Lincoln Theater is delighted to present Render Unto Caesar: Music from the Court of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor on January 20, 2019. This chamber music concert features the Napa Valley's own Violet Grgich performing with early music ensemble Les Violettes. In keeping with the period, the audience will be seated on the stage with the musicians for an intimate evening that blends delightful music, delicious hors d'oeuvres and Grgich Hill's world-famous wines.

Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I was a patron of the arts, and was himself a musician. His court employed some of the top musicians in 17th-century Europe. Les Violettes presents a concert of music written under the patronage of Leopold by Antonio Bertali, Giovanni Felice Sances, Giovanni Bononcini, and Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. This performance paints a picture of early music today that touches and engages all the senses to create a unique musical moment not to be missed.

A native of Napa, Violet grew up helping her winemaker father, Miljenko "Mike" Grgich.

Now Violet is taking on the leadership role at the winery, but her passion for early music continues. With a Master of Music (M.M.) degree, she plays harpsichord and specializes in early baroque music. She has even been seen playing the accordion! She and her husband Colin Shipman, a musician and luthier, founded the early music ensemble Les Violettes with fellow musicians Corey Carleton and David Wilson.

Early music is most commonly defined as the Western music composed from the medieval period to the dawn of the Baroque era. With a dizzying array of festivals, institutions and period ensembles, early music is appealing to more people than ever and its revival has become a worldwide movement that fills today's concert halls.

What is the heart and mystery of early music? A certain attitude is integral to this genre. Some might call it letting the music speak for itself. Performers seek to find the sounds that Queen Elizabeth heard, that Bach preferred and that resounded in the Sistine Chapel. These performances evoke the atmosphere of the original. Music written hundreds of years ago can sound as fresh and alive today as when it was first performed, and we can hear its emotional language deep inside.

Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical repertories are being re-discovered, re-interpreted, and "re-performed" with a different, more personal approach. Lutes, recorders, sackbuts, baroque violins, harpsichords, and violas da gamba excite the senses every bit as much as they did centuries ago. A movement that started in powerful opposition to modern conventions has become increasingly mainstream.

The best musicians are able to capture the essence of this genre and start a dialogue between the past and the present. They must also stay true to themselves and offer personal authenticity. Grgich and the other members of Les Violettes embody this spirit.

This concert represents early music at its best, the perpetually new creation of worlds of sound and beauty. It is a rare event not to be missed! The audience will be onstage with the artists, so only 80 seats are available. Reserve your spot now. The performance will take place at Lincoln Theater on Sunday, January 20 at 3pm. For tickets go to or call the box office at 707-944-9900.

Les Violettes features Corey Carleton (soprano), David Wilson (violin), Colin Shipman (viola da gamba), and Violet Grgich (harpsichord). The ensemble has performed at Festival Napa Valley, on Berkeley's Barefoot Chamber Concerts series, on the SFEMS series "Sundays at California Jazz Conservatory," as a Fringe event at numerous Berkeley Early Music Festivals, and many self-presented concerts in Berkeley and at Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford. Although Les Violettes performs a variety of baroque repertoire, its members love the music of Buxtehude.

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