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27th Annual Mendocino Music Festival


Mendocino Music Festival Concert Tent on the Mendocino Headlands

The 27th Annual Mendocino Music Festival will be held this year on July 13-27. This 2013 season looks fabulous. The artists span the range of musical styles that we’ve come to expect from the Mendocino Music Festival, including classical, piano, chamber music, jazz, world, blues, boogie and bluegrass. In addition to the music line-up they will also have assorted benefit events, workshops, emerging artists program and rehearsals that you can also attend.

Allan Pollack who is one of the festival’s co-founder’s  and artistic director and conductor has guided the Mendocino Music Festival since the first note was played in 1987. As a jazz musician he also leads the fabulous Festival Big Band and sometimes takes a solo on saxophone. In addition Allan Pollack is also Music Director and Conductor for Symphony of the Redwoods here on the Mendocino Coast and the Camellia Symphony Orchestra in Sacramento. 

The venues this year in addition to the 16,000 square foot festival tent on the beautiful Mendocino Headlands, they will also be playing at Preston Hall, and the Mendocino Presbyterian Church Sanctuary, plus the Odd Fellows Hall, all in Mendocino and in Fort Bragg at the Evergreen Methodist Church at 360 North Corry Street, Fort Bragg, and the Caspar Community Center in downtown Caspar.


Allan Pollack, Conductor
James D’Leon, piano
Saturday July 13, 8:00 PM
Tent Concert Hall

Verdi: I vespri siciliani: Overture
Prokofiev: Cinderella, Suite No. 1
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

The Festival opens with fiery and lyric themes from Verdi, the jubilant music of Prokofiev, and the romantic favorite, Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto. James D’Leon, who thrilled everyone in last season’s piano series, returns to perform the Rachmaninoff.

Alison Brown Quartet

Sunday July 14, 2:00 PM, Tent Concert Hall

The Alison Brown Quartet is “bluegrass plus.” Their sound has been likened to a combination of bluegrass, country, and jazz. Brown is a banjo virtuoso who has earned a Grammy as well as bluegrass music’s highest accolade for an instrumentalist: the International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year in 1991. She played with Alison Kraus’s Union Station and Michelle Shocked and has been honored for preservation of Irish music.

 An Evening with Jorma Kaukonen

Sunday July 14, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

Jorma Kaukonen will turn the white tent blue with his own interpretations of American roots music, blues, and Americana. A Grammy nominee and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Kaukonen has been the leading practitioner and teacher of fingerstyle guitar, one of the most highly respected interpreters of American roots music, and at the forefront of popular rock-and-roll. He is well known as a founding member of two legendary bands, The Jefferson Airplane and the still-touring Hot Tuna.

James D’Leon

Monday July 15, 3:00 pm, Preston Hall

MendelssohnVariations sérieuses, Op. 54
CoriglianoEtude Fantasy
MompouPájaro Triste
AlbenizCorpus Christi en Sevilla
MontagueSouthern Lament
LisztHungarian Rhapsody No. 2

James D’Leon, featured in the Festival Orchestra performance of Rachmaninoff, returns to the Piano Series with his “Exciting pianism filled with powerful emotion” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

 Festival Chamber Players

Monday July 15, 8:00 pm, Presbyterian Church Sanctuary

 Works from Takemitsu, Barber and Schubert expertly performed in an intimate setting by ensembles drawn from the world-class Festival Orchestra’s principal players.

 Village Chamber Concert

Tuesday July 16, 3:00 pm, Preston Hall

Carolyn Steinbuck, piano
Mindy Rosenfeld, flute
Marcia Sloane, cello

Bach: Orchestral Suite #2 in B minor
Hindemith: Sonata for flute and piano
Harrison: Suite for cello and piano
Haydn: Trio in G Major, Hoboken XV:15 for piano, flute and cello
Kodaly: Epigram #7
Hans-Andre Stamm: Suite for flute, cello and piano

 The House Jacks

Tuesday July 16, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

The House Jacks is “the original rock band without instruments” (SF Chronicle). The band’s pioneering innovations laid the groundwork for the current a cappella renaissance. From Carnegie Hall to the World Expo, from Brazil to Sri Lanka, Rolling Stone to CNN, and in live performance with Ray Charles, James Brown, Train, and LL Cool J, The House Jacks continue to electrify audiences worldwide.

POCO Benefit for MMF

Wednesday July 17, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

POCO is “All Fired Up” with their new album of that name, and plans to rock their trademark blazing instrumentals and soaring harmonies at a fabulous benefit concert made possible by the generosity of an anonymous POCO fan.

For 45 years, POCO has been making the classic country rock sound that they helped found in the late sixties. They have continued creating their trademark harmonies and never stopped touring over the years despite lineup changes that make POCO a storied source for other bands.

Singer-songwriter Rusty Young, member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, is the only original member in the band, and he remains the leader and front man on stage. “History shows that POCO has always had great musicians in the band, and it’s no different today,” says Young. The lineup includes drummer George Lawrence and bassist-songwriter Jack Sundrud, who sometimes takes lead vocals. The band’s newest member, Nashville veteran multi-instrumentalist Michael Webb, who joined the band on vocals, guitars, and mandolin, has added accordion accents and keyboard to the band’s latest mix.

Robert Schwartz

Thursday July 18, 3:00 pm, Preston Hall

Hailed by Hugh Wolff of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as “one of the finest pianists of his generation,” Schwartz has performed extensively in the U.S. and abroad in recent seasons. His playing has been described as “crystal clear and his poetic insights remarkable” (Scranton Times).

BachPartita No. 4 in D Major
DebussyPréludes, Book 1

Jullian Pollack Trio, Hot Club San Francisco

Thursday, July 18, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

From jazz standards to American folk melodies to contemporary indie rock songs to Pollack’s own compositions, the Trio’s aim is music “beautiful, moving, yet modern,” according to Julian Waterfall Pollack (“…emerging, young, and poised…a pianist with an earnest air” – The New York Times). “Old jazz songs, American folk melodies, and rock tunes can create a lot of feeling and vibe with very simple materials. We want to utilize those materials and convey the sentiments of those styles…and then improvise.”

Kim Nalley, vocals

Friday July 19, 3:00 pm, Preston Hall

Kim Nalley, one of the world’s best jazz and blues vocalists, has the sexy aura of a diva from the forties, with a 3 1/2 octave range that can go from operatic to gritty blues on a dime, projection that can whisper a ballad yet can fill a room with no microphone, and the ability to scat blistering solos without ever losing the crowd’s interest or the intense swing.

Opera: II Signor Bruschino

Friday, July 19, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

Expect a Master Class for Opera Lovers with the maestro, soloists and orchestra, followed by a delightful performance of Rossini’s one-act farce, directed by Allan Pollack, whose productions of Cosi Fan Tutti and Marriage of Figaro had audiences howling with laughter.

Thelonious Monk Institute National Performing Arts High School All-Star Jazz Sextet

Saturday July 20, 3:00 pm, Preston Hall

“When you hear how great these young kids play, you know the future of our music is in good hands.” – Thelonius Monk, Jr. (

Miles Berry, 18, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts – tenor saxophone
Joel Ross, 17, Chicago High School for the Arts – vibes
Nick Saia, 17, LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, NYC – guitar
James Francies, 17, High School for the Performing &Visual Arts, Houston – piano
Jose Albizu, 17, New World School of the Arts, Miami – bass
Michael Mitchell, 18, Booker T. Washington High School for the Arts, Dallas – drums

Big Band Night, Kathleen Grace, vocals

Saturday, July 20, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

A smashing evening with the Festival Big Band Orchestra, led by Allan Pollack, who plays a mean saxophone. Vocalist Kathleen Grace was such a hit last year we had to bring her back. One of the most exciting newcomers on the scene today, Grace brings youth and freshness to both jazz and popular standards, with a lithe, shimmering voice that tells a story, drawing the listener in with vocal harmonies, grooves and textures.

Umi no Hi: A Celebration of Japan’s Ocean Day

Sunday July 21

Invocation 2:00 PM Cypress Grove
GONNA, Contemporary Taiko 4:00 PM Tent Concert Hall
Bento Box Supper 6:00 PM Tent Picnic Area
Ocean That Has No East, No West, 8:00 PM Tent Concert Hall
The Life & Legacy of Toru Takemitsu, Susan Waterfall, Narrator, piano
Shin-Ichi Fukuda, guitar
Julian Waterfall Pollack, piano
Tracy Kraus, flute
Eric Kritz, clarinet
Mark Varegge, percussion

Takashi Sugimoto – vocal
Nina Sazevich – taiko
Jiro Hess – shamisen
Karl Young – shakuhachi

GONNA, Contemporary Taiko

Sunday, July 21, 4:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

This exciting contemporary taiko ensemble—celebrating their tenth anniversary by visiting the U.S. for the first time with the help of the Mendocino Sister Cities Association—performs kumi-daiko (multi-drum, multi-players) complemented with the addition of marimbas and western drums.

Ocean That Has No East, No West the life & legacy of Toru Takemitsu

Sunday July 21, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

Susan Waterfall’s multi-media production brings to life the artistic world of Japan’s great composer Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996), a seminal figure in modern composition. Takemitsu’s art suggests a fresh language that fuses Eastern and Western creative sensibilities. Days before his death, Takemitsu described a remarkable dream that he was a whale swimming in an ocean that had no east, no west.

 In addition to writing concert music, Takemitsu was a prolific composer of nearly a hundred film scores for Japan’s greatest directors, including Kurosawa, Teshigahara and Imamura. He wrote arrangements of Beatles songs and is well known among James Joyceans for his musical interpretations of Joyce’s work.

Waterfall’s program will feature guitarist Shin-Ichi Fukuda, a student of Takemitsu’s.

Susan Waterfall, Narrator, piano
Shin-Ichi Fukuda, guitar
Julian Waterfall Pollack, piano
Karl Young, shakuhachi
Tracy Kraus, flute
Eric Kritz, clarinet
Randy Pratt, harp
Mark Veregge, percussion

 Gloria Cheng

Monday July 22, 3:00 pm, Preston Hall

Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng, described by the New York Times as “an invaluable new-music advocate,” is widely hailed as a compelling and eloquent performer of new works. She is often cited for tapping the emotional core of contemporary music, and for exploring significant interconnections between composers.

Calder Quartet with Gloria Cheng

Tuesday, July 23, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

Benjamin Jacobson, violin; Andrew Bulbrook, violin, Jonathan Moerschel, viola; Eric Byers, cello

Called “outstanding” and “superb” by the New York Times, the Calder Quartet defies boundaries through performing a broad range of repertoire at an exceptional level, always striving to channel the true intention of the work’s creator.

Middle east Peace Concert, Dror Sinai Trio, Rhythms of Harmony

Wednesday, July 24, 3:00 pm, Caspar Community Center

“Rhythm is all around us. With rhythm, we shall achieve better communication and understanding among ourselves and all people” — Dror Sinai

Celebrate the cultural constants that unite the Middle East; experience the unique power of music to foster accord and emphasize fundamental human characteristics that we all share.

 Festival Orchestra: East and West

Wednesday July 24, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

Japanese guitar virtuoso Shin-Ichi Fukuda learned the concerto To the Edge of Dream directly from the composer. He will perform this and Rodrigo’s rhythmic and spirited concerto inspired by the famed Gardens of Aranjuez in a program that opens with Sheng’s spell-binding Fanfare from China Dreams and concludes with Debussy’s beloved La Mer.

Jacqueline Schwab

Thursday July 25, 3:00 pm, Preston Hall

Schwab plays “gorgeously spare piano” (The Boston Globe) yet “sounds as if she has an orchestra at her fingertips” (Sing Out). She was chosen by Ken Burns to play for numerous public television documentaries, including the Grammy award-winning Civil War and the Emmy award-winning Baseball.

Cherish The Ladies

Thursday July 25, 8:00 pm. Tent Concert Hall

Cherish the Ladies has become the most successful and sought after Irish-American group in Celtic music. When describing them, the critics say it best. The Boston Globe:“It is simply impossible to imagine an audience that wouldn’t enjoy what they do.  The Washington Post: “An astonishing array of virtuosity“. For the past twenty-five years, Cherish the Ladies have proven themselves worthy of these accolades for their vocal, instrumental, and step dancing talents.

Pedrito Martinez Group

Friday July 26, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

The Pedrito Martinez Group is a small band with a huge sound. It has its roots planted firmly in the Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition and in the bata rhythm and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santeria. With the band’s superb musicianship and incredible instrumental, percussion, and vocal technique, it has taken those traditions into fresh, new directions and has earned a world-wide following.

Festival Orchestra and Chorus

Saturday July 27, 8:00 pm, Tent Concert Hall

Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Bruch: Kol Nidré
Bernstein: Symphony No 1 Jeremiah
Bernstein: Chichester Psalms
Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus
Beethoven: Christ on the Mount of Olives, Hallelujah

The Festival Orchestra, Chorus, and soloists join forces for a powerfully inspirational program of music based on traditional biblical themes. Bruch’s Jewish prayer for cello solo and Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony with soprano soloist set the stage for the dramatic choral works to follow. Bernstein’s stirring Psalms, Mozart’s serene hymn, and the Hallelujah from Beethoven’s oratorio end the Festival on a wave of joyous exaltation.

Click to purchase tickets.

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