Music in the Vineyards - Chamber Music Festival - Wine Country, Napa Valley
napa valley
chamber music
festival
august 3 - 26, 2018
kitchens
in the vineyards
tables
in the vineyards
string quartet
apprenticeship
program

Artists

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Check out our artists for the 2018 season!

2018 Festival

ENSEMBLE: Escher String Quartet

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Adam Barnett-Hart, Violin | Aaron Boyd, Violin | Pierre Lapointe, Viola | Brook Speltz, Cello

The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty. Within months of its inception in 2005 the ensemble came to the attention of key musical figures worldwide. Championed by the Emerson Quartet, the Escher was invited by both Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be Quartet-in-Residence at each artist’s summer festival. The quartet has performed at the BBC Proms and is a regular guest at The Wigmore Hall. In its hometown of New York City, the ensemble serves as artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In 2013 the quartet became one of the very few ensembles to be awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. In 2015 the quartet released Volume 1 of the complete Mendelssohn Quartets on the BIS label, received warmly by critics with comments such as “This is a full-blooded quartet playing in the grand, classic manner: extrovert and eloquent… hugely engaging music-making” (BBC Music Magazine) The Escher Quartet takes its name from Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher’s method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole.

ENSEMBLE: Pacifica Quartet

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Simin Ganatra, Violin  |  Austin Hartman, Violin  |  Guy Ben-Ziony, Viola  |  Brandon Vamos, Cello

Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often-daring repertory choices, over the past two decades the Pacifica Quartet has gained international stature as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. The Pacifica tours extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia, performing regularly in the world’s major concert halls. Named the quartet-in-residence at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music in March 2012, the Pacifica was also the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009 – 2012) – a position that has otherwise been held only by the Guarneri String Quartet – and received the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance.

 Formed in 1994, the Pacifica Quartet quickly won chamber music’s top competitions, including the 1998 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In 2002 the ensemble was honored with Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award and the appointment to Lincoln Center’s CMS Two, and in 2006 was awarded a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, becoming only the second chamber ensemble so honored in the Grant’s long history. Also in 2006 the Quartet was featured on the cover of Gramophone and heralded as one of “five new quartets you should know about,” the only American quartet to make the list. And in 2009, the Quartet was named “Ensemble of the Year” by Musical America.

The members of the Pacifica Quartet live in Bloomington, IN, where they serve as quartet-in-residence and full-time faculty members at the Jacobs School of Music. Prior to their appointment, the Quartet was on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana from 2003 to 2012. The Pacifica Quartet also serves as resident performing artist at the University of Chicago.

The Pacifica Quartet is endorsed by D'Addario and proudly uses their strings.

For more information on the Quartet, please visit pacificaquartet.com.

Daria Adams

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Instrument: Violin

Artistic Directors Chair Sponsored by Susanna and Michael Steinberg

Education: New England Conservatory of Music; State University of New York /Stonybrook

Violinist Daria Adams, the founding Artistic Director of Music in the Vineyards along with her husband Michael, is a member of the world-renowned St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) where she is featured frequently in solo and chamber music performances. An ardent Baroque music lover, Daria is a founding member of the Blue Baroque Band (BBB) made up of colleagues from the SPCO. The BBB was a featured ensemble-in-residence at MITV in 2006 and 2009. Other festival appearances include Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Banff, Newport and Cactus Pear Festivals. Daria spent four years playing in the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, where she took an interest in another musician lurking suspiciously in the back of the pit, one Michael Adams. His interest was mutual. She now lives in suburban Minneapolis with her husband, and three children (24, 22 and 20).

Michael Adams

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Instrument: Viola

Artistic Directors Chair Sponsored by Susanna and Michael Steinberg

Education: The Eastman School of Music; Mannes College of Music

Once upon a time, Violist Michael Adams dreamed of making a living playing in a string quartet, long before  other opportunities allowed him to carve out a unique career path: as an orchestral player, a radio host, a chamber musician, a writer on music, host of the Minnesota Orchestra’s ‘Adventures in Music’ family concerts, and, along with his violinist/wife Daria, the founding Artistic Director of Music in the Vineyards Festival. As MITV’s concert commentator and emcee, his goal is to make the music sound so interesting with stories, explanations and analysis that people can’t wait to hear it.  Michael joined the viola section of the Minnesota Orchestra in 1988 after a successful stint as a Host/Producer for classical WCAL-FM in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and later for Minnesota Public Radio. He is the father to three children, ages 24, 22 and 20, who can’t understand how anyone would be willing to pay to hear their father speak. Michael is an avid bicyclist who enjoys canoe camping in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness Area, sailing with friends on Lake Superior and planning fantasy vacation trips with his collection of maps.

Michael Brown

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Instrument: Piano

Winner of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Michael Brown has been described by The New York Times as a “young piano visionary” and “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers.” Michael will make debut solo recitals in Berlin, Frankfurt, Antwerp, Zurich, Florence, and New York’s 92nd Street Y. He recently joined the artist roster of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Chamber Music Two” program where he performs with the Society in Alice Tully Hall and on tour. His recent schedule includes a performance with Seattle Symphony, a Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Youth Symphony, recitals at Wigmore Hall, the Louvre, Alice Tully Hall, performances at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Caramoor, Mostly Mozart, and Music@Menlo festivals as well as concerts with his regular collaborators: cellist Nicholas Canellakis and violinist Elena Urioste. Among his recent compositions: a Piano Concerto for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and works for the Look & Listen Festival, Bargemusic, Concert Artists Guild, and Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series. A native New Yorker, He is the First Prize Winner of the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Competition and was recently appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor of Piano at Brooklyn College.

Nicholas Canellakis

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Instrument: Cello

Education: The Curtis Institute of Music, New England Conservatory

Hailed as a “superb young soloist” (The New Yorker), Nicholas Canellakis has become one of the most sought-after and innovative cellists of his generation, captivating audiences throughout the United States and abroad. In The New York Times his playing was praised as “impassioned” and “soulful,” with “the audience seduced by his “rich, alluring tone.” In the spring of 2015, Nicholas made his Carnegie Hall debut, performing Leon Kirchner’s Music for Cello and Orchestra with the American Symphony Orchestra. Nicholas is an artist of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and a member of The Canellakis-Brown Duo, in which he collaborates with the pianist/composer Michael Brown. He has been featured at the festivals of Santa Fe, La Jolla, Music@Menlo, Ravinia, Verbier, Mecklenburg, Moab, Bridgehampton, Sarasota, Aspen and the Bargemusic series in New York City. Nicholas is on the faculty of the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music and is the Co-Artistic Director of the Sedona Winter MusicFest in Arizona.

Francisco Fullana

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Instrument: Violin

Acclaimed for his performances in both Europe and the US, Spanish violinist Francisco Fullana has beend praised by Gustavo Dudamel as a “remarkable talent”. The Boston Globe called him “a very special violinist”. 

Francisco regularly appears with some of the world leading conductors and is currently in his second season as artist-in-residence for the Balearic Islands Symphony Orchestra. This fall, Orchid Classics will release Fullana’s debut recording, which includes Max Richter’s “Four Seasons Recomposed” with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. A passionate chamber musician, Francisco was appointed as the new Principal Violinist of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and is also the Co-Artistic leader of San Antonio's Chamber Music Institute. This season he will perform with the Music from Marlboro tour, as well as the Liquid Music Series, March Foundation of Madrid, the Concordia and Jupiter Chamber Players. 

He currently performs on the 1735 "Mary Portman" ex-Kreisler Guarneri del Gesu violin, kindly on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

Mari Lee

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Instrument: Violin

Praised as “an outstanding musician…with an artful, expressive power” by Zürichsee Zeitung, Mari Lee has performed extensively throughout the UK, Europe, and the United States in such prominent venues as the South Bank Centre, Wigmore Hall, Le Fesitival de Radio France Montpellier, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Harvard Music Association, and Jordan Hall. She has appeared as a soloist with the London Mozart Players and Baden-Baden Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Pavel Baleff.

An avid chamber musician, Mari has been invited to internationally renowned festivals such as Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute, Krzyzowa Music Festival, and the Marlboro Music Festival. Artists she has collaborated with include Kim Kashkashian, Denés Varjon, Nobuko Imai, Bruno Canino, and members of the Cleveland, Guarneri, and Juilliard String Quartets.

Her interest in musical community engagement has led her to participate in numerous outreach programs in the UK, as well as performing in benefit of BBC’s Children in Need, Prince’s Trust, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, and Music for Food in Boston.

Born in Japan in 1990, Mari entered the Yehudi Menuhin School at the age of 11 where she studied with Natasha Boyarsky. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music with honors under the tutelage of Miriam Fried, where she was the recipient of Irene M. Stare Presidential Scholarship. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the Universität der Künste Berlin with Nora Chastain. She is a holder of the DAAD scholarship and is a recipient of Tarisio Trust’s Young Artists Grants.

Mari plays on 1764 Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi kindly provided by Florian Leonhard Fine Violins.

www.marileeviolin.com

Violaine Melançon

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Instrument: Violin

An artist deeply dedicated to the range of violin and chamber music repertoire, violinist Violaine Melançon has served on the violin and chamber music faculties of the Peabody Conservatory (www.peabody.jhu.edu), since 1987.

She has a special affection for the music of today and is a serious interpreter of works of Gyorgy Kurtag, Mauricio Kagel and Zhou Long. The Israeli composer Shulamit Ran wrote a violin concerto for her and she has premiered several works by other leading composers.

She has participated in many summer festivals as violinist, teacher and guest artists. For many years, she has served on the faculty of Yellow Barn (www.yellowbarn.org), an international gathering of artists who meet each summer to explore the vast riches of the chamber music repertoire. Violaine Melançon’s performances can be heard on the Naxos, Artek, CRI, and New World Records labels.

Nokuthula Ngwenyama

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Instrument: Viola

Nokuthula Ngwenyama’s performances as orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician garner great attention.  Gramaphone proclaimed Ms. Ngwenyama as providing “solidly shaped music of bold, mesmerising character,” and the Washington Post described her as playing “with dazzling technique...and deep expressiveness.”

Ms. Ngwenyama came to international prominence when she won the Primrose International Viola Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions at age 17.  Plaudits followed her debut recitals at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.  In 1998, she received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant...more...

Scott Pingel

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Instrument: Bass

Education: University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire; Manhattan School of Music

Featured Appearances: Bellingham; Spoleto; Verbier; Tanglewood; Attergau/Salzburg; Music@Menlo Festivals

Scott Pingel began playing the double bass at age 17 because of a strong interest in jazz, Latin and classical music. In 2004, at age 29, he became principal bass of the San Francisco Symphony. Scott is also an active educator, having taught master classes at the Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, The Colburn School, Manhattan School of Music, Shanghai Conservatory and with the New World Symphony.

Joshua Roman

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Instrument: Cello

Committed to making music accessible to a wider audience, cellist Joshua Roman may be found anywhere from a club to a classroom, performing jazz, rock, or a solo sonata by Bach or Kodály, branding him a 'Classical Rock Star' by the press. Always seeking unique performance opportunities, Joshua was the only guest artist invited to play an unaccompanied solo during the YouTube Symphony Orchestra's 2009 debut concert at Carnegie Hall. Joshua was named Artistic Director of TownMusic in Seattle in 2007, where he creates programs that feature new works and reflect his eclectic musical influences and inspirations.

Axel Strauss

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Instrument: Violin

The first German artist to ever win the international Naumburg Violin Award in New York, Axel Strauss made his American début at the Library of Congress in Washington DC and his New York début at Alice Tully Hall in 1998. Since then he has given recitals in major North American cities, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 2007 he was the violinist in the world première performance and recording of Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby, written for him by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Axel Strauss' discography include the Brahms violin concerto, the three last violin concertos by Kreutzer, the complete Caprices for solo violin by Pierre Rode and the complete works for violin and piano by George Enescu. Axel Strauss has performed as soloist with orchestras in Budapest, Hamburg, New York, Seoul, Shanghai, Bucharest, San Francisco and Cincinnati, among others, and has toured widely throughout the world as a recitalist and chamber musician. He has also served as guest concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Montreal Symphony. In 2012 AxelStrauss was appointed Professor of Violin at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, where he also serves as Chair of the String Area. Prior to that he served as Professor of Violin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Matthew Young

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Instrument: Viola

Matt Young has played chamber music with members of the Cleveland, Juilliard and Takacs quartets, the Florestan Trio, members of the top orchestras of Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Concertgebauw, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. He was a founding member of the Verklärte Quartet, which won grand prize of the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition during his time with that group.

Matt is excited to be part of an artistic “start up” in San Francisco. He is focused on forming new connections with new and old audiences, under served or under connected to art music.