Memphis’s popular “sunset symphony” concert discontinued, but may return in new format

Posted on: May 29, 2015

“Buoyed by near-record attendance over the weekend, the ‘sunset symphony’ could rise again—not as a Memphis in May International Festival event but as a Memphis Symphony Orchestra production, in partnership with a presenting sponsor and possibly other arts or civic groups,” writes John Beifuss in Tuesday’s (5/26) Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee). A successor to the Sunset Symphony “almost certainly wouldn’t be held in May, and could end up” at a new location, said Memphis Symphony President and CEO Roland Valliere. “The Memphis in May Sunset Symphony ended its 39-year run with a ‘Grand Finale’ concert Saturday in Tom Lee Park, on the banks of the Mississippi River, where thousands of people gathered to enjoy the view, the music, the fireworks and the picture-perfect weather. The Sunset Symphony is the festival’s original community event, predating both the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. But in the wake of decreasing attendance, the Memphis in May board decided this year to end the concert.” John Sprott, retired principal percussionist for the orchestra, said he thought “it would be a good idea to keep doing it,” but that “any new outdoor concert would need to be held during the symphony season,” not during hot summers, when direct sunlight “will melt the varnish on the violins.”

Posted May 29, 2015