Festival Napa Valley Launches Novack Concerts For Kids

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Festival Napa Valley Launches Novack Concerts For Kids

With the receipt of a $1.25 million dollar pledge of support from Deborah and Kenneth Novack, Festival Napa Valley has announced the launch of the year-round Novack Concerts for Kids series.

"With this generous gift, Debby and Ken Novack have given Festival Napa Valley the means to present free concerts for students and children throughout the year, greatly expanding the reach of our Arts for All mission," said Festival Napa Valley President & CEO Rick Walker.

The first Novack Concert for Kids features noted classical musicians Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason performing along with their five talented siblings, ranging in age from 10 to 23 years old. Working in isolation during the COVID-19 quarantine, the Kanneh-Masons recorded their performance from their home in Nottingham, England. The program debuted as a 15 minute concert the week of June 1, 2020, through the closed circuit broadcast system of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital for an audience of hospital patients, parents, nurses, doctors, and staff. Additional showings will be available throughout the summer in Bay Area Boys & Girls Clubs and in schools starting this fall.

"The Festival's commitment to making inspiring musical performances accessible to all did not stop when the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders began," said Festival Napa Valley Director of Education & Engagement Lissa Gibbs. "Knowing that children, nurses, and doctors in the hospital setting would see their concert, the Kanneh-Mason family was overjoyed to share their music and collaborative spirit with audiences outside of the traditional concert hall."

The concert features five classical music compositions performed by members of the Kanneh-Mason family:

  • "Czardas" by Vittorio Monti (1904): Sheku (cello), Mariatu (cello), Jeneba (cello), Aminata (violin), Braimah (violin), Konya (violin), Isata (piano)

  • "First Prelude" by George Gershwin (1926): Isata (piano)

  • "Suite Opus 14 - Movement One" by Béla Bartok (1916): Konya (piano)

  • "The Swan" from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns (1886): Sheku (cello), Jeneba (piano), Isata (piano)

  • "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert (1825), arranged by the Kanneh-Mason Family: Sheku (cello), Mariatu (cello), Jeneba (cello), Aminata (violin), Braimah (violin), Konya (violin), Isata (piano)

Sheku shot to fame as the winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition, the first black musician to win the award since its launch in 1978. He became a household name after performing at Prince Harry's 2018 wedding to Meghan Markle, viewed by a global audience of nearly two billion. Isata has performed throughout the world, with concerto appearances, in solo recitals and in chamber ensembles. The five eldest siblings of the Kanneh-Mason family performed at the 2018 British Academy Film Awards and all seven appeared in the 2019 Royal Variety Show. All attend or have attended London's Royal Academy of Music and its Primary and Junior Academies. They have been the subject of numerous documentaries and profiles in media including CBS Sunday Morning, BBC FOUR's Young, Gifted and Classical, and The New York Times. Sheku records exclusively for Decca Classics. He is an ambassador for the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, London Music Masters, and Future Talent. In the Queen's 2020 New Year's Honours, he was awarded an MBE for his services to music. Sheku and Isata had their Northern California premiere at the Summer 2019 edition of Festival Napa Valley.


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