Festival Napa Valley Announces Spring 2021 Novack Concerts for Kids

January 28, 2021

Exploratory Audiovisual Game, Music Workshops, Digital Concerts & More

Napa, CA – January 28, 2021 – Festival Napa Valley is pleased to announce an engaging, diverse lineup for the Spring 2021 Novack Concerts for Kids.

Designed to nurture a lifelong love of music, Novack Concerts for Kids is a free concert series geared toward students, teachers, and families. The Spring 2021 series runs February through May, and includes one-of-a-kind performances in addition to enrichment activities with the performers and composers. Select programs are available in both Spanish and English.

Highlights of the spring series include SOUNDSHAPES, a music-driven interactive video game; Compose Her, a music composition and history workshop with composer (and 2019 Miss America titleholder) Nia Imani Franklin; and bilingual meet-the-artist conversations with members of Mexican roots folk ensemble Los Cenzontles and the dynamic chamber orchestra Sphinx Virtuosi.

“While the excitement and delight of attending a live concert may not be possible at this time, access to original and engaging music programs remains a key part of a well-rounded, quality education,” said Festival Napa Valley Director of Education Lissa Gibbs. “We are so pleased to be able to provide these enriching opportunities to students and educators in our community.”

All programs are available free of charge, thanks to the generous support of Deborah and Kenneth Novack of St. Helena, and are available digitally via Festival Napa Valley’s website. Live meet-the-artist sessions, workshops and panels will take place during a set week each month (see schedule below) and will be hosted via Zoom in collaboration with individual schools and nonprofit organizations.

"We support Festival Napa Valley’s year-round educational programs because we have experienced firsthand the amazing impact world-class musicians and their music have on young people,” said Festival board member and series sponsor  Ken Novack. “Ensuring that children in our community have access to these programs during a year that has brought so many cancellations of co-curricular learning activities is very important to us,” added Deborah Novack.

For information on how to access the following programs, please email

Sphinx Virtuosi

Meet-the-Musicians: week of February 22

Ages 8-13, available in English and Spanish

Meet the instruments and musicians of the Sphinx Virtuosi, one of the nation’s most dynamic professional chamber orchestras. Composed of 18 top Black and Latinx classical soloists, Sphinx is dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

Tabea Debus and SOUNDSHAPES

Meet-the-Makers: week of March 22

All ages

Tabea Debus is an innovative musician who is constantly exploring musical horizons. Her groundbreaking approach to music includes the design and creation of SOUNDSHAPES, an exploratory music-art game co-commissioned by Festival Napa Valley and created in collaboration with visual artist Sophia Debus, computer programmer Alex McCartney, and composer Cydonie Banting. This unique audiovisual game blends contemporary classical music for solo recorder with handcrafted analog artwork. The result is a stimulating, responsive 2D environment containing characters with which individual players can interact. All interactions are audio focused: players create the soundscape in real time as they move through the game. Experience a preview of SOUNDSHAPES here.

Nia Imani Franklin and Compose Her

Composition Workshop: week of April 19

Ages 11-17

Composer and vocalist Nia Imani Franklin leads a weeklong online music theory and composition workshop for aspiring middle and high school composers. The workshop will culminate in a performance of the students’ compositions written during the workshop. Franklin’s curriculum will include the work of important female composers, bringing to attention lesser-known composers in music history. Workshop enrollment is by nomination/application.

Los Cenzontles Trio

Meet-the-Musicians: week of May 3

Ages 12-17, available in English and Spanish

Featuring the Songs of Gratitude virtual performance of “Cuatro Milpas” by Mexican roots folk trio Los Cenzontles of the Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy, this program includes a virtual bilingual meet-and-greet with the musicians discussing the importance of music in cultural heritage.


Blending the beauty and bounty of Napa Valley with the very finest performing arts, Festival Napa Valley offers programs that enrich the economic and cultural vitality of the region and make the arts accessible to all. The Festival presents world-class performances staged in iconic venues and inspiring educational programs offered at Napa County public schools year-round. It is presented by Napa Valley Festival Association, a nonprofit organization governed by a board of prominent vintners and local leaders. More than 200 artists, wineries, resorts, theaters, restaurants, chefs and vintners participate each year. Festival Napa Valley’s 15th Season will take place July 16-25, 2021.