When Festival Napa Valley, California Wine Country’s flagship music festival, made the decision to postpone its 15th Anniversary Season to 2021, its artists refused to be silenced. Led by two alumni of the Festival’s Blackburn Music Academy – conductor Zach Salsburg-Frank and violinist Sienna Peck – 126 past and present Festival Napa Valley musicians joined forces to create an extraordinary virtual performance of the famous “Va, pensiero” chorus from the opera Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi.
“Although we will not have a summer season this year, our pioneering spirit is alive and well and we are creating innovative ways to continue to bring music to our audiences,” said Richard Walker, President & CEO of Festival Napa Valley.
The innovations include the Festival Napa Valley Remote Ensemble, made up of: instrumentalists and singers from 26 states, 8 countries, and 5 continents representing two dozen orchestras, ensembles, opera companies and music conservatories such as the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, Juilliard School, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, and many more.
“Va, pensiero was a perfect choice of music, a moving hymn that has served as a rallying song of hope and resilience for people around the world,” said Charles Letourneau, the Festival’s Vice President and Director of Artistic Planning.
Each musician recorded their part on a smartphone while following the virtual conductor. The group was synchronized into one glorious collective performance. It was dedicated to the essential workers whose heroic efforts safeguard the health and safety of our communities.
Added Letourneau: “Our technical engineer Wei Wang created a visually and musically stunning virtual performance that proves digital art can be as moving as a live performance in these extraordinary times”.
Festival Napa Valley’s 15th Anniversary Season will take place July 16-25, 2021.