (Aug. 17).

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San Francisco Symphony Summer Season | July 4 – Aug. 4

San Francisco Symphony

As usual, the SF Symphony’s summer programs mix genres, but the emphasis is on “summer light.” Beginning with a Fourth of July concert and concluding Aug. 3–4 with the film La La Land accompanied by live orchestra, the series features fireworks, “Spanish Favorites,” “Disney magic,” and a tribute to the Beatles.

On July 19–20, it’s John Williams scores, followed July 23–24 by John Legend singing and telling stories. July 25 brings the most “serious” concert, Earl Lee conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, Carlos Simon’s Fate Now Conquers, and Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, with Stella Chen the soloist. Two runouts of the summer season are to the Shoreline Amphitheatre on July 4 and to Stern Grove on July 7.

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Pacific Symphony SummerFest | July 4 – Sept. 7

Pacific Symphony

Pacific Symphony comes to the Great Park Live amphitheater, a brand-new summer home, for five festive evenings in Irvine this summer. In a beautiful setting under the stars, the orchestra serves up a banquet of musical comfort food: familiar favorites from George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue to the soaring scores of Star Wars and Harry Potter with live orchestra. The opening concert on July 4 features the music of the rock band Chicago along with a classic patriotic fireworks display. There are more pyrotechnics on show in the finale (Sept. 7), a “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” that includes the composer’s Violin Concerto with soloist Philippe Quint and, of course, the bombastic 1812 Overture.

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Festival Napa Valley | July 6–21

Festival Napa Valley

This was one of the first “lifestyle festivals,” incorporating not just music but daily patron dinners and luncheons at the wineries around Napa. Even if you’re not hobnobbing with the rich and famous, you can still come for the day to enjoy the annual opera production (Mozart’s The Abduction From the Seraglio, July 20) or an orchestral concert honoring the career of Sophia Loren, conducted by none other than Loren’s son, Carlo Ponti Jr. (July 16). The festival’s diverse offerings include screenings of three of Loren’s classic films from the 1960s and a poetry reading and book signing by Gordon Getty, whose Old Man choral triptych is performed together for the first time on July 18. Concerts on the festival stage bring together the grand crus of classical music, including pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and violinist Ray Chen, and international opera stars: Pretty Yende, Jonathan Tetelman, Brenda Rae, and more.

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Carmel Bach Festival | July 13–27

Grete Pedersen

CBF’s 87th season explores the “passions” in both senses of the word — music’s ability to explore human emotions and the biblical story that inspired compositions by J.S. Bach and others. The festival opens with Bach’s St. John Passion in a “global” version, with text in six languages (July 13 and 20). The Passion’s sacred themes appear on other programs that move through the ages, including Haydn’s “La passione” Symphony (July 16 and 23) and modern passions by Arvo Pärt (also July 16 and 23) and David Lang (The Little Match Girl Passion, July 19 and 26). Events take place at the Sunset Center Theater as well as local churches, and there are free educational lectures and master classes to explore the ideas behind the music.

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Mendocino Music Festival | July 13–27

Mendocino Music Festival Orchestra

This festival offers fine music in one of the most enchanting sites in Northern California. Evenings include orchestra and big-band concerts, chamber ensembles, and dance, as well as blues, jazz, world, folk, bluegrass, and popular music. Daytime events include lecture-recitals, a performance by participants in the Emerging Artists Program, and small concerts in intimate venues throughout historic Mendocino. This year’s highlights include Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the South African choral group that rose to fame on Paul Simon’s 1986 album Graceland (July 26), a series of concerts exploring the world of Gabriel Fauré, curated by pianist Susan Waterfall (July 725), and a lavish closing orchestral concert with Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and Johannes Brahms’s magnificent A German Requiem (July 27).

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Stanford Live Arts Festival | July 13–27

Frost Amphitheater

The outdoor Frost Amphitheater on the Stanford University campus is the setting for a stellar lineup of music and dance performances. Festival partners — SFJAZZ, the SF Symphony, and SF Ballet — offer six performances. Symphonic programs include a “Spanish travelogue” of Iberian composers (July 13) and the movie music of John Williams (July 20), while the Count Basie Orchestra and the Taj Mahal Quintet curate jazz and blues programs (July 14 and 19, respectively). CUMBIA!@Frost (July 21) is a night of celebration inspired by Colombian rhythms, complete with a dance floor and family-friendly crafts, painting, and activities.

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Valley of the Moon Music Festival | July 13–28

Valley of the Moon Music Festival

VMMF’s 10th anniversary season celebrates the richness and diversity of music across the Americas. Co-directors Tanya Tomkins and Eric Zivian stay true to the mission of bringing chamber music to life on period instruments with programs that showcase the cross-pollination of Latin American, North American, and European chamber music from 1750 to 1945 and beyond. In addition to mainstage performances, the festival includes three al fresco concerts, a lecture series, and a kids and family concert.

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The Ford | July 14 – Oct. 31

The Ford

Summers at The Ford, just across the 101 freeway, opposite the Hollywood Bowl, are always full of exciting surprises. This year’s lineup traverses jazz, alternative rock, and Latin American genres. Concerts include Puerto Rican guitar wizard José Feliciano leading Boleros de Noche (Aug. 3) and an evening with the jazz-funk duo the Mizell Brothers, “Jazz Is Dead” (Aug. 28). Dance and movement will be center stage, with imaginative choreography coming together with the music of Saul Williams in The Motherboard Suite, a “night of vivid Afrofuturism” (Aug. 9), 100 Años de Libertad, featuring the Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company (Aug. 17), and TAIKOPROJECT’s modern take on ancient Japanese drumming (Aug. 18).

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Festival Mozaic | July 18–27

Festival Mozaic

The pride of San Luis Obispo, this chamber music festival does a lot in its two weeks. This year’s programming, once again directed by violinist and conductor Scott Yoo, includes a lot of exciting broad-based concerts that betray a very Californian spirit. There is the opening night, which brings together Jean Sibelius’s Piano Quintet with world premieres by Stewart Goodyear and Yoo himself (July 19). There is an outdoor concert with Quarteto Nuevo, which “merges Western classical, Eastern European folk, Latin, and jazz” (July 21). And there are films, “insight” lectures, after-parties, and much more.

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Bear Valley Music Festival | July 19 – Aug. 4

Bear Valley Music Festival

Music and Artistic Director Alexander Mickelthwate has been programming the heck out of this festival since he arrived a few years ago. The picturesque mountain setting has suggested a classical opening night that includes a work for bagpipe and orchestra along with Felix Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony (July 26). But there are also concerts like “Our Earth, Our Stars, and Beyond,” which features music by Jerod Tate and Eric Whitacre (but no Gustav Holst) and an orchestral arrangement of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” (July 27). There’s also Lee Johnson’s Dead Symphony No. 6 (Aug. 1) and a tribute to tenor Andrea Bocelli (Aug. 4). Every concert has an intriguing theme.

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Classical Tahoe | July 19 – Aug. 4

Classical Tahoe Orchestra

The stars are out at Classical Tahoe this year, with the brothers Ilmar Gavilán and Aldo López-Gavilán, the guitarist Ana Vidović, Avery Fisher Career Grant winner Steven Banks (playing Billy Childs’s concerto for saxophone, Diaspora), and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo all soloing with the Festival Orchestra, with Jonathan Darlington, Ruth Reinhardt, and Eric Jacobsen on the podium. And that’s not counting the slate of chamber concerts with elite musicians on every part. It’s almost like Classical Tahoe welcomes a busman’s holiday at one of the West’s premier vacation spots.

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Music@Menlo | July 19 – Aug. 10

Concert

The chamber festival’s 22nd season focuses on the music of France, but it also presents the impact this music had on composers worldwide, from Mozart to Bohuslav Martinů. Over 50 events unfold on Music@Menlo’s three stages.

The opening concert presents music by Georg Philipp Telemann, Dieterich Buxtehude, J.S. Bach, François Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Jean-Féry Rebel (July 20). Moving geographically from “Vienna to Paris” (July 25), then focusing on isolated ensembles and instruments (July 27 – Aug. 1), the festival also features piano music by Anton Arensky, Claude Debussy, and Sergei Rachmaninoff (Aug. 3). After a program of vocal music (Aug. 7), the festival concludes with “Renascence,” encompassing composers from Bach to George Crumb and Olivier Messiaen (Aug. 8).

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Ventura Music Festival | July 25 – Aug. 4

Masumi Per Rostad and LACO

This short but sweet festival opens with famed fiddler Michael Cleveland in a bluegrass concert (July 25), which paves the way for performances by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (July 26), dancer-pianist team Caleb Teicher and Conrad Tao (July 27), singer-songwriter Perla Batalla (Aug. 2), guitarist Jason Vieaux and accordionist Julien Labro (Aug. 3), and the adrenaline-junkie piano duo Anderson & Roe (Aug. 4).

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American Bach Summer Season | July 26–28

American Bach

The longtime early-music champions at American Bach open their summer season with a reprise of the easy-to-love Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, the hit of last year’s festival, with young, brilliant soloists Jacob Ashworth, Tatiana Chulochnikova, Tomà Iliev, and YuEun Kim returning (July 27). Then, soprano Maya Kherani and mezzo-soprano Sarah Coit share a concert of solo cantatas, really mini-operas, by Handel and Vivaldi, conducted by Artistic Director Jeffrey Thomas (July 28). The supporting cast here is pretty good, too.

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La Jolla Music Society SummerFest | July 26 – Aug. 24

Inon Barnatan

Artistic Director Inon Barnatan may be drawing heavily from Los Angeles’ vibrant music community, but San Diego classical concertgoers are going to love the results. Barnatan himself is a presence on piano throughout the festival. The hot ticket is opening night: Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale in a production by The Paper Cinema that features animation and live puppetry, conducted by Thomas Adès (July 26). But this festival goes from strength to strength for a month and overflows with intriguing repertory, seriously great musicians, and diverse perspectives.

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Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music | July 29 – Aug. 11

Cristian Măcelaru

For 62 years, the Cabrillo Festival has served contemporary classical music, often introducing composers who have later became known worldwide. The 2024 season, dubbed “Music as Movement,” offers four world premieres, eight West Coast premieres, 14 composers-in-residence, and the Cabrillo Festival’s inaugural Creative Lab.

The 62nd season begins with a concert of works by Vivian Fung, Helen Grime, Nina Young, and Karim Al-Zand (Aug. 2). The world premiere of Al-Zand’s Al Hakawati (The storyteller) promises a journey into “the stories we tell and why we tell them.” The concert on Aug. 3 includes works by Iván Enrique Rodríguez, Daniel Kellogg, and Lembit Beecher. It also features unbound: Phase 1, a world premiere by Nathaniel Heyder, recipient of the inaugural Emerging Black Composers Cabrillo Festival Prize.

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Festival del Sole | Aug. 1–4

Festival del Sole

To be held at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center, the festival will present three chamber music concerts and a special event. On Aug. 1, violinist Viktoria Mullova, cellist Nina Kotova, and pianist Olga Kern perform; on Aug. 2, it’s violinist Pinchas Zukerman and his trio; and on Aug. 3, tenor Joseph Calleja gives a recital.

On Aug. 4, the festival presents a screening of a multimedia work, The Way of the Rain, about the formation of the universe, the evolution of galaxies, and the eventual birth of planet Earth. The creator of this work combining music, art, and film is Sibylle Szaggars Redford, and it is narrated by her husband, Robert Redford. The couple are expected to attend.

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Music in the Vineyards | Aug. 2–25

Music in the Vineyards

A little vino with your Vivaldi? Michael and Daria Adams’s chamber music festival reaches its 30th anniversary in style, with a finale celebration that features pianist and vocalist Clarice Assad in songs by Antônio Carlos Jobim and tangos by Astor Piazzolla (Aug. 25). The Miró Quartet, the Isidore String Quartet, and the Pacifica Quartet will be in residence, and not surprisingly, there will be a large helping of string quartets and piano quintets in the programming mix. There’s also a helping of hip contemporary music to spice things up.

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West Edge Opera Festival | Aug. 3–18

West Edge Opera

This summer, West Edge brings back its condensation of Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung. David Seaman’s adaptation, called Legend of the Ring, lasts 3½ hours (not 16), is conducted by WEO Music Director Jonathan Khuner, and stars recent Metropolitan Opera debutante Tracy Cox as Brünnhilde and Philip Skinner as Wotan. Even more exciting, this year’s festival includes two premieres. Bulrusher, by composer Nathaniel Stookey and librettist Eisa Davis, based on Davis’s play (which was shortlisted for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize), boasts a cast that would honor any major opera house: soprano Shawnette Sulker, bass Kenneth Kellogg, and mezzo-sopranos Rebecca Cuddy and Briana Hunter. The West Coast premiere of composer Luna Pearl Woolf and librettist Royce Vavrek’s 2020 opera Jacqueline, about cellist Jacqueline du Pré, stars soprano Marnie Breckenridge and cellist (and former du Pré protege) Matt Haimovitz. Once again, this company punches way above its (budget) weight.

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San Francisco International Piano Festival | Aug. 23 – Sept. 1

Jeffrey LaDeur

The seventh season of this festival led by Artistic Director Jeffrey LaDeur is headed to France — in music, that is, with this year’s performances at Old First Church and venturing out to Old St. Mary’s Cathedral for a free noontime concert. The focus is on French works, particularly the music of Gabriel Fauré. Opening night — with LaDeur, Gwendolyn Mok, Sarah Yuan, and Munan Cheng — adds works by François Couperin, Déodat de Séverac, and Emmanuel Chabrier (Aug. 23). In an unusual combination, on Aug. 30, the festival presents Stephen Prutsman and the Telegraph Quartet in Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet, Op. 44, and Prutsman’s score for Buster Keaton’s 1924 film Sherlock Jr.

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Flower Piano | Sept. 13–22

Flower Piano

What began as an experiment between Sunset Piano and the San Francisco Botanical Garden has become a mini-institution. The basic idea, setting pianos in the gardens, is nice enough. But inviting people to listen and play transformed the offering into a dayslong rejuvenation in the heart of the city. The schedule of events and featured (invited) pianists is not out yet. But it’s worth putting a note in your calendar not to miss this.

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Monterey Jazz Festival | Sept. 27–29

Monterey Jazz Festival

There are more stars and up-and-coming acts at this festival than there are fish in the city’s famous aquarium. The list of performers isn’t complete yet, and it already reads like a who’s-who encyclopedia. In three days, across multiple stages, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., you’ll hear the likes of Stanley Clarke, Mavis Staples, Samara Joy, Brandee Younger, Joshua Redman, Lila Downs, Robert Glasper, José James, and Ulysses Owens Jr. You can’t possibly take it all in, but it’ll be fun to try.

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