The 41st season of the Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series continues at 5 p.m. Feb. 12 with pianist John Churchwell and at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 with violinist Johnny Gandelsman at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church, 2901 Nojoqui Ave., Los Olivos
In a concert inspired by Valentine’s Day, Mr. Churchwell, head of music for the San Francisco Opera and faculty member at the Music Academy of the West, will present “Love Songs and Dances — An Evening of Lieberslieder,” a romantic program of songs and dances featuring two rising stars from the San Francisco Opera — Esther Tonea, soprano, and Victor Cardamone, tenor, with guest pianist Robert Cassidy.
The concert program features Brahms, arias and a duet from the opera, “Roméo et Juliette by Gounod.” The artists will conclude with some of their favorite love songs from different genres.
On Feb. 16, Mr. Gandelsman, a Grammy-award-winning violinist, returns to the Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series with several works from “This is America,” the anthology project he was inspired to create in response to the turbulent period this country has been experiencing since 2020. He commissioned original pieces from 20 American composers focused on the theme: “This is America.”
“Each composition in the anthology reflects on the current state of American society in a personal and intimate way, looking through an unflinching lens at universal topics like separation, loneliness, hope and love,” according to Mr. Gandelsman, who will also perform one or two works by Bach.
“We present this concert series to enrich lives through the exquisite beauty of masterworks performed by brilliant musicians. We invite you to join us for one or all of the upcoming performances,” said Robert Cassidy, SYV Concert Series artistic director, adding that the concerts are non-religious, non-sectarian community arts events.
Mr. Churchwell, who has served as the assistant conductor for the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera, has also worked on more than 125 productions with conductors such as James Levine, Nicola Luisotti, and Sir Charles Mackerras. He also serves as the director of music at the Music Academy of the West Summer Festival.
Mr. Gandelsman is a founding member of the influential Brooklyn Rider Quartet, a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and a soloist. He frequently collaborates with luminaries from many musical genres, including Bela Fleck, Abigail Washington, Anne Sofie von Otter, Rhiannon Giddens, Bono, Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Yo-Yo Ma.
This year, Ms. Tonea and Mr. Cardamone are both Adler Fellows with the San Francisco Opera.
Mr. Cassidy is a respected solo pianist and a collaborator working with renowned artists, including violist Richard O’Neill, cellist Ani Aznavoorian, and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian.
The SYV Concert Series is being offered in-person with limited designated and distanced seating. General admission tickets are $20. Concert admission is free for all students (with a student ID) but must be reserved in advance by going to www.smitv.info/syvconcerts.