Chamber music ‘reaches across the distance’

Posted on July 12, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Valley of the Moon Music Festival brings the captivating sound of period instruments to the world of Classical and Romantic chamber music for its 2021 season, entitled Love and Longing: Reaching Across the Distance.

The series of nine curated programs, July 17 through August 1, combines online and in-person performances at the Hanna Boys Center Auditorium. Founded by Eric Zivian and Tanya Tomkins (above), who also play fortepiano and cello on the program, the festival is now in its seventh year. 

“The 2021 Festival echoes a major theme of the pandemic period — our collective desire to reconnect and emerge from social isolation,” Tomkins said.  “In this spirit, we have curated a season of incredible music that expresses our universal need for closeness, performed by VMMF artists both near and far, allowing us to celebrate our togetherness despite the distance between us. 

“This year we acknowledge the present by looking to the past,” Zivian adfded. “The expressions of love and longing in Classical and Romantic songs and chamber music are more relevant than ever. Thanks to the passion and perseverance of our patrons and artists, we’re able to connect with audiences through timeless music.”

The founders said each Festival program tells a larger story of separation, longing, and coming together through the music of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Dvořák, and more. “From Clara Schumann to the American composer Harry Burleigh, art songs, inspired by their magnificent poetry, serve as another vehicle for expressing the Festival’s theme.”

Artists will perform all the music on instruments that match the period when the music was composed: gut strings rather than steel strings for the string players, and four different period pianos. 

Complementing the Festival’s main musical programs, the Blattner Lecture Series will feature dynamic speakers who will give historic and social context of the music. Kate van Orden, Dwight P. Robinson Jr. Professor of Music at Harvard University, will host the culminating lecture, “Conversations with Kate.” 

RSVP is required and is now open for all virtual events at 

Virtual concert subscriptions are available for a $35 reservation fee + $135 suggested donation, which includes 8 festival concerts, the free festival preview concert, and the free Love Letter Mini Concert (all virtual).

Single virtual concert reservations are available for a $5 reservation fee + $20 suggestion donation.

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