Sun Valley Music Festival campaigns to upgrade big screen and sound system


The Sun Valley Music Festival has launched a fundraising campaign to upgrade its large screen and sound system to better serve the thousands of people who enjoy the summer symphony performances on the pavilion lawn.

An anonymous donor has offered to match up to $250,000 in dollar-for-dollar gifts during the 2022 summer symphony season.

The hundreds of people who took to the lawn for Sunday’s opening concert of Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ concerto featuring expressive young pianist George Li and intricate percussive rhythms were the first to hear the new system sound. It is designed to give those on the pitch the same experience as those at the Pavilion.

Electronic music wizard Mason Bates used the big screen to his advantage at a Sun Valley Music Festival lawn party in 2019.

Wiring for the D&B Soundscape system was installed last summer, with technicians replacing cables, improving connections across the lawn and installing a new D&B Soundscape system. The system includes 48 channels of amplifiers and a new virtual acoustic processor in the basement of the pavilion.

The new system allows listeners to hear the sound coming to them as it leaves the stage with violins on the left, basses on the right, winds midway and timpani and horns bouncing off the back wall.

This is accomplished through sophisticated mixing technology that channels sound from the microphones above the stage and adds small amounts of volume variation, reverb and spatial localization to mimic what the audience inside the pavilion hears.

Festival sound engineers can now electronically adjust the acoustics with the click of a button, changing the acoustics from bedroom lawn to concert hall to cathedral as the stage crew physically does.

For Sunday’s concert, the sound technicians got their hands dirty, installing a temporary wall, bringing the back of the stage forward and inward from the sides. They also lowered the wooden panels suspended above the stage to help a small orchestra of 40 musicians fill a 300 square foot stage that normally accommodates an orchestra of a hundred or more musicians.

The current standard definition screen will be replaced by a larger, newer high definition screen in the summer of 2023. Today’s high definition screens offer much more resolution and visual detail than those of yesteryear. 10 years.

The new screen will provide an improved viewing experience, allowing those seated further back on the lawn in what was once the overflow section to see detail better.

The LARES-Lexicon audio system was state-of-the-art when installed in 2008 for the pavilion’s opening. And it was modernized in 2011.

But improved technology means today’s sound systems can recreate the acoustic performance inside the 45,000 square foot pavilion in a way that was unimaginable when the pavilion with its arched horn-shaped acoustic shell dramatically was built.

Ditto the large 14-by-25-foot screen, which was originally installed to accommodate turf-goers for the Garth Brooks Symphony concert in 2010. The screen proved so popular that the symphony stopped it in his momentum as he headed for the freeway. of Sun Valley, recalling him for the rest of the season.

The Elaine P. Wynn Foundation and an anonymous donor funded the rental of a large screen in 2011, and it has been a mainstay of the Sun Valley Music Festival ever since.

Daniel Hansen, senior director of marketing at the Sun Valley Music Festival, said he wasn’t sure how much to cover the new sound system and screen. But those wishing to donate to the campaign can do so online at

Or, you can make a donation in person at the Festival office at 120 2n/a Ave. N., Suite 103, in Ketchum or at the Visitor Center and Store to the left of the lodge’s main entrance.

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