ACSO 2023 Festivals Guide: Find a Summer Festival Near You

The 2023 summer music festival season is here! Artists and live music lovers from all over the world are coming to California and the Western U.S. to experience a unique blend of music-making, camaraderie, and scenic beauty. The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) is pleased to share this summer's offerings from our festival members, highlighting a vital and vibrant way for artists and audiences alike to deeply engage in classical music in picturesque, unique communities.

No two festivals are exactly alike, yet each share one common thread: a love and respect for composers, musicians, and the communities in which they are rooted. There are many opportunities to experience world-class performances and connect with the artists who bring these great works of art to life.

ACSO is delighted to share twelve of our member's festivals below (listed in alphabetical order) which showcase a rich and impressive spectrum of live music in delightful destinations. The content below has been sourced directly from information released by each organization.


Baroque Music Festival, Corona del Mar | June 18 - 25: This Festival strives to present the astounding wealth and diversity of music of the Baroque era (c. 1600-1750) in a wide variety of ways, at affordable prices. Large-scale works, with and without singers, are typically offered during Sunday concerts, while during the weekday evenings between you will hear smaller-scale vocal and chamber performances, all given by the finest musicians in the historically informed Baroque field. Socialize with the musicians over “wine and waters” following the concerts, and join Baroque Music Festival in its lovely and varied venues, which include the beautiful Sherman Gardens in the heart of Corona del Mar. Tickets here.

Bear Valley Music Festival | July 21 - August 6: The Bear Valley Music Festival is an annual summer event held in the picturesque Bear Valley, California, nestled within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just above 7,200′. This vibrant and diverse music festival brings together renowned artists and ensembles from various genres, including classical, jazz, rock, and pop, for an enriching and entertaining experience. The festival currently begins on the second-to-last Friday in July and ends three Sundays later, drawing a total audience of roughly four thousand attendees, and is held within (what is affectionately called) the “Big White Tent”.  With its stunning natural backdrop, intimate concert setting, and family-friendly atmosphere, the Bear Valley Music Festival has been a cherished cultural tradition for music enthusiasts and nature lovers alike since its inception in 1967. Tickets here

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music | July 30 - August 13: The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is headed toward a season of unparalleled energy, dynamism, and celebration with the music of the world's most preeminent composers and its most renowned soloists. An incredible program of works will come to life in the talented hands of Music Director and Conductor Cristian Macelaru and its amazing Festival Orchestra. Audiences are invited into the creative process through open rehearsals almost daily—enjoyed in-person at the Civic Auditorium or in your home anywhere in the world via livestream! A stunning roster of international guest artists includes percussionists Colin Currie, Beibei Wang, Svet Stoyanov, and Matthew Strauss; and violinist Eunice Kim joins composer/bassist extraordinaire Xavier Foley for his world premiere commission. Tickets here.

Carmel Bach Festival | July 15 - 29: The Carmel Bach Festival presents its 86th performance season titled "Beginnings," July 15-29, 2023, in venues throughout Carmel and Pebble Beach, CA. This year's schedule features more than 50 events including main concerts and recitals. It is also the debut season for the festival's new Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Grete Pedersen. Tickets here.


FOOSA Festival | June 11 - 24: Members of the FOOSA Philharmonic (Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy) receive daily lessons from world-class faculty. Participants also have the opportunity to perform solo and/or chamber works in one of our four student showcase recitals, enter the Concerto Competition, and perform at both Walt Disney Concert Hall and Fresno’s Saroyan Theatre. This summer intensive orchestral academy is unrivaled in the USA! The 2023 FOOSA Philharmonic concert program features Joan Tower’s Sequoia, Alexander Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy, Op. 54, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905.” Tickets here.


Mendocino Music Festival | July 15 - 29: The Mendocino Music Festival returns to its home on the Mendocino bluffs. Artistic Director and Conductor Allan Pollack and Associate Artistic Director Susan Waterfall’s season includes the Festival Orchestra and Chorus, Stephen Prutsman, piano; mezzo-soprano Kendra Scharich with pianist Jeffrey LaDeur, Blind Boys of Alabama, Calder String Quartet, Tierney Sutton and more. A Ravel series includes two chamber music concerts, the string quartet, Shéhérazade, and Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2 (with chorus.) Additional repertoire: Prokofiev Symphony No. 5; concert version of Barber of Seville, Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, and Fauré’s Requiem. Tickets here.

Midsummer Mozart Festival: The Midsummer Mozart Festival is busy planning the 2023 season, which will be held in July. Venues, repertoire, and guest artists, are being finalized, and more information will be shared soon. For more information, click here.



Music Academy Summer School and Festival | June 12 - August 5: The Music Academy, formerly known as the Music Academy of the West, and now in its 76th season, celebrates the “Summer of the Artist” with eight weeks of live events at its picturesque Miraflores campus and throughout scenic Santa Barbara, California (June 12–Aug 5). Featured artists include Jeremy Denk, Anthony McGill, Ana María Martínez, Music Academy alumnae Isabel Leonard and Sasha Cooke, Augustin Hadelich, Elena Urioste, the Takács Quartet, and Music Academy alumna Michelle Bradley headlining the annual festival gala along with the Sing! children’s chorus. Special events include a Critics’ Roundtable hosted by New Yorker music critic Alex Ross and a presentation in partnership with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art of a free concert co-curated by LA-based conceptual artist Awol Erizku. In addition, the Academy’s talented young musicians and outstanding teaching artists are presented in a wealth of chamber concerts, public masterclasses, and competitions under the galvanizing leadership of President & CEO Scott Reed, who is embarking on his last summer as Executive Director. Tickets here.

Music @ Menlo | July 14 - August 5: Music @ Menlo's Summer Festival, led by founding Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han, returns with Beethoven Unfolding. The festival presents six mainstage concert programs, six Beethoven Quartet Cycle performances, six Inside the Quartets lecture-demonstrations led by David Finckel, three full-evening Encounter lectures, and a host of free events including master classes and performances by students of the Chamber Music Institute. The cycle of Beethoven's 16 string quartets is intertwined with one of Music's signature Unfolding of Music festivals, which move chronologically through the history of chamber music. Audiences will experience the development of the art form in parallel with the evolution of Beethoven's quartets, performed in order of composition by the stellar Calidore String Quartet. Tickets here.

Music in the Mountains SummerFest | June 17 - July 3: Music in the Mountains’ SummerFest kicks off its 42nd year on June 17th in Grass Valley, California with a dinner concert in a private garden featuring Rogue Music Project. One week later the festivities move indoors for three concerts ranging from a piano recital and champagne reception to Mozart’s Requiem to Florence Price Symphony No. 1 and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The festival concludes with two outdoor performances: Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 1 and Happy Birthday USA. Tickets here.

Music in the Vineyards | July 28 - August 20: With breathtaking views of the Napa Valley, this unique combination of wine country ambiance and world-class talent allows artists and audiences alike to experience chamber music in uniquely intimate settings, as it was intended to be performed. Tickets here.


Ojai Music Festival | June 8 - 11: The 77th Festival welcomes musician and composer Rhiannon Giddens as music director. Programs touch on Giddens' interests across musical boundaries, from opera and Baroque music to Black traditions in American roots music, from the classical traditions of music from China and Persia to the influence of non-Western music on American contemporary music. A few of the pillars include the world premiere of Omar's Journey, an Ojai-commissioned chamber work for voices and small ensemble drawn from the opera and contextualized with music from Senegal and the Carolinas; a reimagining of Tan Dun's pioneering Ghost Opera; and a performance of Carlos Simon's cycle Between Worlds. Joining Giddens will be Kayhan Kalhor, Steven Schick, Francesco Turrisi, Wu Man, and the Attacca Quartet. Tickets here.


More west coast festivals happening this SUMMER

Chamber Music Northwest Summer Festival | June 24 - July 29, Portland, OR

Festival Mozaic | July 22 - 29, San Luis Obispo, CA

LaJolla Music Society Summer Fest | July 28 - August 26, La Jolla, CA

Mainly Mozart All-Star Orchestra Festival | June 10 - 24, San Diego, CA

Oregon Bach Festival | June 30 - July 16, Eugene, OR

Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival June 23 - August 26, Redlands, CA

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