2018/2019 Season
Click on the artist's name for website link


November 15, 2018 (Thursday) – Series A

Christopher Maltman, the English baritone, reigns supreme on both the opera stage and in the recital hall. He presently owns the lusty role of Don Giovanni along with several big Verdi parts, which he performs virtually everywhere from Berlin to Beijing. His reputation as a Lieder singer was established early on when he won the Lieder Prize at the Cardiff Singer of the World contest. His annual recitals from London to Tokyo are always highly anticipated. Maltman's beautiful voice embodies the rare combination of virility, intellect, and warmth that has put him at the pinnacle of his art form.

Audrey Saint-Gil, the fiery French pianist, is an opera conductor, solo pianist, vocal accompanist, vocal coach, and the author of several books on French diction. She is currently the assistant conductor to James Conlon and Placido Domingo at the LA Opera. While she was working toward her solo piano degree from the University of Toulouse, she also completed a PhD in Greek philosophy.

Program: Songs by Poulenc, Ravel, Schumann, Wolf; Arias from Mozart, Wagner, Verdi


December 4, 2018 (Tuesday) – Series B

Traversing 20 consecutive seasons in Napa, Garrick Ohlsson has shown us what concert audiences on all continents have been marveling at since 1970, when at 22, he was the first American to win the Chopin competition in Warsaw. Ohlsson's combination of 19th century-style pianistic bravura and 21st century intellect makes this sensitive and powerful artist the choice for a whole variety of conductors as diverse as Yuri Temirkanov, Alan Gilbert, Herbert Blomstedt, and Robert Spano for concerto collaborations. He has over 80 concertos at his command. Throughout his career, Ohlsson has taken on composers with a vengeance. He has recorded all of Chopin, Liszt, and Beethoven, and most of Schubert, but he has also mastered all the music of some obscure and difficult composers like Busoni and Scriabin. This season we benefit from his current absorption in Brahms, whose complete solo works he is playing in New York and San Francisco.

All Brahms program: Eight Pieces, Op. 76; Variations, Op. 21; Ballades, Op. 10; Paganini Variations, Op. 35


January 10, 2019 (Thursday) – Series B

Mark Padmore, tenor, and Paul Lewis, piano, constitute one of today's recital dream-teams. After their searing Napa debut in 2016, we are happy to welcome them back to our stage. These two Englishmen have collaborated for celebrated recordings of the Schubert song cycles, and for recitals of wide-ranging repertory all over the world. Their recital this spring at Tully Hall in New York was celebrated in The New York Times: "Two masters unite in a meeting of musical minds." Padmore is an emotional singer famous for inhabiting the music. No one has ever sung Bach, especially the Passions, with such distinction, the Britten operas with such urgency; and, he has complete authority over the Romantic German Lieder.

Paul Lewis has performed here as solo pianist, chamber music collaborator, and vocal accompanist. He may be the foremost interpreter of Beethoven and Schubert of his generation. Tommasini of The New York Times offers Lewis' complete Beethoven recordings as the greatest cycle from all past masters and current artists. He is a good match for Padmore because he is also a deeply personal artist, who can't help but plumb the depths of the music, which is so essential in the profound repertory they have chosen for their Napa recital.

Program: Brahms song selections, Mahler Rückert Lieder, Schumann Dichterliebe


January 31, 2019 (Thursday) – Series A

The Prazak String Quartet made their Napa debut over 30 years ago on their first American tour in 1988 and have been bringing their unique rich sound back to us ever since. They are the standard-bearers of the rich Czech repertory, and equally at home with the Austrian and German classics. The Chicago Tribune described them as "Definitive-no other word more aptly describes the achievement of this superb foursome...visceral, searingly intense, and ardent."

The Zemlinsky String Quartet, the Prazaks' students 20 years ago, also has a renowned career. Their recent Wigmore concert was praised for its "abiding verve, rigor, and urgency." They join their teachers to form an octet for this national tour. They rarely get to the west coast of America, and we are excited to have them back after their debut here in 2012.

Program: Schulhoff Sextet; Dvořák Sextet, Op. 48; Mendelssohn Octet, Op. 20


February 18, 2019 (Monday) – Series A

Sir András Schiff is one of the giants of his generation, and not just as a pianist, but also as a conductor, festival organizer, lecturer, teacher, and political spokesman. He plays an astonishingly wide-ranging repertory, devoting years at a time to one composer, recently Bach, Schubert, and Beethoven. Whatever the subject at hand, he finds perfection. The San Jose Mercury News described the Schiff phenomenon: "Among current piano titans, András Schiff is the Zen master. He is both utterly relaxed and absolutely awake; taken together, those qualities add up to an unbreakable focus. He is tireless and seemingly infallible, and his playing is window-clear." The Telegraph exclaimed, "Schiff's interpretations were beautifully conceived with the intimacy and insight that spoke of his own feeling for the music."

Program: Bach Capriccio, BWV 92 and Four Duets, BWV 803-805; Bartók Bulgarian Dances, Sz. 107 and Sonata, Sz. 80;
Janáček In the Mists; Schumann Davidsbündertänze, Op. 6


February 26, 2019 (Tuesday) – Series B

Cuarteto Casals from Spain performs in Napa for the first time as they celebrate their 20th anniversary. The quartet formed in Madrid at the Music University in 1997 and they are presently the quartet in residence at the Escola Superior de Musica Catalunya in Barcelona where they live. They are the first Spanish quartet to achieve an international reputation. The New York Times notes: "They have a sonic signature entirely their own," and The Independent of London exclaimed after their recent Wigmore concert: "No other quartet can match this group's four-voiced marriage, with its particular blend of fine-honed precision and passionate expressiveness...all was flawlessly wrought." The two violinists alternate leading the quartet depending on the era of the music. Vera Martinez will lead the Beethoven and Abel Tomŕs the Mozart.

Program: Mozart String Quartet No. 17, K 458; Mendelssohn String Quartet No. 6, Op. 80;
Beethoven String Quartet No. 14, Op. 131


March 7, 2019 (Thursday) – Series A

This year the Pavel Haas Quartet returns for their 4th performance in Napa. This Prague-based ensemble may prove to be the leaders of an amazing new generation of Czech quartets. Known for their "virtuosity and profundity" and their "risk-taking fervency with which they propel you through the masterpieces" (The Times of London), it is no wonder they have won so many awards, have produced so many great recordings, and are so in demand. Part of the explanation for their enormous success is their leader and founder, Veronika Jarůřková, whose energy, and sheer tonal beauty guides the aesthetic of the quartet. Their last performance here included the Shostakovich Quartet No. 2, which was so rapturously received that we were compelled to offer more from this great, Russian composer.

Program: Shostakovich Quartets No. 7 and No. 8; Beethoven String Quartet, Op. 59, No. 3


March 20, 2019 (Wednesday) – Series B

The Fauré Quartett is Europe's leading piano quartet. Shortly after their beginning in Karlsruhe, Germany 23 years ago, they came to prominence when Deutsche Gramophone chose them to record the Mozart piano quartets. They have since gone on to create the definitive recordings of the entire repertory for DG. Their three extraordinary performances here since 2009 have led us to continue inviting them back to explore the rich piano quartet repertory. We rarely have the opportunity to hear these works played with this much polish and virtuosity. We agree with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, "The Fauré Quartett is right up there with the best ensembles you can listen to today."

Program: Schumann Piano Quartet, Op. 47; Fauré Piano Quartet No. 1, Op. 15; Brahms Piano Quartet No. 1, Op. 25


March 28, 2019 (Thursday) – Series A

The Elias Quartet returns after four previous concerts here with our deep admiration for their unique and idiosyncratic approach to quartet playing. The uncanny honesty and profundity of this quartet's performances have drawn uncommonly reverential reviews: "The Beethoven was played so majestically...with such sensitivity and vulnerability. It is hardly ever the case that gratitude is the lasting impression of a concert, but this was one of them," said The Herald, Scotland. The Philadelphia Inquirer noted: "Few quartets at any state of their development have this much personality." The Elias has an exceptionally strong leader in Sara Bitloch; her special expressive gift will be apparent in this profound program.

Program: Bach Art of the Fugue; Britten String Quartet No. 2, Op 36; Beethoven String Quartet No. 13, Op. 130;
Gosse Fuge, Op. 133

LAWRENCE POWER, viola and violin

April 25, 2019 (Thursday) – Series B

Lawrence Power, the English violist, may be the most distinguished violist in history. He has taken the middle-sized instrument from the string quartet to a special place on the concert stage. The Observer noted: "Power plays the viola with a tone as dark as a cello and technique as agile as a violinist's-the ideal combination." Many of today's composers have written pieces for him, and several viola masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries have been brought to life by Power on the concert stage. Power is also at home on the violin, and for this recital, he will play Brahms sonatas for both instruments.

Simon Crawford-Phillips, a frequent piano collaborator with Lawrence Power, has established a wonderfully varied career as soloist, chamber musician, Lieder accompanist, and conductor. A native of England and now living in Sweden, he made his conducting debut with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2013 and is now the conductor of Sweden's Västerĺs Symfonietta. Power and Crawford-Phillips tour internationally and have recorded most of the viola and piano repertory. The Guardian praised the duo: "Both musicians played with profound sensitivity and technical brilliance."

All Brahms program: Sonatas for viola and piano, Op. 120, No. 1 and No. 2; Sonatas for violin and piano No. 1, Op. 78
and No. 3, Op. 108