For three weeks in August, wineries in Napa Valley have a more musical atmosphere, as chamber ensembles from Music in the Vineyards present performances surrounded by barrels and wine racks. Founder and co-Artistic Director Daria Adams (herself a violinist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra) says this year’s lineup will include three quartets in residence, as well as a piano trio, and an apprentice quartet from Boston.
There’s more information at the Music in the Vineyards website.
“We have four ensembles anchoring each week,” Adams says. We have returning the Escher Quartet and the Pacifica Quartet, both have new members. The Escher has a new second violinist, and the Pacifica has new second violin and viola. So it’s kind of like new ensembles! But then we also have the Miro Quartet, who we were working to get for years, and just trying to work out their schedule and ours, so we’re really excited about that. And then we have a piano trio, the Weiss-Kaplan-Stumpf piano trio, so it’s Yael Weiss, Mark Kaplan, and Peter Stumpf.” There are also a lot of composers (and player/composers) represented this year, including guitarist David Leisner and violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama. “We are really excited this summer because we have 9 living composers that we are performing, four of whom will be there when we perform them.” Maria Schneider, who’s best known for her jazz works will also be there. “We are doing a world premiere arrangement of a piece that… she originally wrote it for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Dawn Upshaw. And it’s been arranged for a chamber ensemble, and we have a young soprano Diana Newman, who’ll be singing it. We won a grammy actually for our recording of her piece with Dawn Upshaw, so as we were working on it, I was chatting with her, and just saying, you know, “This would be great for a chamber ensemble, it could get more performances…” She got so excited!” And they chose Highland Street Quartet, from the New England Conservatory in Boston to be their first-ever apprentice string quartet, with coachings, and performances around Napa during their three-week stay.