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Music in the Vineyards

Music in the Vineyards is a world-renowned chamber music festival held each August in stunning winery settings in the Napa Valley. The festival showcases distinguished musicians and emerging young talent during its four-week season. With complimentary wine tastings at each intermission and breathtaking views of the Napa valley, this unique combination of wine country ambiance and great musicianship allows audiences to experience chamber music in the small intimate settings it was intended for.

Performance Times

Saturday November 18th, 5:00PM

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California Festival

Artistic Director Daria Adams curates a one-hour program of four pieces by living composers whose works look back in some way, then weaves them together with their historical counterparts. This leads to some fascinating juxtapositions, such as a song by Hildegaard von Binghem from 1100 A.D paired with a work for strings and harpsichord by Michi Wiancko from 2021, and pairings of Elizabethan-era songs by John Dowland, Italian madrigals by Gesualdo, and a Bourrée by J.S. Bach with modern counterparts by Wiancko and Caroline Shaw.


Michi Wiancko

Michi Wiancko

Caroline Shaw

Caroline Shaw

Program Notes

How do we express the core of who we are today through instruments that were made centuries ago? Is there something new to say, or are we just finding new ways to say the same thing?

This program will explore these central questions. By combining historic works with modern instruments and new works with old techniques and ancient instruments, we will attempt to bridge the gaps between the hundreds of years in which the pieces were composed. Each of the new pieces on this program looks back in some way, either through text, instrumentation or musical inspiration.

Michi Wiancko is a violinist and composer who lives in rural Massachusetts. Her home, which she shares with her husband, composer Judd Greenstein, is host to a music festival as well as an artistic retreat. Her piece Are you, you? Is written for the unique instrumentation of string quartet and harpsichord. This combination of instruments would not have been seen during the heyday of either the string quartet, which would have begun with Haydn in the late 18th century, or the harpsichord, which was featured in the 16th and 17th centuries, before the invention of the piano. Her second piece on this program is Blue Bourée for string quartet and bass and takes its inspiration from the "Bourée" movement of Bach’s cello suite in G Major.

Our other featured composer is Caroline Shaw. Caroline Shaw is a musician who moves among roles, genres, and mediums, trying to imagine a world of sound that has never been heard before but has always existed. Her Blueprint for string quartet was inspired by the harmonic ‘blueprint’ of Beethoven’s Op. 18, No. 6 string quartet. Her second piece And, So for string quartet and voice, is a fascinating in its use of text to reach back across the ages. It is a brilliant combination of her own text interwoven with those of Gertrude Stein, Robert Burns and Billy Joel. The idea for the piece was inspired by the balcony scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Chamber music is a conversation without words, a connection without ties. We gather in rooms and reach across the empty space both literally and figuratively and find ourselves experiencing something together. Music is the language we can all speak…every person and every generation.