VALLEY OF THE MOON Music Festival Announces 2020 Season

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VALLEY OF THE MOON Music Festival Announces 2020 Season

Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VMMF) today announced the program for its sixth season, The Obsession: Beethoven's Influence 1770 - 2020. In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, VMMF returns to the Hanna Center in Sonoma for three consecutive weekends, July 18 - August 2, with eight concerts featuring world-class musicians performing on historic instruments. Audiences will experience Beethoven's chamber music alongside works that inspired him and works that grapple with his legacy - evincing a mix of awe, anxiety and aversion.

In anticipation of their summer season, VMMF will perform an all-Beethoven concert at the Green Music Center's Schroeder Hall in Rohnert Park, Sunday, April 26 at 3 p.m. London-based musicians Eric Hoeprich (clarinet) and Catherine Manson (violin) will join VMMF Co-Founders and Directors Tanya Tomkins (cello) and Eric Zivian (fortepiano) in a program featuring the composer's Piano Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 27, no. 1; Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, no. 3; Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, Op. 30, no. 1; and Clarinet Trio in B-flat major, op. 11.

And on Saturday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m., Tomkins and VMMF Artist Liana Bérubé (violin) will be guest soloists at the Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra's season finale at the Green Music Center's Weill Hall. The program includes Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Brahms' Double Concerto for Violin and Cello. Alexander Kahn conducts. Tickets start at $30 for Green Music Center concerts. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

"In our celebration of Beethoven's 250th anniversary, Beethoven is just the jumping-off point," said Zivian. "In choosing music for the festival, we're emphasizing the idea of influence - tracing a path from the composers who most influenced Beethoven, through his own startlingly varied output, and on to the distant future. His influence on other composers was immense, whether they idolized him, responded with ambivalence or even hostility."

"In exploring composers' reactions to Beethoven's genius, our program ranges from works by Schubert and Schumann through John Cage - in a concert titled 'Beethoven was Wrong!'" added Tomkins. "Of course, there will also be a generous serving of Beethoven's music throughout."

The summer season opens at the Hanna Center on Saturday, July 18 with a concert of works including Beethoven's song cycle, An die Ferne Geliebte, performed by tenor Kyle Stegall and Zivian; Schumann's Fantasy, Op. 17; and Dvořák's Piano Quintet. In addition to Stegall and Zivian, the featured musicians include violinists Francisco Fullana and TANK Trust Laureate Rachell Wong, Bérubé and Tomkins. As one of VMMF's educational initiatives, the TANK Trust Laureate program invites apprentices from earlier seasons back to the Festival.

The following day, Sunday, July 19, VMMF will showcase works from C. P. E. Bach to Mozart to Stravinsky, alongside Beethoven's String Quintet Op. 29 ("Storm") and selected songs. Pianist and TANK Trust Laureate David Belkovski and violist Phyllis Kamrin join the musicians from the Festival's first day.

On the following weekend, violinist Rachel Barton Pine returns for her second season with VMMF, with concerts on July 25 and 26. Saturday's program features Pine in Brahms' Sonata for Violin and Piano in D minor, Op. 108, as well as Boston-based contralto Emily Marvosh in lieder by Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms, exploring the centrality of Goethe to the art song of Beethoven and the Romantics. One additional highlight will be a Haydn Trio performed by violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock with Tomkins plus pianist and TANK Trust Laureate Christian De Luca.

On Sunday's concert, Pine joins Tomkins and Zivian in a performance of Maurice Ravel's Piano Trio.

Other works on the program include Weber's Piano Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 8 and John Cage's Melodies for Violin and Keyboard. "These pieces embody conscious resistance to Beethoven's legacy," noted Tomkins.

The Festival culminates with four concerts on the final weekend, August 1 - 2. Apprentices, who will be formally announced in the spring, will perform a free concert on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. At 4 p.m., VMMF musicians reassemble for a program exploring the symbiotic relationship between literature and music, as revealed in Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata, which inspired Tolstoy's novella of the same name, and Janáček's string quartet "Kreutzer Sonata," inspired by Tolstoy's story. This program features violinists Cynthia Freivogel and Monica Huggett, who will perform in Clara Schumann's Piano Trio.

At 11 a.m. on Sunday, August 2, VMMF presents Beethoven's iconic Archduke Trio alongside works by his younger contemporaries, including Czerny's Funeral March and a Schubert Sonatina for Violin and Piano. The Festival closes on a heroic note at 4 p.m. that day with a performance of the groundbreaking first movement of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, transcribed for piano quartet by Ferdinand Ries. Additional works include Berlioz' Harold in Italy, first movement, transcribed for viola and piano by Franz Liszt, and Brahms' String Quintet in G major, Op. 111.

Kate van Orden, Harvard University's Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of Music, will lead VMMF's third annual Blattner Lecture Series, endowed by a gift from Kimberly and Simon Blattner. Through this Series, the Festival will present several pre-concert lectures by experts in music and the arts, providing greater context to each program. Speakers will include Nicholas Mathew, author of Political Beethoven and associate professor in the Department of Music at UC Berkeley, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Artistic Director Nicholas McGegan.

Concerts at the Hanna Center in Sonoma take place at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Additional concerts will take place at 2:30 p.m. on August 1 and at 11 a.m. on August 2. Tickets, $45 for single concerts with discounts available, will go on sale in the spring. For more information visit

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