Festival Napa Valley Announces Khaledi Prize Winner

By Francisco Salazar

Festival Napa Valley has announced that Nia Imani Franklin is the recipient of the 2021 Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Classical Music.

Franklin, a composer, singer, and arts education champion is Festival Napa Valley’s 2021 Composer- in-Residence and many of her original compositions were performed throughout this year’s Festival. Among the works were “Afro-dite,” a work or solo cello which received its world premiere featuring cellist Matt Haimovitz, and “Chrysalis Extended”, a symphonic piece that received its West Coast premiere.

In a statement, Franklin said, “I am deeply honored to receive the Khaledi Prize this year.  I am grateful to the Khaledis and to Festival Napa Valley for supporting and nurturing the work of emerging professional artists.”

Franklin joins past Khaledi Prize winners Aldo López-Gavilan (2017), Nadine Sierra (2018), and Sheku Kanneh-Mason (2019).

The award was named in honor of the Festival’s Founding Board Chair and noted vintner Darioush Khaledi and his wife Shahpar. The prize is an annual award given to an artist for outstanding contributions to classical music and includes a cash grant of $10,000.