Ventura’s flagship cultural event returns for its 18th season with an eclectic and impressive lineup of world-class classical and jazz music staged in various venues under the artistic direction of Nuvi Mehta and sustained by the generous support of donors and volunteers. This year’s highlights include the acclaimed Emerson String Quartet’s performance of the last quartets of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven; 2011 Cleveland Piano Competition winner Alexander Schimpf’s impassioned treatment of Bach; Ventura County’s own young prodigy pianist David Fraley and former Rising Star violinist Jourdan Urbach; Cuban expatriates Tiempo Libre (see cover feature) and the return of soprano Nicole Cabell, whose voice was described by the London Times as “liquid gold.” Each year, the Ventura Music Festival’s Education Outreach Program presents live performances and interactive instruction to nearly 4,000 local students, many of whom might not otherwise be exposed to this caliber of live music performance. Select concerts (denoted below with an asterisk) include Artistic Director Nuvi Mehta’s entertaining and informative pre-concert talks that feature anecdotes from the lives of the program’s composers and some historical background about the music. Tickets to all concerts are available by visiting or at venues on the day of performances. Complete programs are available inside the April issue of Ventana magazine.

— Michel Cicero


Friday, May 4; and Friday, May 11, 3 p.m.
Nona’s Courtyard Café
67 S. California St.
Tea & Trumpets with Festival Brass Quintet. An authentic English high tea is served during an elegant performance of cheery horns. BOTH DAYS SOLD OUT.

Friday, May 4, 8 p.m. *
Community Presbyterian Church
1555 Poli St.
Federico Mondelci. The saxophonist performs his critically acclaimed “Classical Meets Jazz” program with Paolo Biondi on piano.  $15-$40.

Saturday, May 5, 8 p.m. *

Ventura Missionary church
500 High Point Drive
Alexander Schimpf. The award-winning pianist, “a skilled interpreter of Bach” according to Nuvi Mehta, performs Bach, Ravel, Scriabin and Beethoven. $15-$40.

Sunday, May 6, 2 p.m.
Ventura College Green
4667 Telegraph Road
Tiempo Libre. The Cuban jazz group plays its spirited Latin music in an outdoor setting. The Alfredo Rodgriguez Trio will open. Bring your own seating. $15-$45.

Tuesday, May 8, 6:45 p.m.  *

Ventura Missionary Church
500 High Point Drive
Emerson String Quartet. Winner of nine Grammy awards, it is considered the foremost chamber ensemble in the world. The quartet will perform the last quartets of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. $15-$45.

Thursday, May 10, 7:30 p.m. *
First United Methodist Church
1338 E. Santa Clara St.
Rising Stars Jourdan Urbach and David Fraley. Be amazed by the talent of these young men. Fraley will perform Beethoven’s Sonata No. 21 and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Liszt as well as works by Beethoven and Kapustin on piano. Violinist Urbach will perform his own compositions in addition to works by Ravel, Saint-Saens, Gershwin and others. $15-$25.

Friday, May 11, 8 p.m.
Community Presbyterian Church
1555 Poli St.
Pablo Sáinz Villegas. The Spanish guitarist has more than 25 international awards for his soulful playing. He will perform Bach, Barrios and Rodrigo among others. $15-$40.

Saturday, May 12, 8 p.m.

Ventura High Performing Arts Auditorium
2 N. Catalina St.
Nicole Cabell and Shawn Mathey with the Festival Orchestra. Local soprano Nicole Cabell closes the season alongside tenor Shawn Mathey and the Festival Orchestra with Nuvi Mehta conducting. The exciting finale includes a program of duets, arias and songs by Mozart, Schubert, Britten and Gershwin. $15-$45.