Established in 1987, Bravo! Vail has grown from a handful of attendees 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.
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! Vail—representing both the first international and the first chamber orchestra residency in Bravo’s history—which solidified the current format of four top-tier resident orchestras interwoven with a world class chamber music series. In 2019, the Chamber Orchestra Vienna – Berlin filled the fourth orchestra slot, with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra fullfilling residencies in 2021 and 2022. The Acadmey of St Martin in the Feilds returns in 2023 for its fourth residency.
In 2018, Bravo! Vail welcomed the return of Caitlin Murray, this time as Executive Director. Ms. Murray brings comprehensive experience to Bravo! Vail after working for the organization in various roles from 2009, including serving as the Vice President of Development. Ms. Murray is committed to the artistic excellence and mission of Bravo! Vail.
Through extraordinary performances, dedicated leadership, and generous support from the community, Bravo! Vail has grown from a handful of attendees 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.