Valley of the Moon Music Fest celebrates its tenth anniversary | Bohemian

The Valley of the Moon Music Festival (VMMF) celebrates its 10th anniversary with a season that promises to be as diverse and vibrant as the music it presents.

This groundbreaking season, themed “Music Across the Americas,” highlights the rich diversity of Latin American chamber music of the 19th and 20th centuries. Festival co-directors Tanya Tomkins and Eric Zivian have put together a program that promises the flair and depth for which the Sonoma-based festival has been known over the past 10 years.

This year's festival takes visitors through the intersection of Latin American, North American and European chamber music from 1750 to 1945 and beyond. The program invites audiences to experience well-known repertoire pieces alongside rarely heard gems, creating a unique blend of music from three continents. The VMMF remains dedicated to performing classical and romantic chamber music on period instruments, ensuring an authentic listening experience.

Music in San Jose Park

The festival presents music by composers from across Latin America, including Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Cuba, alongside European works from the same period. Visitors will hear pieces by such luminaries as Cuban virtuoso José White, Venezuelan multi-talent Teresa Carreño, Brazilian favorite Heitor Villa-Lobos, guitarist and composer Sérgio Assad, tango master Astor Piazzola and Mexican composer Manuel Ponce, to name a few.

Likewise, the Blattner Lecture Series returns, offering audiences deeper insights into the season's programming. This year there will also be a new podcast featuring discussions with festival artists and musicologists, offering visitors an additional level of engagement. The lectures, led by Harvard musicologist Dr. Kate van Orden, are designed to illuminate the historical context of the music being performed, enriching the overall concert experience (the lectures are free with the purchase of a concert ticket).

VMMF's popular annual outdoor concerts return to new venues this season. Held at Bartholomew Estate Winery, La Luz Center, and Buena Vista Winery, the concerts combine the beauty of the Sonoma Valley with exquisite chamber music. An intimate Artist Spotlight will also feature VMMF Award winner and 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, violinist Rachell Ellen Wong.

The festival begins on Saturday, July 13, with a portrait of José Silvestre de los Dolores White Lafitte, known as José White. Born in Havana, Cuba, White studied at the Paris Conservatory and, in 1875, became the first person of African descent to perform as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic. The program, “José White and His Circle,” explores the cultural milieu in which White lived and worked. A pre-concert virtual Blattner Lecture by Cuban-born violinist and White expert Dr. Yavet Boyadjiev will explore White's musical, political and cultural significance.

The following Sunday, July 14, the program “Teresa Carreño: Pianist, Singer, Composer” will celebrate the Venezuelan pianist, composer and opera singer known as the “Valkyrie of the piano.” Carreño’s life and influence will be explored through her works and those of her contemporaries.

To mark the festival's 10th season, a new VMMF podcast offers a behind-the-scenes look at the festival. Hosts and festival directors Tanya Tomkins and Eric Zivian will speak with musicians, academics, and experts about the upcoming season, providing a deeper understanding of Music Across the Americas.

For complete ticket, performance and venue information visit