Sunriver Music Festival Updates

(Photos | Courtesy of Sunriver Music Festival)

Get to Know Your Festival: Introducing Maestro Brett Mitchell

(This is one of a series of previews of the upcoming 44th Season of the Sunriver Music Festival).

Communications, collaboration and making sure a festival reflects the community are the priorities that Brett Mitchell, a finalist for Sunriver Music Festival’s Artistic Director, will bring to Central Oregon when he conducts summer concerts in 2021

Mitchell, the current Music Director of the Colorado Symphony, has been hailed for presenting engaging, in-depth explorations of a variety of classical programs. His distinguished career also includes serving on the conducting staff of the Cleveland Orchestra and Assistant Conductor of the Houston Symphony.  Mitchell is one of two finalists who will be conducting the 44th season. The other finalist, Kelly Kuo, will be profiled in the next Get to Know Your Festival story.

“We don’t name orchestras after conductors. We name them after communities,“ explains Maestro Mitchell. “That’s because festivals need to reflect their communities. It is about a dialogue with the community.”

That is one reason Mitchell is excited about coming to Sunriver to get a feel for the community and what they are seeking. “Yes, I have my priorities that will be reflected in the programming, but my goal is collaboration with the community and the audience.

Communication is also a critical part of Mitchell’s approach to conducting. “Music is about communications, the whole purpose is to create a musical intimacy, so you must have a relationship with the musicians and with the audience,” adds Mitchell. 

Mitchell is quick to point out that he has had a very different musical journey to conducting. Growing up in Seattle in the ‘80s, he listened to the emerging world of grunge rock, not classical. In middle school, he fell in love with jazz. It wasn’t until high school that he started to appreciate classical.

“Because of my diverse musical tastes, I don’t necessarily place classical music on a pedestal, and this allows me to bring a unique kind of open-mindedness to the way I program concerts.”

Mitchell’s arrival next August is the culmination of a year-long Maestro search by the Festival Board and search committee. “Next summer our members and community receive the unique opportunity to see two outstanding professionals in action as they lead our talented Festival Orchestra,” states Executive Director Meagan Iverson.

The Festival’s current Music Director, George Hanson, ended his ten-year tenure with the Festival earlier in 2020 after accepting a position in Washington D.C.

Visit for a sneak peek of the complete Summer Festival schedule.

Festival Brings Innovative Concert & Live Streaming Event to Sunriver

Tickets for Sunriver Music Festival’s annual Traditions Christmas Concert, Saturday, December 5  featuring concert rock violinist Aaron Meyer, are going quickly. If you want to attend one of two live concerts, at 3pm or 7pm, don’t delay. Tickets range from $20 to $65. Call 541-593-9310 or email to

“Aaron Meyer is a true Central Oregon favorite and his concerts always attract hundreds of devoted fans,” explains Executive Director Meagan Iverson. “Because these special COVID-era concerts were designed to keep everyone safe, tickets are very limited. That’s why we are so excited about our dynamic new addition of live streaming.”

Partnering with Left Door Streaming, which uses a unique multi-camera approach with high quality audio and video, Aaron Meyer has pioneered a fresh, innovative approach to live streaming. “The visuals, the sound quality, it is simply higher quality than what people think of when they think of streaming,” explains Meyer.
The live concerts and streaming event are being performed at the Sunriver Resort Great Hall. Along with Meyer and his fantastic pianist Jean-Pierre Garau, violinist John Fawcett will also perform.

In addition to traditional holiday tunes, Meyer will be sharing some of his own unique rock-influenced music. Meyers attributes Pink Martini’s founder Thomas Lauderdale for opening up his musical horizon. “Playing in Pink Martini in those early years was fantastic. I learned you could break the rules and invent your own kind of music.”

Meyers points out that playing in Central Oregon always feels like a homecoming. “I’ve made so many friends in the area over the years. I’ve played in people’s homes and I just love the high desert environment and the people.

Presented in partnership with Sunriver Resort, the live and streaming concerts are part of the Resort’s Winter Traditions celebration offering an abundance of family-friendly events. Find out more about Traditions and the Resort’s lodging packages at

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