.Valley of the Moon Music Fest Celebrates a Decade

The Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VMMF) is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a season that promises to be as diverse and vibrant as the music it showcases.

This milestone season, themed “Music Across the Americas,” highlights the rich tapestry of 19th and 20th-century Latin American chamber music. Festival co-directors Tanya Tomkins and Eric Zivian have curated a program that promises to bring the flair and depth for which the Sonoma-based festival has been known for the past 10 years.

This year’s festival takes attendees through the cross-pollination of Latin American, North American and European chamber music from 1750 to 1945 and beyond. The program invites audiences to experience well-known repertoire pieces alongside seldom-heard gems, creating a unique blend of music from three continents. The VMMF continues its dedication to performing Classical and Romantic chamber music on historical instruments, ensuring an authentic listening experience.

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The festival will feature music from composers across Latin America, including Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Cuba, presented alongside European works from the same period. Attendees will hear pieces from luminaries such as Cuban virtuoso José White, Venezuelan multi-hyphenate Teresa Carreño, Brazilian favorite Heitor Villa-Lobos, guitarist-composer Sérgio Assad, tango master Astor Piazzola and Mexican composer Manuel Ponce, among others.

Likewise, the Blattner Lecture Series returns, offering audiences deeper insights into the season’s programming. This year, a new podcast will also feature discussions with festival artists and musicologists, adding another layer of engagement for attendees. The lectures, directed by Harvard musicology professor Dr. Kate van Orden, are designed to illuminate the historical context of the music performed, enhancing the overall concert experience (lectures are complimentary with the purchase of a concert ticket).

VMMF’s outdoor Alfresco concerts, a perennial favorite, return with new locations this season. Concerts will be held at Bartholomew Estate Winery, La Luz Center and Buena Vista Winery, blending the beauty of Sonoma Valley with exquisite chamber music. An intimate Artist Spotlight will also feature VMMF laureate and 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient violinist Rachell Ellen Wong.

The festival starts on Saturday, July 13, with a portrait of José Silvestre de los Dolores White Lafitte, known as José White. Born in Havana, Cuba, White studied at the Paris Conservatory and became the first person of African descent to solo with the New York Philharmonic in 1875. The program, “José White and his Circle,” explores the cultural milieu in which White lived and worked. A virtual pre-concert Blattner Lecture by Cuban-born violinist and White scholar Dr. Yavet Boyadjiev will delve into White’s musical, political and cultural significance.

The following Sunday, July 14, the program “Teresa Carreño: Pianist, Singer, Composer” will celebrate the Venezuelan pianist, composer and opera star known as the “Valkyrie of the piano.” Carreño’s life and influence will be explored through her works and those of her contemporaries.

To mark the festival’s 10th season, a new VMMF podcast offers a behind-the-scenes look at the festival. Hosts and festival directors Tanya Tomkins and Eric Zivian will discuss the upcoming season with musicians, academics and experts, providing a deeper understanding of “Music Across the Americas.”

For complete ticket, performance and location information, visit valleyofthemoonmusicfestival.org.


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