Musicians select the scores in Evening With series at La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest 2011

By Will Bowen

La Jolla Music Society’s 25th annual extravaganza, “SummerFest,” began this week and will continue through August, bringing the cream of the crop of classical music artists to town to perform the most notable of chamber works.

“This year’s festival is particularly exciting and extraordinary,” said LJMS CEO Christopher Beach. “The roster is amazing.”

One of the many highlights of the festival will be the three-part Wednesday night series called “An Evening With …” that showcases virtuoso talents in a program curated by the performers themselves — with a little guidance from LJMS music director Cho-Liang (Jimmy) Lin.

Pianist Olga Kern

The first concert features Olga Kern and her teen-age son Vladislav on Aug. 10. Kern began her studies at age 5 at the Central Music School of Moscow, and later earned a degree at The Moscow Conservatory. She was the Gold Medalist at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Competition. Kern has been described as a magnetic performer with topnotch technique. She will introduce Vladislav, who will play three pieces.

Kern selected a challenging program, which Beach called “fiendishly difficult and demanding.” When music director Jimmie Lin saw the schedule proposed, he exclaimed, “It is impossible for anyone to play such a difficult series!”

The music scheduled includes Liszt, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Chopin, Prokofiev and Balakirev. One of the most interesting aspects of the concert will be the pieces by Schumann and his wife Clara, who each envied the other’s abilities.

For the second concert, French-Canadian pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin will team up with New York cellist Alisa Weilerstein on Aug. 17 for a program that includes Barber’s Sonata for Violoncello and Piano, Op.6; Revel’s Gaspard de la nuit; and, Brahms Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34.

Hamelin, who is 51, was born in Montreal. He is considered to be a wizard of technique and likes to perform obscure and demanding pieces. He won the 2008 Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year.

Weilerstein, who is 29, was born in Rochester, New York to a musical family. She is a champion of contemporary music and has a B.A. in Russian history from Columbia University. Weilerstein plays a 1790 William Forster cello.

“I am just in love with Weilerstein; I have her picture right above my desk,” Beach said. “She is such an extraordinary and unforgettable musician.”

The third concert will feature Japanese-American violinist Midori on Aug. 24, coming fresh from an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Born in Osaka, Midori was originally taught by her mother. She was discovered by Zubin Mehta and introduced by him at the New York Philharmonics annual New Year’s Eve concert in 1982.

Midori has an M.A. in psychology and plays a 1734 Guarnerius cello. Her playing has been described as flawless, immaculate, and breath taking, and she has formed a foundation that helps teach children music.

Midori will perform Gliere’s Duets for Violin and Cello, Schumann’s String quartet in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3, and Schubert’s String Quartet in C Major, D. 956.

If you go

What: “An Evening With …” SummerFest concert series

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays

Who: Aug. 10 pianist Olga Kern & son Vladislav; Aug. 17 pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin & cellist Alisa Weilerstein; Aug. 24 violinist Midori

Where: Sherwood Auditorium at MCASD, 700 Prospect St.

Tickets: $50-$75

Box Office: (858) 459-3728  Web:

Related posts:

  1. SummerFest Lineup
  2. 15 chamber music concerts (and more) will comprise SummerFest 2011 from La Jolla Music Society
  3. La Jolla Music Society will bring the Vienna Philharmonic to San Diego
  4. La Jolla Music Society to present Miró Quartet with Joyce Yang on Saturday
  5. Season 42: La Jolla Music Society to present world-class performers

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Posted by Staff on Aug 2, 2011. Filed under A & E, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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