Music in the Vineyards celebrates 25 years of presenting the summer chamber series in barrel rooms and wine caves throughout the valley.
The 25th anniversary festival runs July 31 to Aug. 25.
“We have been planning for this summer for years—actually holding back programming certain pieces so we could ‘save’ them for this summer when we present 25 of our favorite pieces of chamber music, in honor of our 25th anniversary,” said Michael Adams, whose mother, the late Gail Adams, served as executive director from its founding until her death in 2002.
“We are proud of our commitment to new music and will be presenting 12 pieces by living composers, including two pieces that we commissioned. One will be the world premier by composer TJ Cole for string sextet, performed on our closing night concert on Aug. 25.”
The other is a reprise of a piece Music in the Vineyards (MITV) commissioned in 2002 in honor of Gail Adams. It will be performed by Gail’s granddaughter, soprano Tori Adams, the daughter of Michael and Daria Adams, the Minneapolis-based Artistic directors of Music in the Vineyards.
Their 25th season will feature 25 artist and audience favorites from the chamber music canon including the Dvoák piano quintet, the Schubert Cello and “Trout” quintets, and “generous pours” of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.
“We have assembled some of the finest musicians from across the country to gather for a week at a time to perform together, many for the first time, in one-of-a-kind performances in the most beautiful Napa Valley wineries,” said Michael Adams, who also serves as the concert emcee, providing colorful background on each piece. “Patrons will recognize many returning artists who have played their way into our hearts, as well as some new and exciting ensemble debuts.”
This season’s lineup includes the Dover Quartet, the Tesla Quartet, and the festival’s perennial favorite, the Pacifica Quartet, who are returning for their 14th MITV appearance. Individual artists include Paul Neubauer (viola), Arnaud Sussmann (violin), Francisco Fullana (violin), William Wolfram (piano), Joshua Roman (cello), Elizabeth Koch Tiscione (oboe), Burt Hara (clarinet) and many more.
Artists will settle in the Napa Valley for a week at a time, rehearse and build chemistry for each piece, and perform in winery settings where the dynamics between artists and the engagement of the audience both play a crucial role in the overall performance.
“Each concert is truly one-of-a-kind,” said Executive Director Evie Ayers. “Patrons will never get the chance to hear that specific collaboration, repertoire, and setting ever again. It gives each concert a sense of impermanence, a transitory happening that can only be experienced once.”
The piece commissioned by Music in the Vineyards for its festival finale at Inglenook Winery. is a string sextet by the up-and coming Cole. At age 6, Cole wrote her first composition, a lullaby written for her brother. She has since been commissioned by the Cincinnati and Baltimore Symphonies, and the Louisville Orchestra among others.
“And for the second year, we will have a young, emerging string quartet who may just show up at your child’s summer camp or at your favorite wine bar to delight you with favorite string quartet pieces,” Michael Adams said. “They will also be mixing in with the pros during weeks two and three, creating an even richer mix of once-in-a-lifetime performances.”
This season also marks MITV’s second annual String Quartet Apprenticeship Program — a three-week, full scholarship program for emerging ensembles from across the country. Each year, the selected quartet gets to experience the life of a professional string ensemble, including being mentored by professional musicians and performing in festival concerts. The program not only fosters young talent, but also allows MITV to reach people who do not have regular access to live musical performances.
The program features outreach concerts throughout the month of August including at Boys & Girls Clubs, retirement homes, and free public performances.
“MITV is like our fourth child, one we have seen grow over the years into a well-established adulthood,” said Daria Adams, a violinist for the world-renowned Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and mother of three. “Michael and I are incredibly proud to arrive at our 25th season of concerts and look forward to celebrating with beautiful scenery, delicious wine, and transcendent music.”
A Gala program will take place on Aug. 10 at Charles Krug Winery. On Saturday, Aug. 10, the festival will present Bravissimo! – a 25th anniversary gala at Charles Krug. “The theme is virtuosity and we will perform stunning show-stoppers such as Bottesini’s Grand Duo Concertante for violin and bass and Sarasate’s Gypsy Airs, originally for solo violin but I have arranged it for 10 violins,” said Michael Adams. “There will be some surprise performers and it will be just a ton of fun.”
The night begins with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, followed by a concert in the historic Carriage House. The evening culminates outdoors with dinner on the great lawn, music by The Hot Club of San Francisco, and an auction to benefit the education and community-focused programs of Music in the Vineyards.
“Our festival has evolved to a point where we have established a trust both within the artist industry and amongst our patrons, allowing our artistic directors the creativity and freedom to take exciting risks,” said Ayers, who attributes the festival’s longevity to a variety of factors, including its winery (venue) partners who now view MITV as a permanent part of their support of the arts community in the Napa Valley. “We continue to develop artistically without losing sight of our unique intimacy, and because of this, I look forward to see how we will evolve in another 25 years.”
“Music in the Vineyards’ 25-year-long mission is to bring together outstanding professional musicians of the highest artistic sensibilities who embrace the challenge of taking on one-performance-only collaborations,” said Deborah Tonella, Board President and long-time supporter of Music in the Vineyards. “Crafted from the intensity of week-long rehearsals, each freshly-honed piece offers listeners an up-close opportunity to experience the transformative magic of exquisite chamber music.”