Events in Bluegrass, Broadway, Classical & Jazz
Celebrating their 44th season, this year promises to both inspire and challenge listeners with a concert for everyone, July 26 through August 19. While originating as the premier concert series for classical music in Central New York, the Festival has broadened its horizons with the goal of providing concerts for attendees of all ages and musical interests. This diversity of sound is the focal point of this year’s Festival, with a curated selection of artists performing bluegrass, Broadway, classical and jazz.
Grammy-winning banjo and bluegrass artist, Béla Fleck joins the Festival on opening weekend, Saturday, July 29 at the Robinson Pavilion at Anyela’s Vineyards. With his backing ensemble of Bluegrass All-Stars including fiddlist Michael Cleveland, multi-instrumentalist Justin Moses, bassist Mark Schatz, guitarist Bryan Sutton, and mandolinist/vocalist Sierra Hull, they’ll perform music from My Bluegrass Heart, winner of the 2021 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.
Classical guitarist and Syracuse native Eliot Fisk takes the stage for a matinee performance on July 26 and the evening of July 27, playing pieces from Bach alongside Spanish and Latin American selections. Classical events continue throughout the month, with the Danish String Quartet on July 28, artistic directors Aaron Wunsch and Julia Bruskin with “Inventing Mozart” on August 3, and performances from the East Coast Chamber Orchestra on August 10, August 11, and August 12, which will feature “Mozart Under the Stars” at Anyela’s Vineyards. The classical concert series concludes with the Parker Quarter’s “Beethoven Illuminated” performance on August 17, joined by classical saxophonist Steven Banks on August 18.
For fans of Broadway, Kelli O’Hara, winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in The King and I, joins us August 5 to share a selection of her favorite Broadway and classical songs. The night prior, on August 4, Buffalo native and rising opera star, soprano Kearstin Piper Brown portrays Harriet Tubman in “Following Harriet,” a program of American music commissioned by the Festival to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s birth (exact date unknown).
Closing the 2023 season on August 19 is a jazz Festival finale with the explosive and experimental Joshua Redman Quartet. One of the most revered saxophonists and jazz composers of the 21st century, Redman was recently nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album at the 2023 Grammy Awards.
For younger listeners, the Skaneateles Festival presents two KidsFest events. The first, “Sizzling Strings,” includes members of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra on August 11 at the Mandana Barn in Skaneateles. The second, “Meet the Saxophone,” features Steven Banks on August 16 at the First Presbyterian Church, Skaneateles. Both events are free for kids, $5 for adults, and meet at 11:00 am to noon.
Artistic directors Aaron Wunsch and Julia Bruskin return for their ninth year with the Festival. While some of their supporters have been coming to Skaneateles Festival concerts for decades, audiences continue to grow as new listeners discover the musical experiences that the Skaneateles Festival has to offer. “The Festival remains a magical place to hear music in an intimate setting,” says Bruskin. “We’d encourage everyone to come experience the magic with open ears and open hearts.” For more information on the season and to get tickets, visit www.skanfest.org.
Locations and Tickets
Skaneateles Festival concerts are held Thursday and Friday evenings at 8 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 97 East Genesee St. in downtown Skaneateles.
Saturday concerts take place at 8:00 pm at the Robinson Pavilion located at Anyela’s Vineyards, a lakeside vineyard 4.5 miles south of Skaneateles on West Lake Road (Route 41A). Audiences are welcome to arrive as early as 6:00 pm and bring picnic dinners to enjoy on the lawn overlooking the lake. Wine and beer will be available for purchase at Anyela’s Vineyards; outside alcohol is not permitted.
In the event of inclement weather, Saturday concerts move indoors. Venue changes and rain locations may be confirmed by calling (315) 685-7418 or visiting www.skanfest.org after 3 p.m. on concert days.
Tickets range from $32-65 for adults based on concert and seating choice. Youth under 18 are free in Section B (lawn). College students may purchase $10 student tickets at the door of the concert. Weekly passes, season passes, flex passes, and VIP Saturday tickets are also available. Visit https://skanfest.org/tickets/ for more details.