Blackburn Music Academy
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. These are the faculty who have confirmed their participation for 2020.
For a list of past performers, click here.
Laura Hamilton retired in 2019 from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where she was Principal Associate Concertmaster. She teaches violin and orchestral repertoire at New York University.
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, 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. 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.
A member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1988, cellist Emil Miland is an acclaimed soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, he has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Chamber Music America.
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.
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.
Russ deLuna joined the San Francisco Symphony as English horn player in 2007. He currently teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has taught at Emory University and Columbus State University, and has given master classes all over the US.
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, 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.
Mark Almond joined the San Francisco Opera Orchestra as Co-Principal French Horn in 2016. He is active as a soloist and chamber musician and can be heard on numerous movie soundtracks. In addition to playing the horn, Mark is an experienced pulmonologist and general internal medicine physician and has recently been awarded a PhD in immunology and virology from Imperial College, London.
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, Luftman held positions with the Baltimore Symphony, the New World Symphony in Miami and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
James Conlon, one of today’s most versatile and respected conductors, has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire. He has conducted virtually every major American and European symphony orchestra since his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1974. Conlon is Music Director of the Los Angeles Opera (since 2006) and Principal Conductor of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Torino, Italy (since 2016), where he is the first American to hold the position since the orchestra was founded in 1931.
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.
Conductor Ming Luke is rapidly establishing himself as an exciting and versatile conductor to watch. In the past seasons he has worked with ensembles across the US, UK, Russia, France, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, and Austria; and has conducted orchestras such as: Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, Birmingham Royal, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Symphony, New York City Ballet Orchestra, Boston Ballet, l’Orchestre Prométhée (France), Gödöllő Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Opera San José, Nashville Symphony/Ballet, Billings Symphony, Sacramento Opera, Napa Regional Dance Company, Sacramento Philharmonic, Komorni Orchestr Akademie of Prague, the Napa Valley Symphony, and others.
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.