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In 1987, founding executive director John Giovando and founding artistic director Ida Kavafian established Bravo! Vail as public 501 (c) 3 Colorado non-profit corporation. Since then, Bravo! Vail has evolved from a small chamber music series to an international music festival with dozens of performances throughout the Vail Valley, and summer home to the world's greatest musicians and orchestras. Bravo! Vail has proven to be an economic driver in Vail while enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.  

The first orchestras to be added to Bravo! Vail's music series were the National Repertory Orchestra and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1989, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra brought national recognition to Bravo! Vail with a summer residency that lasted for 19 years. In 1995, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra joined what would eventually become an international roster of orchestras.  

Eugenia Zukerman joined Bravo! Vail as artistic director in 1998. The following year, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra was added to the orchestral line-up. With a clear vision to become the most renowned orchestral festival in the country, Bravo! Vail celebrated the arrival of the New York Philharmonic in 2003 and The Philadelphia Orchestra four years later which solidified the Festival's reputation as one of the leading classical music festivals in the world.  

In 2011, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott became the third artistic director in Bravo! Vail's history. Ms. McDermott brings fresh perspective and a return to Bravo! Vail's chamber music roots, working tirelessly to assemble exceptional music-making that includes an eclectic combination of classical favorites and new works, a great deal of fun, and an environment that is inclusive, friendly, and accessible to all audiences.  

London's acclaimed Academy of St Martin in the Fields was added to the orchestral roster in 2016, making Bravo! Vail a four-orchestra festival. The addition of the Academy signified a new era for Bravo! Vai l- representing both the first international and the first chamber orchestra residency in Bravo Vail's history - which solidified the current format of four top-tier resident orchestras interwoven with a world-class chamber music series.  

In 2018, Bravo! Vail welcomed the return of Caitlin Murray as Executive Director. Ms. Murray brings comprehensive experience to Bravo! Vail after working for the organization in various roles from 2009, most recently serving as the Vice President of Development. Ms. Murray is committed to the artistic excellence and mission of Bravo! Vail.  

In 2019, the Chamber Orchestra Vienna - Berlin filled the guest chamber orchestra slot, opening the Bravo! Vail season in their North American debut. Bravo! Vail staged its first-ever opera in 2019, Puccini’s Tosca presented by The Philadelphia Orchestra. 

In response to the global pandemic in 2020, Bravo! Vail created the Music Box, a mobile performance stage, which we took to neighborhoods and parks from East Vail to Gypsum to present 41 outdoor concerts to the community throughout the summer. A group of 14 musicians performed in various configurations on the Music Box and in eight amphitheater concerts for limited capacity, socially distanced audiences, which were live streamed and viewed more than 6,500 times by people from 28 countries and all 50 states. Bravo! Vail was one of the only music festivals in the world to present live music in 2020. 

In 2021, Bravo! Vail returned to a full season and in 2022, deepened its commitment to supporting living composers and their work by launching the Symphonic Commissioning Project. As part of this bold initiative, Bravo! Vail will commission three new works each year for the next five years. The works will be performed during the Orchestral Series at the Festival, engaging a wide representation of compositional voices. 

2024 brings the return of opera to Bravo! Vail with two evenings of The Philadelphia Orchestra performing Puccini’s La bohème, lead by Music and Artistic Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Additionally, Bravo! Vail welcomes their first Latin American orchestra in 2024, Mexico City’s Sinfónica de Minería.  

Through extraordinary performances, dedicated leadership, and generous support from the community, Bravo! Vail has grown from a small chamber music festival to one of the world's premier music festivals. During the summer months, Bravo! Vail touches the lives of thousands of people, both residents and seasonal visitors who come to the area specifically to hear beautiful music in the majestic Rocky Mountains.