Pianist John Churchwell, violinist Johnny Gandelsman to play in Los Olivos

Staff Report

The 41st season of the Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series continues with pianist John Churchwell on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 5 p.m., and violinist Johnny Gandelsman on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. Both concerts will be held at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church in Los Olivos.

In a concert inspired by Valentine’s Day, Churchwell, who is 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 — and 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.

Four days later, the Grammy Award-winning Gandelsman returns to the Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series with several works from “This is America,” the ambitious anthology project he was inspired to create in response to the turbulent period our 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,” Gandelsman said.

He 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,” said Cassidy, the SYV Concert Series artistic director.  “We invite you to join us for one or all of the upcoming performances.”

These concerts are non-religious, non-sectarian community arts events.

The SYV Concert Series is being offered in-person with limited designated and distanced seating. Taking the proper precautions will allow all those attending to do so safely.

  • Please go to https://smitv.info/syvconcerts to purchase tickets in advance to avoid overcrowding. Limited numbers of tickets for the live performances are available. General admission tickets are $20. Concert admission is free for ALL students (with a student ID) but must be reserved in advance. Doors open 30 minutes before the start. Both concerts will be professionally video recorded for future viewing.
  • If you are feeling unwell with any symptoms of disease, whether COVID-19, flu, or a cold, or if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home, take good care of yourself, and enjoy the video-recorded concerts in the future on our website.
  • All doors and windows of the venue will be open, so the indoor space is almost like an outdoor space. Audience members are advised to bundle up, wear a warm hat, and bring a blanket.
  • Please wear a mask.
  • Please be as fully vaccinated as you can be.
  • If you have the option of testing, you will have a better sense of whether or not you are contagious. Please do so for everyone’s safety.
  • Consider your own level of risk and choose to participate based on your comfort level.

St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church is at 2901 Nojoqui Avenue in Los Olivos (next to Mattie’s Tavern, one block from the downtown flagpole). For questions, please contact SYV Concert Series Coordinator Linda Burrows at 805-705-0938 or syvconcerts@smitv.org or visit www.smitv.org.