Festival Napa Valley attracts some of the world’s finest musicians, who serve as faculty and coaches for the Academy. Performing chamber and orchestral music with renowned musicians is a distinctive part of the Academy experience at Festival Napa Valley.
For a list of past performers, click here.
Laura Hamilton is Principal Associate Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where she was the Nathan Milstein Scholarship recipient.
Cordula Merks is the concertmaster of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Previously she held positions as First Assistant concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony, and, before moving to the US in 2011, as concertmaster with Germany's Essen Philharmonic, Bochum Symphony and Bergische Symphony. Cordula also has served as guest concertmaster for many orchestras, including the Houston Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, and Portuguese National Opera, and she performed with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.
Maria Schleuning, violinist, is a member of the Dallas Symphony as well as being both the Artistic Director and a member of the Voices of Change Modern Music Ensemble. An active chamber musician, Ms. Schleuning has performed in s New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, Merkin Hall, among others. She has been on faculty at the Bowdoin, Idyllwild, and Bennington Music Festivals.
Kay Stern is the Concertmaster of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, a position she has held since 1994. She served as assistant to Dorothy DeLay at the Aspen Music Festival, assistant to the Juilliard Quartet at the Juilliard School and held faculty positions at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Music Academy of the West. She has taught and coached at various music festivals around the world and been in residence at Wellesley College and San Diego State University.
Scott Hosfeld, violist, founded Washington State’s Icicle Creek Center for the Arts, training elite-level classical musicians and has served on the faculties of a wide array of college conservatories. Mr. Hosfeld has also lent his craft to hundreds of films, including the highly anticipated 2019 release of “Toy Story 4.”
Dov Scheindlin is a member of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and an associate member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has also been violist of the Arditti, Penderecki and Chester String Quartets. He has appeared as soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Paris Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic.
Wendy Sutter, cellist, has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as The Dallas Symphony, The Seattle Symphony, The Colorado Symphony, The Hong Kong Philharmonic, The Brussels Philharmonic, among many others. The cellist for Bang on a Can “All-Stars” for seven years, she is also an accomplished Contemporary Music performer.
Winona Zelenka is one of Canada’s finest cellists on the scene today. As a soloist, she has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Mississauga Symphony and the Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra among many others. She is a dedicated recitalist and chamber musician, regularly performing in Toronto and Ottawa. A proponent of new music, Ms. Zelenka has performed world premieres written for her by Canadian composers.
Timothy Dilenschneider is the Associate Principal Double Bass of the Houston Symphony. He previously was a member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and performed with the New World Symphony after receiving his degree from the Curtis Institute of Music.
Stephanie Mortimore has held the position of Principal Piccolo with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 2000. She has also frequently performs at the Met in the role of Acting Principal Flute. An active recitalist and soloist, Stephanie has performed with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra and has given recitals in Weill Recital Hall and numerous other venues around the country. She is Adjunct Faculty at the Juilliard School and frequently teaches classes at the Manhattan School of Music and New York University.
Laura Griffiths is Principal Oboe of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and former Principal Oboe of The Cleveland Orchestra and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She is a member of the Stanford Woodwind Quintet and is the oboe teacher at San Francisco State University.
An active soloist and chamber musician, Daniel Gilbert is on the faculty at the University of Michigan as Associate Professor of Clarinet, and has appeared at countless music festivals. He also serves on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University. In addition, Mr. Gilbert is on the faculty of the Colorado College music festival and he holds the position of principal clarinet of the chamber orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland, principal clarinet of the Classical Tahoe festival, principal clarinet of the Napa Music Festival and a clarinetist in Gerard Schwartz’s All Star orchestra.
David Cooper is Principal Horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He previously held positions with the Berlin Philharmonic, Fort Worth Symphony, and Victoria Symphony and performed with various others. Mr. Cooper is also currently the Music Director of Avant Chamber Ballet in Dallas, TX.
A native of Austin, Texas, Billy Hunter is currently Principal Trumpet with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Assistant Principal Trumpet with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. Before this, he was Principal with the New World Symphony and Spoleto Festival Italy orchestras, and has performed as Guest Principal with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony in Germany, Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
Adam Luftman joined the San Francisco Opera Orchestra as Principal Trumpet in 2007. Originally from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, he also holds the position of Principal Trumpet in the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Prior to moving to San Francisco, Mr. Luftman held positions with the Baltimore Symphony, the New World Symphony in Miami and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
David Garcia is Solo Trombonist of the Philharmonia Zürich and has held principal positions with Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Italy, and the Hartford Symphony. As a soloist he has peroformed with the Hartford Symphony, the Zürich Opera Brass and in recitals in Europe, the US and Mexico. He teaches at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste and gives masterclasses in Europe as well as the US and Mexico.
Jason Haaheim was appointed a Principal Timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 2013. Mr. Haaheim is on faculty at the NYU Steinhardt School of Music and the Bard Conservatory of Music, and is the founder of the Northland Timpani Summit. Prior to the Met, Mr. Haaheim was principal timpanist of the Southwest Michigan Symphony and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Karen LeFrak is a composer and philanthropic New Yorker whose works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic principal brass, the percussion departments of the Juilliard School and NYU, and the Shanghai Symphony, as well as for the ABT Studio Company, NY Theatre Ballet, and Youth America Grand Prix.
One of the most promising conducting talents of his generation, German-born Christian Reif is Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. His work in San Francisco follows two years in Miami as a Conducting Fellow with the New World Symphony.
Joel Revzen is an award-winning conductor who leads symphony and opera performances throughout North America and Europe and who recently made his Metropolitan Opera conducting debut, leading performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. He has served as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for Classical Tahoe since its founding in 2012.
Martin West is one of the foremost conductors of ballet today and is the Musical Director and Principal Conductor of San Francisco Ballet. He has worked with many of the top companies in North America and Europe, including New York City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and the Royal Ballet.