Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File
Members of the Gonzalo Bergara Trio perform in the atrium of the Andrew P. Kashevaroff Building as part of Juneau Jazz & Classics on May 10, 2019. Live, classical music will return to Juneau next week as the popular festival resumes in-person concerts to sell-out crowds. If you don’t have tickets, you can still partake in the free, outdoor concerts, workshops or virtual elements.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File Members of the Gonzalo Bergara Trio perform in the atrium of the Andrew P. Kashevaroff Building as part of Juneau Jazz & Classics on May 10, 2019. Live, classical music will return to Juneau next week as the popular festival resumes in-person concerts to sell-out crowds. If you don’t have tickets, you can still partake in the free, outdoor concerts, workshops or virtual elements.

Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival kicks off next week

Audiences deprived of live music spur sell outs, but opportunities remain

The popular Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival begins next week, and judging by ticket sales, Juneau’s residents are ready to get out and see live music again.

The group is hosting a hybrid event this year with online and in-person elements after COVID-19 forced the 2020 festival into a virtual format. The in-person events include free and ticketed concerts that will take place inside and outside.

Grammy Award-winning Cellist Zuill Bailey, who serves as the artistic director for the festival, will perform along with Midori, a leading concert violinist and one of the five recipients of the 2020 Kennedy Center Honors. Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux rounds out the line-up.

Live classical music will fill the air and airways in May

Eager concert-goers have led to early sell-outs of many ticketed in-person events. But, there are still plenty of opportunities to catch a free, outside show or to join a workshop.

“I figured we’d either sell out or not sell any,” said Sandy Fortier, executive director at Juneau Jazz & Classics, noting that social distancing requirements did limit the number of tickets the group was able to sell.

“I’m glad we were able to do this,” she said. “Our guitarist is flying in from Cleveland. It’s nice to get outside talent.”

Pandemic planning

Evolving pandemic conditions led to a slower-than-usual start to this year’s planning.

“We planned it in a really short amount of time,” she said. “We had to find venues and get artists to come up. But, it’s all coming together really well.”

Fortier said that current pandemic protocols will be used for all concerts. Masks won’t be required at outdoor events based on advice from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Organizers will follow the protocols of the venue for inside concerts.

Fortier said that the free outdoor concerts will happen rain or shine and that spectators should bring a chair and dress for the weather. Each show lasts about 45 minutes.

About the artists

Here’s a biography of each artist, based on information from the Juneau Jazz & Classic’s website.

Midori is a visionary artist, activist, and educator who explores and breaks with traditional boundaries as she builds connections between music and the human experience. All of this makes her one of the most outstanding artists and violinists of our time. This month, Midori receives the Kennedy Center Honor in Recognition of Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

Jason Vieaux is “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists,” according to Gramophone. NPR describes Vieaux as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” Vieaux was the first classical musician to be featured on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk” series. Vieaux is highly versatile and will play many of his jazz pieces at his concerts, including music Pat Metheny wrote just for Vieaux.

Zuill Bailey is considered one of the premiere cellists in the world. Bailey is a Grammy Award-winning, internationally renowned soloist, recitalist, artistic director and teacher.

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

Know & Go

Visit jazzandclassics.org for a complete list of events, including virtual and in-person concerts and workshops. All age and student-focused cello and guitar workshops are available, and space is available. Here’s a list of the festival’s free concerts.

Wednesday, May 26, 5 p.m. — Pioneer Pavilion, Savikko Park

Friday, May 28, 5 p.m. — Heritage Coffee Roasting Company, Downtown Cafe on Front Street

Saturday, May 29, 3 p.m. — Twin Lakes Park

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