Mainly Mozart: Chamber Music Festival marks 25th year
By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt
Mainly Mozart is all about making beautiful music and sharing it with the community. Now in its 25th year, founders began in 1988 with a 10-day outdoor festival at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park, and have now expanded to two months of musical delights, featuring a range of composers besides their main man.
Since 1996, one of its regular venues has been the acoustically lovely auditorium of the Neurosciences Institute on Torrey Pines Road, now known as The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).
A little MM history: Mainly Mozart co-founders David Atherton and Nancy Laturno Bojanic met in the 1980s at San Diego Symphony, where he was music director and she was director of communications. They decided to start a Mozart Festival to bring the best musicians they could find to San Diego.
Chamber music — which only requires small orchestras — was affordable and Mozart was the perfect choice. Twenty-five years later, maestro Atherton is leaving San Diego for Europe and will lead the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra for the last time at a pair of galas in June.
Special in 2013 Mainly Mozart is spreading its wings. Besides Club Amadeus, a membership group that helps support the festival and gets to enjoy private meet-the-artist concerts in intimate settings, there are several new programs, designed to attract new audiences.
• Mozart & The Mind (MATM): UC San Diego neuroscientist Tim Mullen, who is spearheading MATM, describes it as “a unique way of integrating research and art with cutting-edge scientific discourse and live musical performance.” He promises “an exciting blend of ground-breaking learning and amazing music that includes free lectures, interactive exhibits and world-class musicians.”
• Music-Brain Exposition: A subset of MATM, this “interactive playground” gives Spotlight concertgoers a chance to engage with scientists and musicians demonstrating some of the latest discoveries regarding the connections between music and the brain.
• Evolution: A jazzy June concert series celebrating the kind of music Mozart might have written if he were alive today. Evolution will feature three concerts at The Abbey in downtown San Diego, including Mexico’s next wave of classics and jazz, and an assortment of master classes, open rehearsals, and school programs.
In charge of the series is Stephen Prutsman, a charis- matic pianist/composer whose work incorporates not just classical, but innovative jazz and world music, which he calls “downtown music.”
“Mozart had an incredibly curious mind, along with a sense of innocence and joy, and he was definitely outside the box,” Prutsman said.
“What if he lived in our time? What would his music sound like? That’s what our Evolution series will be exploring.”
La Jolla Performance Schedule
• Where: The Scripps Research Institute Auditorium, 10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive
• Tickets: (619) 466-8742
• Web: mainlymozart.org
• March 15: 6:30 p.m. Wine Reception, 7:30 p.m. Spotlight Concert: Tara Helen O’Connor (flute), Peter Kolkay (bassoon), Anton Nel (piano)
• April 5: 6:30 p.m. Wine Reception, 7:30 p.m. Spotlight Concert: Steven Copes (violin), Arnaud Sussmann (violin), Richard O’Neill (viola), Efe Baltacigil (cello), Alessio Bax (piano)
• April 26 and 27: 6:30 p.m. Wine Reception, 7:30 p.m. Spotlight Concert: Susanna Phillips (soprano), Paul Neubauer (viola), David Shifrin (clarinet), Anne- Marie McDermott (piano)
• May 10: 6 p.m. Free Lecture (Neurotechnology in Music), 6:30 p.m. Wine Reception, 7:30 p.m. Spotlight Concert: Anne- Marie McDermott (piano), Stephen Prutsman (piano)
• May 11: 5:30 p.m. Free Lecture (Music & Attention), 6:30 p.m. Music-Brain Exposition, 7:30 p.m. Spotlight Concert: Anne- Marie McDermott, Stephen Prutsman
• May 17: 6 p.m. Free Lecture (Musical Feeling), 6:30 p.m. Wine Reception, 7:30 p.m. Spotlight Concert: The St. Lawrence String Quartet
• May 18: 5:30 p.m. Free Lecture (Music & Aging), 6:30 p.m. Music-Brain Exposition, 7:30 p.m. Spotlight Concert: The St. Lawrence String Quartet
• May 30: 8 p.m. Chamber Players: Stefan Jackiw (violin), Anna Polonsky (piano)
• May 31: 6 p.m. Free Lecture (Music Therapy), 6:30 p.m. Wine Reception, 7:30 p.m. Spotlight Concert: Stefan Jackiw (violin), Che- Yen Chen (viola), Ronald Thomas (cello), Jose Franch- Ballester (clarinet), Julie Landsman (horn), Anna Polonsky (piano)
• June 1: 5:30 p.m. Free Lecture (Rhythm & the Brain), 6:30 p.m. Music- Brain Exposition, 7:30 p.m. Spotlight Concert: Stefan Jackiw, Che-Yen Chen, Ronald Thomas, Jose Franch-Ballester, Julie Landsman, Anna Polonsky
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Born: Jan. 27, 1756 Died: Dec. 5, 1791 (age 35) Hometown: Salzburg, Austria
Survived By: Wife Constanze, two sons
Early Years: At age 5, he was already composing little pieces, which he played to his father who wrote them down.
Legacy: Composed more than 600 classical works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. Beethoven composed his own early works in the shadow of Mozart, and Joseph Haydn wrote that ‘posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years.’
Greatest Hits: ‘The Magic Flute,’ ‘Piano Sonata in C Major K. 545,’ ‘Bassoon Concerto K. 191,’ ‘Missa da Requiem,’ ‘Le Nozze di Figaro,’ ‘Don Giovanni,’ and ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.’
- Performing arts groups in limbo after Neurosciences ends lease
- Changes come to Mainly Mozart to position it for the future
- Art museums in La Jolla and San Diego launch collaborative ‘Behold, America!’
- New melodies: John Williams composition Quartet La Jolla to debut at SummerFest concert
- 15 chamber music concerts (and more) will comprise SummerFest 2011 from La Jolla Music Society
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