They’ve chosen instruments, composers, and countries to focus on before, but for the 16th season of [email protected], co-Artistic Directors Wu Han and David Finckel decided on ‘Creative Capitals‘: seven cities that would be featured in Mainstage concerts celebrating the music and culture that was created there. The festival, which runs through August 4th also has ‘Carte Blanche’ concerts curated by soloists, lectures and masterclasses, plus a new pairing of senior musicians with the rising stars of their International Program.

There’s more information about the festival at the [email protected] website.

“Each city really has its own flavor, and its own sort of destiny,” Wu Han says. The cities that they’re shining the spotlight on in their MainStage concerts are London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Leipzig, Berlin, Budapest, and Vienna. It allows them to cover a wide range of historical eras and movements, each piece keeping a flavor of the local environment where it was born. “As a artistic director, you feel like you’re a curator at a museum. When you put out the exhibition, you want to make sure that that exhibition makes sense. We want to focus on specific cultural capitals, that have made significant influence and impact on the classical music repertory.” That overarching theme is just the beginning, though, forming a framework that the other programming and discussion is built upon. Education has always been an important part of the festival, both for the audience, and the players – the Young Performers are coached in masterclasses, and given the opportunity to perform in the “Prelude” late afternoon concerts; this year, there will be two performances of what they’re calling “Overture” concerts. “We will have senior musicians grouped with the international performers, from age 18-29, and we will present two concerts. I know when I was a young musician, when I played with a senior musician, I learned so much from sitting right next to people, has a tremendous amount of experience, and certainly this sort of a magic happens… Every year to come to Music at Menlo, I know I designed the program, I still feel I learn so so much every year from my colleagues, and from all these great musicians. And also from the young generations.”