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Monterey Symphony presents John Wineglass’s Sacred Land: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra | May 20

May 20 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Monterey Symphony presents John Wineglass’s Sacred Land: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
Saturday, May 20 & Sunday, May 21
Monterey Symphony
Sunset Center, Carmel

Commissioned by Monterey Symphony, with support from Big Sur Land Trust, Composer in Residence John Wineglass wrote his Sacred Land concerto after spending time at Glen Deven Ranch and other parts of Big Sur. This experience inspired John to bring awareness to the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County.

Join the Symphony and soloist Edwin Huizinga for two amazing musical performances on Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21.

Learn more and get your tickets >>

The Inspiration Behind John Wineglass’s Sacred Land: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

Even though it was years in the making, John Wineglass remembers exactly where he was when the first violin theme in Sacred Land: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra came to him. “I was feeling my ‘city boy’ roots as I was settling in at Big Sur Land Trust’s Glen Deven Ranch. I was a bit uncomfortable at the prospect of no phone, and no internet in this beautifully remote place. Using the ranch as my home base and creative space to work on 2016’s commissioned piece Big Sur: The Night Sun, as I immersed myself in the wild spaces throughout Big Sur and at Glen Deven, I heard many stories of the Esselen Peoples in the area. As I began to write, a haunting violin theme emerged first. I wanted to spend more time with this piece of music that I knew was directly inspired by the voices of the past I was hearing.” He set the theme aside and knew he would return to it if he ever got the chance to compose another piece of music about Big Sur.

And now, on May 20, the Sacred Land concerto, commissioned by the Monterey Symphony with support from Big Sur Land Trust, will premiere at Sunset Center featuring soloist Edwin Huizinga. The piece starts with the violin theme that John heard at the beginning of his stay at Glen Deven. John explains, “Because of this experience, and all that I have learned since, I wanted to bring awareness to the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County.”

The name Sacred Land came from a conversation John had with Tom Little Bear Nason, the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County’s Tribal Chairman, as John and Edwin visited Rancho Aguila in Big Sur (formally known as Adler Ranch), on the land the tribe reclaimed in 2020. “We learned so much from that day with Little Bear. He led us through the land, blessing and thanking all that we saw along the way…the deer in the distance, the river that we crossed, the trees, and the birds flying overhead.” John specifically asked Tom how he felt about having Edwin, a man of Nordic descent, playing this piece. Little Bear said he loved all people and gave Edwin permission to play the concerto.

John says Sacred Land is a tribute to the Esselen Tribe. “It is especially important to raise awareness and to keep documenting these stories of human frailty and tragedy, so we don’t repeat the behaviors. It is also important to honor the Esselen People’s deep knowledge of, and reverence for, these lands and waters and all the beings that live here.”

 Edwin Huizinga: Sacred Land Concerto Soloist 

Photo Credit: Randy Tunnell

Edwin Huizinga has been playing Sacred Land for months now. “It is such a beautiful piece! It has an important story line that is dramatic and intense,” Edwin says. Reminiscing about the years that he has known John, including their time spent together at Glen Deven Ranch with kids attending Big Sur Land Trust’s Youth Outdoor Program’s summer camps, Edwin explains, “We have had so many opportunities to share in each other’s music and discuss the meaning of art, language, culture, and the land. We’ve built up a real sense of trust.”

Edwin adds, “I feel very connected to this piece because there are parts of it that John and I were improvising on when we were at Glen Deven!” He feels the concerto shares a profoundly sad, yet beautiful story that captures the struggles and the hopes of the human experience.


May 20
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category:


Sunset Center
San Carlos Ave & 9th Ave
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