American composer and educator Daniel M. Brewbaker (1951-2017) was one of the most esteemed artists of his generation. His first composition, Psalm 39, premiered in 1970 at the University of Illinois, beginning a body of work that grew to nearly 60 compositions, establishing his place among preeminent contemporary American composers. His music reflected his deeply spiritual and somewhat mystical nature, communicated to the listener with powerful effect.
Brewbaker held a special place at Festival Napa Valley. The world premiere of his composition Sinfonietta per Sofia was conducted by Carlo Ponti at the Festival in 2014, as part of a tribute honoring screen legend Sophia Loren. This year the Festival presents excerpts from his 1995 concerto for cello entitled La Serenissima with Sophia Bacelar and Festival Orchestra Napa, conducted once again by Ponti, and his vibrant orchestral work Blue Fire, conducted by Michelle Di Russo.
In tribute to Brewbaker, Festival Napa Valley is honored to announce its newest award, the Maria Manetti Shrem Daniel Brewbaker Composer Prize, awarded annually to a composer whose works will be performed as part of the summer season. The Prize is made possible by the generous support from Maria Manetti Shrem.
The 2022 Prize was awarded posthumously to Daniel Brewbaker.