Up Close and Personal: Lofty experiment part of 2013 SummerFest lineup in La Jolla
What: Annual chamber music festival
Presenter: La Jolla Music Society
When: July 31-Aug. 23
Where: Various locations in La Jolla
Concert lineup, accompanying programming: .ljms.org
Tickets: Single-event prices vary; season subscriptions $389-$695
Box Office: (858) 459-3728 or ljms.org
SummerFest Under the Stars: Free kick-off concert, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 31 at Scripps Park. La Jolla Cove; Musical Director Cho-Liang Lin and special guests, including the San Diego Youth Symphony’s International Youth Symphony
SummerFest Gala: “A Midsummer Night,” 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at the home of Hanna and Mark Gleiberman, tickets from $1,000, includes cocktails, performance and dinner, RSVP: Kristin Schert (858) 459-3724, ext. 206
By David L. Coddon
Well known for bringing musicians and audiences together in interpersonal environments, SummerFest has a special treat in store for classical music lovers during the 2013 season that begins July 31.
Two performances will be held on Aug. 9 at The Loft at UCSD, a casual space that seats about 150 on the second floor of the university’s Price Center East. SummerFest Music Director Cho-Liang Lin will emcee and also participate in a program of Bartok, Ives, Debussy, Villa-Lobos, Carter and Charles Wuorinen performed by guest artists including flutist Catherine Ransom Karoly, pianist Steven Lin, violinists Michelle Kim and Philippe Quint, and clarinetist Burt Hara.
“The fundamental idea is to present a concert that is a closer connection between the audience and the performer,” said Music Director Lin. “SummerFest is in principle already an intimate experience, but this one event that I am trying this summer takes away all the formalities.
“The program itself is not a cotton candy kind of program. It’s all 20th Century, but each piece is short. It’s like a sampler. And I want people to be right next to the performers. There’s a period before the concert where the musicians will be there, mingling with the audience.”
The inspiration for the “Live @ The Loft” concert was in part the (Le) Poisson Rouge music and multimedia art cabaret in New York City, said Christopher Beach, president and artistic director of La Jolla Music Society, presenters of SummerFest. “They have been programming classical music in a much more intimate, casual setting,” he said. “It’s a great success. I wanted to give our audience a different way to hear classical music. The Loft is a perfect place.”
Beach and Lin are equally excited about other SummerFest 2013 performances, the featured composer of which is Bach, perhaps the greatest figure of the baroque period. “There are three concerts (during the festival) based on Bach,” said Lin, “but rather than having three concerts of all Bach — or even Bach and son — I decided to use Bach as a departure point and go further into Bach’s future and look at composers influenced by him. Every Bach program will involve some sort of lineage that gets passed down through history. The idea is not only to get an interesting look at this lineage but to enjoy the very beautiful music.”
This dynamic can be experienced during the festival’s “Bach & Beyond” concerts Aug. 7, 14 and 21 at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla, SummerFest’s principal venue.
As usual, the SummerFest roster of guest artists is populated with notables. On Aug. 6, cellist Joshua Roman will take the stage.
Aug. 20 brings the return of another pianist, 22-year-old Russian Daniil Trifonov. “We have a special relationship with him,” recounted Beach, who discovered Trifonov at St. Petersburg’s Tchaikovsky competition in 2011. “One of his very first concerts in America was in our Discovery series. He’s an old soul with this youthful passion.” At SummerFest, Trifonov will perform works by Schumann, with accompaniment by violinists Stephanie Jeong and David Chan, cellist Gary Hoffman and Richard O’Neill on viola.
As for Cho-Liang Lin, “The first two concerts (of SummerFest) are very interesting for me. The opening night (‘Let’s Dance!’) is all about dance music through the ages, so we’re starting with German dances from Schubert through Stravinsky and Ravel. Most festivals tend to open with the tried and true, the war horses. It’s a calculated gamble that I hope people will find interesting and enjoyable.”
Then there’s “Salieri’s Vienna” the next evening, Aug. 3. “We don’t hear Salieri’s music very much at all these days,” said Lin. “This program is a microcosm of what Salieri would have heard in his own time in Vienna.” Antonio Salieri is known to many for being in the shadow of Mozart, but, said Lin, “Salieri was a respected musician. He taught both Schubert and Beethoven, and the works in the first half are all dedicated to Salieri.”
“Salieri’s Vienna” will feature works by Salieri, Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven. “This program is the very core of chamber music,” said LJMS’s Beach. “There’s something for everyone.”
SummerFest 2013 may be some classical music fans’ deepest immersion in baroque music, which Beach said is misunderstood. “A lot of people who don’t like it have the impression that it’s precious or boring,” he said. “They couldn’t be more wrong.”
He said the evening of Aug. 13 should be anything but boring, when the Arcadian Academy conducted by Nicholas McGegan will perform works by Vivaldi, Handel, Purcell and others. “It’s our very first concert with baroque music played on period instruments,” said Lin. “It will be a new adventure for both me and for the audience.”
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