pianoSonoma returns to the campus of Sonoma State University, bringing together artists-in-residence with adult musicians for two week-long sessions of coaching and performing. Michael Shinn, who with his wife Jessica Chow Shinn founded the festival, says there are masterclasses, four concerts by the artists-in-residence with wine tasting before, and two new pre-concert talks called ‘Artist Exchanges’.

There’s more information about the festival at the pianoSonoma website.

“We sort of take over the facility for 2 weeks,” Michael Shinn says, “and use it for workshops during the day for our adult participants, as they collaborate with our incredible artists-in-residence, who are sort of young superstars, just starting up their major international careers.” Two of those artists-in-residence, pianist Peter Dugan and flute virtuoso Emi Ferguson, will be giving the inaugural Artist Exchanges presentations before the Thursday concerts. Those concerts will be the public performances that showcase the young mentors. There will also be masterclasses with the participants on Wednesday afternoons. “The audience can really learn what that process of artistic creation is really all about. And I guess that’s sort of at the core of what pianoSonoma is… It’s welcoming the public into that artistic creative process. Pulling the veil back, so that they can see what goes into our art form.” A big part of the experience for the participants is actually already accomplished before their arrival – learning the music that they’ll be working on in Rohnert Park. “They know what they’re going to be playing by the end of February, and that gives them several months to prepare that repertoire. So that when they come to the festival, the expectation is that they have learned that music entirely, and they can really delve deep into the artistic process with the artists in residence in what we call these guided rehearsals.”