Lake Chelan Bach Fest comes to the Lake Chelan Valley every year to treat vacationers and locals with classical, jazz and pops music throughout the valley. The Winery Concert Series during Bach Fest helps highlight the wineries at Lake Chelan by pairing a string quartet with wine and spectacular views of the vineyards, mountains and the lake.
On July 11 2017, Karma Vineyards hosted the Winery Concert String Quartet in their underground wine cave. The dark, cool cave was filled with twinkling lights and lanterns to set the mood, and the acoustics of the cave created an ideal environment for the music.
The string quartet consisted of three different instruments, two violins, a viola, and a cello, but the sound filled the cave like an entire orchestra. The string quartet musicians included Maia Zander on violin, Steven Zander on violin, Daniel Dona on viola, and Roberta Bottelli on cello. The quartet played a variety of music including classics like Bach and Vivaldi, as well as more modern music like The Beatles.
The designated speaker of the quartet was Maia Zander. She accompanied many of the songs with an explanation of the sounds and the meaning behind the music. She let each song tell a story and brought the audience into the music with her descriptions.
One of the songs played by the quartet was the ‘Summer’ section of Vivaldi’s Four Season’s Concertos. Each season of the concerto includes a poem that the music follows to tell a story. Zander took the audience through the storyline of ‘Summer,’ and with each line of the sonnet the quartet showed how the instruments portrayed the lyrics.
Zander and has been playing the violin since she was four years old. She grew up in Chelan and studied violin with her mother, Kerry Travers, who is a local violin teacher in the valley. Zander began playing in the Lake Chelan Bach Fest concerts in the early 90’s. She has played in the string quartet for 11 years and played in the orchestra for two years.
“We start practicing our own parts very far in advance, and then the quartet,” Maia Zander said of the quartet’s preparation for Bach Fest. “And then we get together, and we start two days beforehand. So we have two days of rehearsal and then our first concert. Then we rehearse between two and five hours a day, depending on what we have to do, along with personal practicing.”
The other violinist of the string quartet is Steven Zander. He is a professional violinist living in Los Angeles and is also married to Maia.
“I play with a lot of different orchestras down there; Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Barbara Opera, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra during the summers, and I also play for movie, TV, and video game recording sessions,” said Steven Zander.
When asked how he got started as a professional violinist, he said, “We moved there [California] about 10 years ago, and I auditioned for the orchestras. Through that, I sort of got introduced to people who will get you work in sessions.”
Zander has played in multiple Hollywood movies, including “Logan” and “Batman v. Superman.” He became involved in Lake Chelan Bach Fest through his wife, Maia, being that Chelan is her hometown.
“It’s a good way for us to come back here, see her family, play some concerts, and work with our friends that we don’t get to see except for this week,” Zander said. “So it’s really nice to get to do that every summer.”
The concert at Karma Vineyards was such a hit with the audience that they wanted an encore, so the quartet ended the concert with “Yesterday” by The Beatles.
The string quartet solely plays the Winery Concerts, but they also play at the Gala Opening Concert. To see the string quartet play at one of the many beautiful wineries around the valley during Lake Chelan Bach Fest this year, go to bachfest.org/winery/.
For a complete list of Lake Chelan Bach Fest events go to www.bachfest.org.
(By Lauren Getzin)