June 23, 2020
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival is up and running online. Streaming, at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, was seen as a way to keep in touch with audiences through short, curated presentations or by making recordings of older concerts available. Now, in the face of an ineffective government response, artists are seizing on technology to create concerts and salvage something from the wreck of what, at this point, looks to be at least a nine-month shutdown.
When the shutdown took out the summer festivals, Valley of the Moon cofounders Tanya Tomkins (cello) and Eric Zivian (fortepiano) committed to paying all the musicians they had contracted with for the July festival 50 percent of their fees, a very generous undertaking from a small festival. But they simultaneously planned a reduced festival, now taking place, that centers around Beethoven and the composer’s 250th birthday year. Now, that festival is set to be streamed, with Zivian and Tomkins joined on some concerts by Audrey Vardanega (fortepiano), Francisco Fullana (violin), Liana Bérubé (viola), and soprano Maya Kherani.
Each Saturday, beginning a week ago on June 13 and continuing through the end of the year, Zivian is recording a Beethoven piano sonata, each sonata introduced by a local expert, such as conductor Nicholas McGegan, or Harvard University scholar and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra bassoonist Kate van Orden. The sonatas are being broadcast locally over KSVY 91.3 FM and Sonoma Valley Television, SVTV 27. The recordings are also available for one week after broadcast on the Valley of the Moon website. The festival is seeking contributions for the performances, part of which will be donated to Valley Vibes Youth Orchestra.
Meanwhile, the scaled-down festival will include chamber works by Beethoven, including the Serenade in D Major, Op. 8, and selected Handel, Mozart, and Rossini, with Maya Kherani (July 19); the String Trio in C Minor, Op. 9, No. 3 (July 25); the composer’s own arrangement of the Symphony No. 2 in D Major for piano trio (July 26); the Violin Sonata in A Minor, Op. 23, and the “Ghost” Piano Trio, Op. 70, No. 1 (Aug. 2); and of course, several of the cello sonatas with Tomkins and Zivian rounding out the festival. Those concerts will be streamed at 4 p.m. PT, on Valley of the Moon’s website.