SkanFest U

The Skaneateles Festival’s annual education initiative

SkanFest U consists of four weekly educational sessions that take place during the Skaneateles Festival season. Sessions are led by Artistic Director Aaron Wunsch, who teaches at The Julliard School.
SkanFest U is sponsored by: The Julie Sharp Fund


2023: Why Mozart

July 25- August 15, 2023

Mozart’s music remains a cultural touchstone, even in today’s pluralistic world. What gives Mozart’s music its staying power, and how does it continue to inspire both listeners and composers? Learn how Mozart’s music inspired those after him, including Chopin, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, and even contemporary artists from diverse backgrounds, like Chick Corea and Vijay Iyer.


2022: How Folk Becomes Classic(al)

July 26- August 16, 2022

This year’s educational course explores how composers adopt and adapt the sounds and rhythms of folk music into their works. Authentic folk music from Austria, India, Eastern Europe, and America and their pathways from these cultures into today’s concert music.


2021: Voices Unheard

August 3- August 24, 2021

While we will continue to hear the materpieces we already know, more and more astonishing and high-quality music is coming to light from composers who trod paths outside the mainstream. Caroline Shaw shares her unlikely path toward becoming a composer and the youngest-ever Pulitzer Prizewinner. Her work The Evergreen premeired at the Festival August 12, 2022 by the Dover Quartet

2019: Music and the Visual Arts

July 30- August 20, 2019

2019’s educational course explored the interesections betweeen music and the visual arts. How paintings inspired composers in their music, from the literally depictive (Debussy) to emotional responses (Rachmaninoff) to similarities in technique (Liszt). In many cases, the visual arts opened doors to new means of musical expression-and they continue to do so today, as in Lera Auerbach’s Festival-commissioned work for Hilary Hahn.


2018: Leonard Bernstein’s America

August 7- August 28, 2018

Leornard Bernstein was an American original who inspired a generation of listeners and composers. Bernstein went from the piano to the conductor’s podium, to Hollywood, to Broadway, on television, and as an ambassador for the importance of the arts in society. This year’s session aims to deepen the understanding of American concert music, including its connections with jazz and popular song, and get to know the music of Bernstein, Copeland Barber and others from the inside.

We hope to see you soon!