This special event introduces the theme of our 2019 Festival (July 13-28) - Salonnières: Women of Power and Influence - which celebrates extraordinary women who brought together great performers, composers, and thinkers, and helped launch the careers of composers whose music we still enjoy.
Enjoy delicious wine and refreshments while listening to musicians from Valley of the Moon Music Festival perform Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence. As a very special treat, Lynne Lancaster will read from Pyotr's letters to his patron, Nadezhda von Meck.
Without the support of wealthy, influential, and musically-astute patroness Nadezhda Von Meck (1831-1894) Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky would likely have remained an impoverished professor at the Moscow Conservatory.
Nadezhda not only provided financial support, but also emotional encouragement as a passionate advocate for his music. Her generous monthly stipend allowed him to quit teaching to focus full-time on composing.
For thirteen years they exchanged over 1200 letters, containing expressions of love and a shared understanding of the difficulties inherent in creating great art. Yet, the two never met. After the death of her husband, Nadezhda became something of a recluse, preferring to hear music performed in her own home or at the Russian Musical Society concerts given in Moscow, which she attended incognito, sitting alone in the balcony.
Theirs was a deeply emotional and intellectual friendship—expressed entirely through letters—that sustained them through many difficult times in their lives. Nadezhda’s financial generosity and whole-hearted support of Tchaikovsky’s musical vision resulted in the body of work that is so revered today.
Tchaikovsky wrote the Souvenir de Florence in 1890 in the prime of his career after he was already famous for the Nutcracker Suite. Because of Nadezhda’s estate in Florence he was able to go there often throughout his life.