String Theory Sonoma violin prodigy Nigel Armstrong performs at Schubertiade this weekend in Petaluma.
Franz Schubert (1797–1828) is considered a titan of the Romantic period of classical music. While the Austrian composer died young, he left behind a vast opus, including more than 600 vocal works, seven complete symphonies, several operas and a large body of piano and chamber music.
During his lifetime, Schubert also established a new kind of musical gathering, called a
schubertiade, in which he and his friends would convene at a private residence for daylong musical festivities that were informal and spontaneous. Music, conversation and other merriment, as well as feasts of Viennese delicacies, were a common sight at these Schubertiades, and the tradition continued on after Schubert's death.
In fact, schubertiades are still happening around the world today, celebrating the music of Schubert. In Sonoma County, the Sky Hill Cultural Alliance is bringing the festivities to the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum for the North Bay's first ever schubertiade on Sunday, Jun 16.
"Schubert wrote some of the most beautiful music in the world," says Sky Hill Cultural Alliance founder and director Elizabeth Walter. "Music came out of him like a fountain, his friends would say. He didn't 'compose;' music poured out of him."
The afternoon affair will feature a dozen musicians and vocalists, including local violin prodigy Nigel Armstrong, filling the museum with the romantic-era music. Schubert's beloved "Trout Quintet" will be the centerpiece of the show, but the event will showcase many other small masterpieces as well.
In the schubertiade tradition, complimentary wine and traditional Viennese savories and sweets will be served during breaks in the performances. Walter stresses that the relaxed event is designed so that people can come and go throughout the afternoon.
Sky Hill Cultural Alliance has made the museum its primary venue for concerts and events that aim to introduce classical music to local audiences, especially young people.
"There are scientific studies all over that show that listening to classical music at a young age helps the brain develop," says Walter. "So many kids nowadays don't get a chance to fall in love with classical music. We want to bring music to everybody, especially young people."
Schubertiade happens Sunday, Jun 16, at Petaluma Museum, 20 Fourth St., Petaluma.1pm. $30-$40; students are $10; kids under 10 are free. schubert2019.brownpapertickets.com.