Top Ten Refined U.S. Music Festivals

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Colorado
New York Philharmonic, Vail Valley Music Festival
Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic during the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. (Chris Lee)

3. Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Colorado
You could say that Vail "horned in" on Aspen as the Colorado mountains' premier classical music summer showcase when it began presenting its Bravo! series more than 20 years ago. It now runs from early July through early August and has its own distinct flavor.

In its home, the informal Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, you can park your margarita in a cup-holder (thanks to stadium seating), snack on popcorn, and listen to three different major American orchestras—the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra—which each take over the stage for several weeks. Interspersed with the orchestral events are chamber concerts and genteel pop (such as film music). The site also has a hillside that provides good sightlines for those who would rather pay less and sit on grass.


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