Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series Continues February 12-16


The 41st season of the Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series continues at 5 p.m. Feb. 12 with pianist John Churchwell and 7 p.m. Feb. 16 with violinist Johnny Gandelsman at St. Mark’s-in-the-Church -Valley, 2901 Nojoqui Ave., Los Oliviers

In a Valentine’s Day-inspired concert, Mr. Churchwell, director of music for the San Francisco Opera and faculty member of 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 of San Francisco opera – Esther Tonea, soprano, and Victor Cardamone, tenor, with guest pianist Robert Cassidy.

On the program of the Brahms concert, arias and a duet from the opera “Romeo and Juliet by Gounod”. The artists will conclude with some of their favorite love songs from different genres.

On February 16, Mr. Gandelsman, a Grammy-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 of this that the country has been experiencing since 2020. He has commissioned original pieces from 20 American composers around the theme: “This is America”.

Tenor Victor Cardamone is part of the February 12 concert.

“Each composition in the anthology reflects the current state of American society in a personal and intimate way, looking through an unwavering lens at universal topics like separation, loneliness, hope, and love,” according to Mr. Gandelsman, who will also perform a Bach work or two.

“We present this concert series to enrich lives through the exquisite beauty of masterpieces performed by brilliant musicians. We invite you to join us for any or all of the upcoming performances,” said Robert Cassidy, Artistic Director of the SYV Concert Series, adding that the concerts are non-religious, non-sectarian community arts events.

Mr. Churchwell, who has served as Deputy Conductor of 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 is also musical director of 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 of 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 of the San Francisco Opera.

Mr Cassidy is a respected solo pianist and collaborator working with renowned artists including violist Richard O’Neill, cellist Ani Aznavoorian and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian.

The SYV Concert Series is offered in-person with limited designated and distant seating. General admission tickets are $20. Entrance to the concert is free for all students (with student card) but must be reserved in advance by going to

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For more information on the Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series, contact Linda Burrows at 805-705-0938, [email protected] or visit


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