Festival Napa Valley, the annual ten-day celebration of music and performance blended with culinary and wine experiences, pairs the world’s finest classical, jazz, opera, theater and dance artists with Napa Valley’s most iconic settings. This season features the U.S. premiere of Bill Murray, Yan Vogler and friends’ “New Worlds,” and exclusive engagements by the San Francisco Ballet, violist Joshua Bell with the Havana Chamber Orchestra in a special outdoor concert at Far Niente and much more. A portion of proceeds from the festival go to support access to the arts for all, including arts education in our schools.
The blend of culinary and oenophile pursuits are showcased opening weekend: Taste of Napa, on Saturday, July 15 at the Napa Valley Expo is the festival’s signature wine and food event, and this year feature’s 70 wineries, restaurants and artisan food purveyors for guests to sample. Local musicians will take the stage to provide the soundtrack and, for the first time this year, the event boasts a beer garden.
In the days to follow, festival-goers will have the opportunity to take in the "Seasons of Cuba" performance under the stars at Far Niente Winery by violinist Joshua Bell with the Havana Chamber Orchestra and many special guests and be the first in the U.S. to see Bill Murray’s new stage show with cellist Yan Vogler. Other performances of note will include legendary pianist André Watts, the San Francisco Ballet with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra led by Maestro Martin West, and opera stars Angel Blue and Lester Lynch.
The artistic collaboration that resulted in “Seasons of Cuba” at Far Niente began in 2016 when Bell traveled to Havana as part of the U.S. government’s inaugural cultural mission to Cuba under President Obama. The resulting show has only been performed once before, live at New York’s Lincoln Center, and was filmed for a PBS special. The extraordinary musicians coming to Napa from Cuba to play with Bell will also be featured in other festival performances. Notably, piano sensation Aldo Lopéz-Gavilián will play an intimate set at Napa’s new jazz cafe, Blue Note Napa.
Festival Napa Valley strives to bring the transformative power of the arts to all, and their mission is supported by ticket sales, Patron events, donations and the festival’s partners. “Festival Napa Valley has helped put the arts back into our schools and is transforming education in Napa County,” says Barbara Nemko, Superintendent, Napa County Office of Education.
Since 2012, Festival Napa Valley has awarded more than $850,000 in grants to support visual and performing arts education programs in Napa County. It has supplied classroom art materials for 30,000 public school students; instituted an annual bilingual Concert for Kids for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa County; and given more than 100 scholarships to emerging musicians and Napa Valley Youth Symphony students.
In 2015 the festival awarded a $50,000 grant to create Napa County’s first-ever Arts Education Master Plan, a roadmap for a comprehensive curriculum for arts education from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
And, during the annual ten days of Festival Napa Valley, Arts for All will provide local families, seniors, and students with free and affordable access to world-class performances at one of the world’s top music and arts festivals.
Bill Murray (Peggy Sirota)
Joshua Bell (Linda Hsieh)
Far Niente and Children Playing Music (Festival Napa Valley)