Sonoma State University Announces Inaugural Season for Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Lawn and Commons at The Donald & Maureen Green Music Center

March 9, 2012 — Sonoma State University (SSU) today announced inaugural season programming for Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Lawn and Commons in the Donald & Maureen Green Music Center located on the picturesque campus in the heart of California’s Sonoma wine region.
SSU has programmed a season of the highest artistic excellence offering a diverse array of the world’s most distinguished performers from classical music, opera, jazz and world music – the majority of whom make their first appearances in Sonoma County with these performances.

Photo by Philip Glasser

Weill Hall officially opens Saturday, September 29 in a celebratory Opening Night concert featuring piano sensation Lang Lang in recital, followed on Sunday with a Choral Sunrise Concert, a concert with Bruno Ferrandis and the Santa Rosa Symphony, and a special evening performance with Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas.
Respected arts leader Robert Cole led artistic programming, working in close collaboration with Jeff Langley, Artistic Director of the Green Music Center and Director of SSU’s School of Performing Arts.!
The news was announced in Weill Hall by SSU President Ruben Armiñana and Green Music Center Board of Advisors Chairman Sanford I. Weill.

Highlights include acclaimed vocalists Stephanie Blythe, Elīna Garanča, Joyce DiDonato and Barbara Cook; celebrated classical soloists Yo-Yo Ma, Vadim Repin, Wynton Marsalis and Anne-Sophie Mutter; acclaimed early music ensembles Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, Tallis Scholars and Il Complesso Barocco; and Latin jazz greats Chucho Valdés and Buika.

The Santa Rosa Symphony, Resident Orchestra, offers a full season of programming at the Green Music Center including classical subscription series and family concerts.
The San Francisco Symphony will perform four concerts, two with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas.
On-Campus Presents, a student-centered presenting group, will showcase contemporary artists, legends of the recording industry, comedians, a speaker and lecture series, and dance events.
More details will be announced as On-Campus Presents events are confirmed.

The Music Department at Sonoma State University is a year-round resident of the Green Music Center, utilizing the performance spaces as well as the newly-completed Music Education Building, comprised of practice rooms, ensemble spaces and lecture spaces for the students and globally-respected faculty of this robust department.
Dozens of events are coordinated by the music department throughout the year, from student and faculty recitals to master classes, guest performers and educational conferences.
The diverse curriculum of the department is rooted in active community involvement and performance, and each year it awards diplomas to students in the fields of music education, jazz studies, opera and musical theatre, composition and much more.

“Anyone who has ever seen a student excited, energized and made confident through artistic exploration has seen first-hand how exposure to the arts cultivates curiosity, imagination and creative thinking all identified by business leaders and visionary thinkers as critical 21st century skills,” said SSU President Ruben Armiñana. “Here at Sonoma State University, we know that developing a world class performing arts center will help our students explore new realms of possibility and understand the perspectives of others, contributing to the creation of more globally aware, collaborative and responsible future world citizens.”

“Not only will the Center create an innovative learning environment for students with our exciting new partnerships, but it will provide an economic boost to the area and help diversify its tourist base,” said Sandy Weill. “Northern California boasts some of the country’s best food, wine, weather, people and now culture. Today’s announcements further enhance the reputation of San Francisco and the whole North Bay as one of the world’s premier cultural destinations.

Subscription packages go on sale to the general public on March 25, following a two-week advanced ticketing window for Green Music Center capital campaign donors.
For additional information, visit or call 1-866-955-6040.

Photo by Green Music Center

Designed by architect William Rawn, theatre consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander and acoustician Lawrence Kirkegaard, the 1,400 seat Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall is designed to replicate the intimacy and acoustics of both Vienna’s Musikverein and Symphony Hall in Boston.
It is modeled after Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, including a back wall that can be fully opened onto a beautifully landscaped and terraced lawn expanding the reach of the concert hall to an additional 3,000 guests outside.
Weill Commons, an area directly to the east of the main concert hall, will be transformed into an amphitheater with a permanent stage and both fixed and lawn seating.

Grand Opening Weekend Festivities

Heralded as “the hottest artist on the classical music planet” by The New York Times, 29-year-old Chinese pianist Lang Lang will launch the Green Music Center’s Grand Opening Weekend celebrations with a one-night-only recital.
“I think the hall is extraordinary,” said Lang Lang after an early visit to see the venue. “I was very impressed with its acoustics and overall beautiful look.”
A formal Opening Night Dinner follows the concert. (Sept. 29)

The following Sunday morning, Weill Hall hosts a Sunrise Choral Concert with original music composed by Jeff Langley and text by Amanda McTigue featuring Sonoma County-based vocal/choral ensembles, special guest soloists including Ruth Ann Swenson and university musical ensembles and singers. (Sept. 30)

Later on Sunday, the Santa Rosa Symphony takes the stage for the first official concert in its new home.
Led by Music Director Bruno Ferrandis and featuring former music directors Jeffrey Kahane and Corrick Brown for the first time on one program, this celebratory concert includes Ravel’s Boléro, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, Copland’s Canticle of Freedom and a world premiere from Sonoma County composer Nolan Gasser. (Sept.30)

Photo by Randee St. Nicholas

To conclude the Grand Opening Weekend celebration, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas will present a special Sunday evening concert. The New York Times hails the band as “the most popular and accessible bluegrass act in the country.”
Under 40 and with 27 Grammy Awards to her credit (the most of any female performer), Alison Krauss’ career spans a quarter of a century.
Union Station’s five distinct personalities – Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Dan Tyminski, Ron Block and Barry Bales – all have their own busy career’ s but come together to form something truly unique as a band. (Sept. 30)

Both the indoor and outdoor spaces of the Green Music Center will be unveiled during the Grand Opening Weekend, with Weill Hall, Lawn and Commons open for the performances by Lang Lang, the Santa Rosa Symphony and Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas.
Inspired by Seiji Ozawa Hall, the rear wall of Weill Hall opens onto terraced grounds, where picnic tables and lawn seating offer patrons a different perspective of the performance.
Large video screens and audio equipment will broadcast the performances to patrons seated in the Weill Commons, just east of the concert hall.
With beautiful views of the surrounding Sonoma Wine Country, these outdoor spaces offer a Tanglewood-like experience to an additional capacity of 15,000 concertgoers.

Further details on the formal Opening Night Festivities will be announced at a later date.

Concert and Orchestral Classics

Audiences will have a chance to hear many orchestral concerts throughout the season including four concerts with the San Francisco Symphony and a full season of programming from the Santa Rosa Symphony.

Composer John Adams has created a special evening in honor of the Green Music Center’s inaugural season: “An All American Celebration with John Adams, Jeffrey Kahane and ICE.”
The best-known living classical composer, John Adams leads New York’s innovative and fiery International Contemporary Ensemble in a program featuring the composer’s own work in addition to works by Stravinsky, Philip Glass and George Gershwin.
John Adams welcomes beloved local resident and internationally renowned pianist Jeffrey Kahane as pianist for the original 1924 version of Gershwin’s popular Rhapsody in Blue. (Oct.27)

Equally at home at the keyboard or on the podium, critics have called Mr. Kahane “a conductor of uncommon intellect, insight and musical integrity” and a musician with “undeniable charisma.”
In this inaugural year, Maestro Kahane also brings his own Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, hailed as “America’s finest chamber orchestra” by Public Radio International, in a program featuring Ginastera and Mozart. (Apr. 27)

Photo by Michael O' Neill

Perhaps the best-known classical musician in the world, cellist Yo-Yo Ma has recorded more than 75 albums, received more than 15 Grammy Awards and remains one of the best-selling classical recording artists of all time.
Celebrated both as a soloist and chamber musician for his flawless technique and rich tone, his collaborations with artists across diverse genres have served to reinvigorate the world of music.
He performs here with pianist Kathryn Stott, one of Britain’s most versatile and imaginative musicians.
A gifted collaborator, Ms. Stott is in demand for a wide variety of chamber music alliances and also has a busy solo career. (Jan. 26)

Siberian violinist Vadim Repin began playing at the age of five and six months later had his first stage performance.
He went on to win gold medals in all age categories in his first violin competition six years later.
Since then he has toured and performed around the world to astonishing critical acclaim with media commenting not only on his technical virtuosity but on the humanity and depth of his playing.
The Washington Post critic Anne Midgette wrote, “Repin can make the violin sing when he wants to: the final movement of the Debussy unfolded in shining arabesques, colored like chinoiserie. But he doesn’t always want to, nor does he seem to seek technical perfection for its own sake. Instead, he strives for humanity.”
Vadim Repin and his frequent musical collaborator, pianist Itamar Golan, bring a program of sonatas by Janáček, Brahms and Grieg. (Apr. 7)

The musicians of the Modigliani Quartet joined forces in Paris in 2003 and first attracted international attention in 2004 by winning the Frits Philips String Quartet competition in Eindhoven.
More prestigious competitions followed and, since then, the quartet has become one of the most sought after chamber ensembles.
The Modigliani Quartet brings a program of Haydn and Schubert and welcomes 25-year-old pianist Joyce Yang, a rising star hailed as “the most gifted pianist of her generation,” for the Schumann Piano Quintet. (Oct. 28)

Photo by Tina Tahir

“In the galaxy of international violin stars, Anne-Sophie Mutter represents a rare comet. The opportunity to see her play locally is something like a celestial event,” said the Los Angeles Times.
Known as a violinist of extraordinary musical versatility as at home with standard repertoire as with some of the most difficult 20th and 21st century contemporary works, Anne-Sophie Mutter is also recognized for her numerous charity projects and work on behalf of exceptionally talented young musicians.
Together with long-time musical partner, pianist Lambert Orkis, Ms. Mutter presents a program featuring Schoenberg’s Fantasie Op.47, Webern’s Four Pieces, Franck’s Sonata in A Major and André Previn’s Sonata No. 2. (March 2)

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Vocal Arts Series

Aficionados of early music will have plenty to cheer about in the inaugural season at the Green Music Center.
Described by The New York Times as the “rock stars of Renaissance vocal music,” Tallis Scholars are the leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music in the world. The innovative choral ensemble offers a program entitled “Love is Better Than Wine” featuring rarely heard music of Vivanco, Lassus, Part and Praetorius. (Dec. 8)

For more than three decades, San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale has been dedicated to historically informed performance on original instruments, offering performances of masterworks in a style as close as possible to how the original composers would have heard them.
Led by Japanese baroque specialist Masaaki Suzuki, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale perform Handel’s sublime Messiah.
They are joined by four outstanding vocal soloists from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music: soprano Sherezade Panthaki, mezzo-soprano Fabiana Gonzalez, tenor Dann Coakwell and bass-baritone Dashon Burton. (Dec. 9)

Photo by Sheila Rock

“Perhaps the most potent female singer of her generation” according to the New Yorker, renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato performs with Baroque specialist and former UC Berkeley professor Maestro Alan Curtis and the acclaimed Il Complesso Barocco in their only West Coast appearances during this season.
Her program, called “Drama Queens,” features popular opera arias by Handel, Monteverdi, Gluck and Haydn – among others – all of which center around famous historical queens. (Nov. 20)

Canada’s superstar soprano Karina Gauvin has impressed audiences and critics alike with her luscious timbre, profound musicality and wide vocal range.
Toronto’s Globe and Mail calls her “one of the dream sopranos of our time.” Together with pianist Michael McMahon, Ms. Gauvin will perform a French-centered program with works by Debussy, Massenet and Poulenc. (Oct. 13)

Photo by Simon Fowler

Her beautiful voice, musicianship and compelling stage portrayals have established Latvian mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča as one of the world’s most sought after opera superstars.
In demand at the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and The Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Garanča has never performed on the West Coast. According to The New York Times, she sings with “a rich sound, an unerring feel for the nuance and subtext of a phrase, and alluring sensuality.” (Apr. 9)

A guest of nearly every major opera house in the world and a frequent recitalist, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe brings a special program focusing on the music and songs of Kate Smith.
Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year in 2009, Stephanie Blythe is a champion of American song.
Together with pianist Craig Terry, Stephanie Blythe offers us her own unique musical perspective on Smith, America’s “Songbird of the South” whose music helped lift spirits during the Great Depression and World War II. (Nov. 10)

Called “the greatest singer in the world” by the Financial Times, 2011 Kennedy Center Honoree Barbara Cook is the very definition of a legend.
Her silvery soprano and warm presence have made her an audience favorite for more than 50 years, from her days as “Broadway’s ingénue” to the highly respected concert and recording artist.
She returned to the Broadway stage after a 23-year hiatus and was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in the musical Sondheim on Sondheim. (Feb. 16)

Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught, a rising star in the international opera world, garnered excellent notices when she stepped in at the last minute in Bellini’s Capuleti e Montecchi at Munich’s famed Bayerische Staatsoper.
Since then, she has been invited to sing the title roles at the world’s most prestigious opera companies, including the Vienna State Opera and the Glyndebourne Opera Festival.
Together with pianist Marcelo Amara, she brings a unique program juxtaposing Irish songs by Hamilton Harty with well known arias from Handel and Rossini. (Apr. 21)

Jazz and World Music

Jazz and World Music are expertly curated in this first season with four world class offerings.
The New York Times has called Afro Cuban artist Chucho Valdés the “Dean of Latin Jazz” and “one of the world’s great virtuosic pianists.”
A child prodigy in his native Cuba, Chucho Valdés has won two Grammy Awards, received five Grammy nominations and has performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl.
Together with the Afro-Cuban Messengers, the program offers a unique blend of African, South American, Cuban and Spanish musical traditions. (Nov. 11)

Winner of nine Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical records, musician and composer Wynton Marsalis is the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum, from New Orleans and bebop to modern jazz.
Born in Louisiana, he began classical training on trumpet at the age of 12 and entered New York’s famed Juilliard School at 17, never dreaming that one day he would lead jazz programming for all of Lincoln Center.
Led by Marsalis, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra is composed of many of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today.
With a vast repertoire including rare historic compositions, newly commissioned works and jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Theolonius Monk and more, The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra spends most of the year on the road bringing the finest! in jazz music to cities throughout the world. (March 21)

Photo by Clay Patrick McBride

With vocals described as a cross between Tina Turner, Lora Flores and Sarah Vaughan, Buika fuses flamenco of her native Spain with jazz, copla, soul and dance rhythms in a program praised by The Washington Post as a “mesmerizing cross-cultural stew.”
Truly a cross-genre artist, the New York Daily News said “With her singing, Buika traces the line of soul music from Africa, through the shores of the European continent, and then home to America.” (Nov. 15)

Mexican artist Lila Downs bring her soaring voice to a dramatic and highly unique reinvention of traditional Mexican music and original compositions fused with blues, jazz, soul and African roots.
The New York Times said her most recent recording, Pecados y Milagros, boasts a “thrilling, chameleonic voice at its center: one that can go for playfulness, operatic bravura or tearful, heart-on-sleeve melodrama.” (April 18)

About the Donald & Maureen Green Music Center

A focal point for music in the North Bay region and home to the university’s music department, the Green Music Center will welcome local music lovers and visitors from around the world, providing economic and cultural benefits for the entire region.
The architecturally breathtaking centerpiece of the complex, Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, is acoustically magnificent, achieved through the structural use of resplendent wood interiors and 1,400 handcrafted steamed beech seats on the main floor and both balconies of the hall.
Terraced lawns and 100-year-old olive trees grace the outdoor spaces, which offer a serene view of the surrounding vineyards and rolling Sonoma Mountains.

A program of Sonoma State University, the Green Music Center is supported through deep roots in the Northern California philanthropic community.
Beginning with the Green Family’s initial contribution and supported by the Santa Rosa Symphony, the dream behind the world-class performing arts center has attracted support from more than 1,800 contributors.
Joan and Sanford I. Weill’s generous contribution in 2011 enabled the completion of the Hall, Lawn and Commons.
When finally complete, the Green Music Center will also include the 250 seat Schroeder’s Recital Hall, named by Jean Schulz, wife of the late cartoonist Charles Schulz.

Concerts with The San Francisco Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony will visit Green Music Center for four concerts in the inaugural season.
Michael Tilson Thomas leads the symphony in Jörg Widmann’s new piano concerto with Yefim Bronfman and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique in December, and Yuja Wang joins the symphony and Tilson Thomas for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in March.
In January, Charles Dutoit leads the Orchestra with violinist James Ehnes in a program of Lalo, Ravel and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
In May, David Robertson, the symphony and pianist Marc-André Hamelin perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in D for the Left Hand. Ravel’s La Valse and Elliott Carter’s Variations for Orchestra complete the program.

Concerts with The Santa Rosa Symphony

The Santa Rosa Symphony, Resident Orchestra of Weill Hall, marks its transition to the Green Music Center in 2012-13 with a full season of expanded offerings.
Led by Music Director Bruno Ferrandis, the Santa Rosa Symphony begins its residency with an Orchestral Opening Concert on September 30, and continues the year with a seven-concert Classical Series, a new Family Concert Series, an orchestral choral performance and a Roaring Twenties themed evening celebrating their 85th season.

Tickets and other Information

Subscriptions go on sale to the general public March 26, 2012 following a two-week advanced ticketing window for donors to the Green Music Center annual fund, beginning March 12, 2012.
Subscriptions can be purchased by series in discount packages ranging from $68 to $289.
Series subscribers save 15% off single ticket prices and receive advanced ticketing priority for single ticket sales in July.
Patrons may also select a Compose Your Own Season package of four or more events on a single order, receiving 10% off single ticket prices.
Subscription orders may be placed online at or by calling 1-866-955-6040.

Single tickets go on sale in July 2012 and range from $25 to $155.
SSU students receive a 50% discount on all tickets (limit one per student per event) and SSU faculty and staff receive a 20% discount (limit two per employee per event).
For more information, call the Sonoma State University Box Office at 1-866-955-6040, email or visit the website at

For further information, please contact 1-866-955-6040 or email

Donor Credits

The Inaugural Season at the Green Music Center is made possible in part by generous contributions from the Carolyn and Ed Stolman Fund, established in memory of Carolyn Stolman, a pillar of the Sonoma County arts community and longtime supporter of the Green Music Center.

The Green Music Center would also like to thank philanthropists and passionate advocates for vocal music, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, for their generous gift underwriting the eight-concert Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Vocal Arts Series in the inaugural season at The Green Music Center.

Green Music Center- Calendar Editors

September 2012

Lang Lang, piano
Saturday, September 29, 7:00 p.m.
Weill Hall, Lawn, and Commons

Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
Saturday, September 30, 7:30 p.m.
Weill Hall, Lawn, and Commons

October 2012

Karina Gauvin, soprano
Michael McMahon, piano
Saturday, October 13, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

“An All American Celebration” with John Adams & the International Contemporary Ensemble featuring Jeffrey Kahane, piano
Saturday, October 27, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Modigliani Quartet with Joyce Yang, piano
Sunday, October 28, 3:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

November 2012

Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano | We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith
Craig Terry, piano
Saturday, November 10, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers
Sunday, November 11, 7:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Thursday, November 15, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano | Drama Queens
Alan Curtis, conductor | Il Compleso Barocco
Tuesday, November 20, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

December 2012

Tallis Scholars | Love is Better Than Wine
Peter Phillips, Director
Saturday, December 8, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale | Handel’s Messiah
Masaaki Suzuki, conductor | Bruce Lamott, chorale director | Sherezade Panthaki, soprano | Fabiana González, mezzo-soprano | Dann Coakwell, tenor | Dashon Burton, bass-baritone
Sunday, December 9, 3:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

January 2013

Yo-Yo Ma, cello, and Kathryn Stott, piano
Saturday, January 26, 7:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

February 2013

Barbara Cook, soprano
Saturday, February 16, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

March 2013

Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
Lambert Orkis, piano
Saturday, March 2, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Thursday, March 21, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

April 2013

Vadim Repin, violin
Itamar Golan, piano
Sunday, April 7, 3:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Elīna Garanča, mezzo-soprano
Tuesday, April 9, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Lila Downs
Wednesday, April 18, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Tara Erraught, mezzo-soprano
Marcelo Amaral, piano
Sunday, April 21, 3:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Jeffrey Kahane, conductor and piano
Saturday, April 27, 8:00 p.m.
Weill Hall

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