The month of July marks the downbeat of the summer music festival season, with more choices than ever for fans of classical music.
Here are some highlights of the three festivals tuning up this month from Sonoma and Rohnert Park to Mendocino.
Mendocino Music Festival: This two-week festival kicked off July 7 but will run through July 21 in the delightful hamlet of Mendocino. Programs range from opera and big band jazz to chamber music and orchestral concerts, with a smattering of Americana, Cajun and folk music thrown in for fun. Highlights include a Piano Series dedicated to Chopin, and two festival orchestra concerts, July 18 and July 21. mendocinomusic.org.
Valley of the Moon Music Festival: This festival devoted to the chamber music of the Classical and Romantic eras performed on period instruments returns to Sonoma’s Hanna Center for a musical journey to Vienna Sunday, July 15, through July 29.
This year, the festival will expand its scope to include the music of Arnold Schoenberg, who was born in 1874 and led the Second Viennese School with his experiments in tonality. This year’s festival will also inaugurate the Blattner Lecture Series featuring experts in the fields of music and history, who will share insights during pre-concert lectures.
Now in its fourth year, the festival presents concerts on Saturdays and Sundays only with well-known artists drawn from across the globe and young musicians chosen for the prestigious Apprentice Laureate Program.
The festival offers wine tastings from Sonoma wineries after the shows, and for the first time, there will be two estate dinners offered as well on July 21 and 22 at Valley of the Moon Winery at Madrone Estate. Dinner tickets are $65 and must be reserved by July 13.
The festival, founded and directed by pianist Eric Zivian and cellist Tanya Tomkins, takes place at the Hanna Center Auditorium, 17000 Arnold Drive. Tickets are $45 general, $25 under 35. valleyofthemoonmusicfestival.org or 888-595-1027.
PianoSonoma Music Festival: Now in its fifth year, this festival founded by pianists Michael Shinn and Jessica Chow Shinn brings together Artists in Residence (conservatory music majors or recent graduates) with adult musicians to collaborate and perform in private and public concerts from July 22 to Aug. 4 at Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center.
Thee Vino & Vibrato Concert Series, which includes a wine tasting, will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the festival and include the world premiere of a chamber arrangement of “Double Rainbow,” a concerto for two pianos composed by Thomas Cabaniss, on July 26. Tickets are $15 for one concert, $12 for two or more concerts.
A Composer Conversation between SSU Music Department faculty member Brian Wilson and Cabaniss will be held at 3 p.m. July 26 at Room 1028 of the Green Music Center. It is free and open to the public
There will also be public masterclasses on July 25, July 27 and Aug. 1 that are free and open to the public.
For more information or to reserve, go to pianosonoma.org or call the box office at 866-955-6040.
You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 707-521-5287 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @dianepete56.