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Mendocino Music Festival 2016 is All About Beethoven

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This year’s Mendocino Music Festival is dedicated to a musical revolutionary. He studied under Haydn, introduced choral movements to symphonies, and possessed phenomenal improvisation skills – composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

The Festival Orchestra’s first performance will be on Sunday, July 10, and it will set the stage for the Beethoven festivities.  Pianist Stephen Prutsman will join the Orchestra for Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, followed by Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

During the week of July 17, MMF co-founder Susan Waterfall will be hosting a five-part Beethoven lecture series, dedicating each day to a significant phase in the composer’s life.

Spectators are encouraged to attend open rehearsals for the Festival Orchestra, Big Band, and opera. This year, the festival will be presenting Abduction from the Seraglio, Mozart’s first operatic production, featuring Turkish instrumental effects.

Click here for ticket information and to view the entire 2016 Festival schedule.

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Symphony of the Redwoods Will Conclude Season with International Steinway Artist as Featured Soloist


Symphony of the Redwoods will present their season finale concerts on Saturday, April 9 at 8pm and Sunday, April 10 at 2pm in Cotton Auditorium in Fort Bragg. The program will include Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture, Haydn’s Symphony #103 in E Flat Major (the “Drum Roll” Symphony), and Brahms’ Piano Concerto #1 in D Minor, with pianist Natsuki Fukasawa as the featured soloist.

“It is a dream come true to perform this piece,” said Fukasawa. “I am making a big check mark on my bucket list.” Fukasawa became fluent in piano rudiments before she was able to read or write, thanks to her mother as her first instructor. “I believe my job as a performing artist is to bring life to the amazing music written on paper, so the audience can also fall in love with the piece,” she explained. “Music comes to life in live performances, and it is the best way to communicate this art form.”

Fukasawa is recognized as an International Steinway Artist, and has taught at California State University Sacramento, Saint Mary’s College of Moraga, and the University of the Pacific. She is currently in Hong Kong serving as an adjudicator for a music festival. “I have heard about 16,000 students in the past two weeks,” she said, “so on the weekends, I escape to go hiking.”

Winners of the Symphony’s “12 for 12” raffle will be announced at the season closing concert on Sunday, April 10. The first place winner will receive dinner for two at 12 local restaurants, and second place will be rewarded a three night stay at Point Cabrillo Light Station in Mendocino. Raffle tickets priced at $100 are still available. Contact symphony@mcn.org for more details.

See the Symphony of the Redwoods and Natsuki Fukasawa on Saturday, April 9 at 8pm, and Sunday, April 10 at 2pm. All concerts will be at Cotton Auditorium, 500 N. Harold Street, Fort Bragg. Tickets are $20, and attendees 18 and under are always free. For more information, please visit symphonyoftheredwoods.org and natsukifukasawa.com.

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“12 for 12” Raffle – Featured Restaurants and How to Buy Tickets


Support the Symphony of the Redwoods and enter to win dinner at 12 local restaurants for only $100! Other prizes include a three-night stay in a cottage at Point Cabrillo Light Station, and gifts from North Coast Brewing, Little River Inn, MacCallum House, Taka’s Grill, and the Westport Hotel. Winners will be announced at our Spring Concert on Sunday, April 10. Only 100 tickets will be sold!

Contact our Executive Director, Alex, at symphony@mcn.org or 707-964-0898 for more information and to purchase your raffle tickets.

Here is a taste of some of the locations featured in our ’12 for 12′ raffle.

955 Ukiah St.



This family-owned location in Mendocino highlights regional organic farmers and values sustainable practices in their kitchen. The French/American menu includes weekly seafood selections and Grandma’s Secret Bread Pudding.


Albion River Inn

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With its breathtaking coastal views, the Albion River Inn has become a sought-after wedding venue. The restaurant has been awarded Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence 19 years in a row, thanks to its selection of over 500 wines and 130 single malts.


Cucina Verona

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Their menu offers “Northern Italian cuisine with North American flair.” Enjoy made-to-order frittatas for brunch, and homemade ravioli and cioppino for dinner. Most nights feature live instrumental music.



Django’s Rough Bar Cafe

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Former chef of Sharon’s, Odile Perkins, brings a “true locavore experience” with local wine and beer pairings, and live entertainment on weekends. Grab a table on Django’s outdoor patio to catch the Noyo Harbor action.


Mendocino Hotel

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At the historic Mendocino Hotel, you can choose from three distinct dining options. The Garden Room provides a casual breakfast and brunch atmosphere. The Lobby Bar includes a bistro menu, local wine and beer on tap, and a display of antiques and art. The hotel’s Victorian Dining Room promises an “intimate and elegant dinner.”


Point Noyo

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One Trip Advisor review states Point Noyo is “…just what Fort Bragg needs.” Savor clam chowder, local wines, and the perfect sunset view.

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Researchers Test Animal Reactions to Classical and ‘Species-Specific’ Music


Every mammal, including humans, processes music differently. Each species typically gravitates towards music that falls within their vocal range and prefers tempos that mimic their natural heartbeat.



David Teie, cellist for the National Symphony Orchestra, has been experimenting with ‘animal-specific’ music since 2009. He began his animal studies with tamarins, monkeys that communicate three octaves higher than humans and heart rates twice as fast. This research collaboration with Charles Snowdon, an animal psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, involved creating two compositions. Both incorporated tones imitating an excited monkey, but one had an upbeat tempo and the other had a slow tempo. When exposed to the fast version, the tamarins became agitated and active, while the mellow tune made them calm and social. (Source



After his research with tamarins, David Teie moved on to compose music for cats. The pieces, written specifically for domestic felines, simulate a cat’s resting heart rate, while incorporating familiar vocal tones.

Further research by University of Wisconsin looked for the differences when cats were exposed to human music versus cat music. The results showed six out of 10 cats prefer ‘animal-specific’ music.

Last year, his Kickstarter to create a cat album generated over 10 times its original goal of $20,000. The final result was tested at Washington DC’s Crumbs and Whiskers cat cafe. Watch Teie’s BBC interview here.

In the future, Teie hopes to develop music to help rehabilitate abused and abandoned dogs, and music for whales living in captivity. (Source



Composing music specifically for dogs can be a challenge because of the variety of vocal tones and heart rate, based on the breed. In fact, some dogs can respond well to human music.

Dr. Deborah Wells of Queen’s University in Belfast proved dogs can distinguish human music of different genres, and behave differently depending on what is playing. Similar to the primates in Teie and Snowdon’s research, the dogs were more relaxed when listening to classical and more agitated with heavy metal. (Source



Dr. Wells extended her research to elephants at the Belfast zoo. These large animals do not cope well once in captivity because of their instinct to roam. Dr. Wells’ classical music experiment was comprised of three five-day periods: five days without music, five with music, and five more days without. The elephant’s exposure to classical music reduced their abnormal, self-harming behaviors, while keeping normal habits like eating intact. Read more about Dr. Wells’ research here. 

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The Future of Instrument Manufacturing

French engineer and professional violinist Laurent Bernadac poses with his 3D printed violin in Paris

French engineer and professional violinist Laurent Bernadac poses with the “3Dvarius”, a 3D printed violin made of transparent resin in Paris, September 11, 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

To commemorate the revival of The X-Files, violinist Laurnet Bernadac arranged a haunting cover of composer Mark Snow’s iconic theme. His instrument might look like extraterrestrial technology, but in reality it is Bernadac’s own creation – the 3Dvarius

Bernadac, an Engineering graduate from the National Institute of Applied Sciences of Toulouse and classically trained violinist, wanted to develop a model that honored the tone and characteristics of an authentic Stradivarius. His 3Dvarius was the result. Crafted out of one solid piece, this is the first fully playable electric violin created by 3D printing technology. “I had just one goal: create an instrument in perfect symbiosis with my needs. Something new, with a more natural playing style,” he said in a mic.com article.

Building instruments with 3D printers has become an exponentially growing trend. It allows musicians and inventors to inexpensively produce working instruments, while simultaneously experimenting with cutting-edge design concepts. A February 2011 article from The Economist brought this innovation to the forefront, and inspired other artists like Bernadac to contribute their ideas.

Olaf Diegel is a professor at Lund University in Sweden, an instructor of Product Development in the Design Sciences department (a division of the Engineering faculty). He used The Economist’s article as motivation to expand on his hobby of guitar designing into an international business. Diegel’s Odd Guitars offers several versions of customizable 3D printed bodies for fully functioning guitars that test the limits of the machine. The availability of desktop 3D printers allows creators to be in control of fabrication and assembly of their products. “No matter how complex my idea and, in fact, the more complex it is, the better, 3-D printing can handle it,” said Diegel to mic.com. “It really removes the manufacturing barrier that normally prevents us from realizing our ideas.”

The University of Connecticut also utilizes 3D printing technology for musical purposes, but not to build new designs like Bernadac and Diegel. Robert Howe, a M.D. and Ph.D. candidate in music history and theory at UConn, noticed CT-scans and X-Rays could be used to study musical instruments in the same manner as examining a human body. This allowed Howe and his colleagues at UConn’s Center for Clean Energy Engineering to manufacture replicas and to preserve out-of-date parts for antique instruments, with the objective of providing listeners with a more genuine classical experience. Click here to read more and watch the video below.

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Singer Erin Neff Blends Music and Art to Create Mesmerizing Results

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For this weekend’s concerts, we will be joined by our featured soloist, mezzo-soprano Erin Neff. She has been performed at the Telluride Chamber Music Festival and Jewish Music Festival, sang multiple roles with the San Francisco Opera, and even made her directorial debut at the Mendocino Music Festival. In addition to performing and directing, Neff has also applied her vocal talent towards elaborate art installations. Her works include public and outdoor exhibitions, and often incorporate different languages and vocal techniques. “I focus on a space and then do something unexpected with it,” she explained.

Neff began collaborating with artist Lewis de Soto about 15 years ago. de Soto, a professor of art at San Francisco State University, develops multimedia projects with dynamic elements such as light, sound and sculpture using a range of mediums. Their most recent work, Tahquitz, was inspired by the Cahuilla tribe in Southern California, whose indigenous language already includes multi-pitch patterns, a skill called ‘bird singing’.  The Tahquitz is an ancient creature associated with the origin of the Cahuilla people. “I was responsible for transcribing a recording of a tribe elder reciting the story in his language and in English,” said Neff. “After that, I taught it to myself and set the words to music.” The completed showcase was displayed at UC Riverside’s Culver Center for the Arts where large boulder, constructed in the same manner as a stage prop, hung above visitors in the gallery’s lobby. The heavy presence represented Tahquitz Peak, a sacred location to the Cahuilla. Click here to hear the California Report’s coverage of the exhibit.

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In 2009, Neff and de Soto transformed an emergency exit corridor at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art into an elaborate sound installation titled Klage/Lament. Mounded around the room were four speakers projecting recordings of Neff performing excerpts from Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game at random intervals, which provided a constant shift in ambiance. The Glass Bead Game, Hesse’s final novel, is set in an unknown year in the future where young students learn an intricate game that requires a blend of skills in arts and sciences. The prominent theme from the novel echoed in Klage/Lament is the inevitable factor of change. This piece has additionally been installed at the Beall Center for Art and Technology at UC Irvine. Read more here.

Hear Erin Neff and the Symphony of the Redwoods this weekend, Sat. Feb. 6 at 8pm and Sun. Feb. 7 at 2pm. Both performances at Cotton Auditorium, Fort Bragg. Tickets are $20, guests 18 and under free.

Click here to buy tickets

Click here to RSVP on Facebook 


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Oboist Laura Reynolds Invites Listeners to “Explore Personalities” in Our Next Opus Program


Opus Chamber Music, a program of Symphony of the Redwoods, presents Exploring Personalities with Laura Reynolds on Sunday at 3 pm, Jan 31st in Preston Hall, Mendocino. Reynolds will perform with Beth and Tom Aiken, oboe and harpsichord, and Eva von Bahr, bassoon. The program will include a Vivaldi sonata, two pieces by Alyssa Morris and Madeleine Dring respectively, a trio for oboe, bassoon and piano by Francis Polenc and conclude with Zelenka’s Sonata No. 1 in F for two oboes, bassoon and harpsichord.

Reynolds, who instructs both oboe and English horn at Sonoma State University, performs throughout northern California. She is a member of the wind trio Trois Bois and is a founding member of Citywinds, a San Francisco woodwind quintet dedicated to contemporary repertoire. She is an active member of the Santa Rosa Symphony, California Symphony and Marin Symphony. She is also a reoccurring substitute for the San Francisco Symphony and performs regularly with several other regional groups.

Tickets are available at symphonyoftheredwoods.org, Out of this World in Mendocino, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg and at the door.