Robert Mondavi 1913-2008

I want to offer a tribute to someone who has made an impact in my life, someone who died yesterday at the age of 94.

Robert Mondavi is widely considered the man who put California on the map as an icon of fine wine. I met MondaviRobert and Margrit two years ago while engineering NPR’s historic first live classical music webcast, from the new Napa Valley symphony hall.

Robert was in a wheelchair and couldn’t hear so well. Margrit, his wife, promised to pass along my deep gratitude for their lifelong patronage of Northern California arts.

Of all the projects they’ve underwritten, closest to my heart is the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts on the U.C. Davis campus. The new concert hall could not have been built without their spectacularly generous gift. Mondavi’s new hall represents a pinnacle in world-class acoustical design.

I’ve been producing and engineering classical music in N. California for almost 20 years. Every chance I get to record in the new hall is like sneaking into a little bit of heaven. I consider this “my hall.” I was there often during construction, and made the first commercial recording in Mondavi Hall (Delos DE3360). Here are excerpts from that stunning performance.


Mondavi’s sons have since sold off the family business to a megalcohol conglomerate, but Robert’s legacy will live on, touching and enriching the lives of millions to come. Thank you Robert Mondavi. From the Chancellor of U.C. Davis

In June 2004, UC Davis presented Robert and Margrit Mondavi with the UC Davis Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the university. But what I will treasure most about our friendship with Bob Mondavi was his sense of destiny.

I remember him saying once, “If you wish to succeed, you must listen to yourself, to your own heart, and have the courage to go your own way, to find the right direction.” There’s no doubt that Mondavi accomplished his mission – to the betterment of the university, the wine industry, agriculture, the state of California – and beyond. And the Mondavis’ belief in UC Davis emboldened each of us to reach even higher.

Through his leadership, Mondavi truly opened a new era of opportunity for UC Davis. He was convinced that the sciences and the arts were essential companions. He reassured each of us – no matter our calling in life – that we were capable of and responsible for creating a magnificent and enduring legacy.

– Larry N. Vanderhoef , Chancellor of the University of California.

Also this week.. I received a photograph from Portland Oregon-based artist Rebecca Gray. Her new painting of a rose is so stunning I wanted to share it.

Gray Rose

And finally, with the Jill Taylor post approaching 300 comments, I leave you with the results of my brain lateralization test:

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (58%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (42%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain

Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by

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