The Mondavi Center: A Cultural Hub

Heard it through the grapevine

It all began with a grapevine and a particularly ambitious man.

Robert Mondavi was a key figure in the development of the California wine industry 50 or so years ago. In 1966, he established the Napa Valley's Robert Mondavi Winery; it was soon making vintages to rival those in South America and across Europe.

Not only did Robert Mondavi love his wine, but he also adored music and the performing arts. And he put his money where his mouth was too; $10 million of his hard-earned cash went toward building the Mondavi Center, part of the UC Davis campus, near the homes for sale at illow Creek. It's no wonder, then, that this building has got the great man's name stamped all over it.

Since 2002, the Mondavi Center has been thrilling Davis locals with world-class orchestral music, dance, theater, lectures, and more. Oh, and for anyone wanting to indulge in Mondavi's passion for vino, try the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science next door. A perfect pairing, if ever there was one.

A beautiful building

Most recently bolstered by the modern craftsman-style homes at Willow Creek, Davis is full of beautiful buildings, and the Mondavi Center is one joyous piece of architecture. Bora Architects of Portland are behind the sweeping glass porch, the light-filled lobby, and the freckled sandstone walls. (Those wonderful patterns on the outside continue on the inside walls too.)

Sound in a venue like this is all-important: this building, after all, was designed for the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra. Ingeniously, the Mondavi Center is a “box-within-a-box,” which means the nearby sounds of the city are kept out. Not only that: the acoustics are adjustable; whether it's a lone poetry recital you're attending or a full orchestra experience, your ears are in for a treat.

This summer at a glance

Now that we've titillated you with a bit of Mondavi Center background, you'll be keen to know what you can go and see sometime soon. On May 25th, you can sit back and soak up some top-notch jazz, courtesy of pianist Sam Griffith, who recently completed his DMA in jazz studies at the University of Colorado. On June 3rd, you can catch the people for whom this amazing center was built in the first place when the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra plays Elgar's Serenade for Strings and Brahms's Symphony No. 3 in F Major. And for something you can tap your toes to, try Los Tigres del Norte, one of the finest Norteño bands out there. They're at the Mondavi Center this September.

The Mondavi Center is certain to get you hooked. It’s a good thing Willow Creek residents live around the corner.

Michelle Antic