Around the World in 24 Days: La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest 2017 to have international flair

The 31st annual La Jolla Music Society SummerFest series promises to take concert-goers around the world without leaving La Jolla, Aug. 2-25. It features more than a dozen concerts, 23 artist debuts and two premieres that will showcase music from other countries at venues such as UC San Diego Department of Music’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall and Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall, as well as community events in The Village. Single concert tickets are $45-$75 and festival subscriptions are $450-$865.

Cho-Liang Lin returns as musical director, but SummerFest 2017 will be the first with Kristin Lancino at the helm of La Jolla Music Society as president and artistic director.

Of the annual concert series, Lancino said, “La Jolla Music Society SummerFest is a must-go, must-hear concert event in an intimate setting, with some of the finest international performers and performances. It’s an extraordinary collection of artists you aren’t going to hear anywhere else and one of the leading summer events in the country.”

While she does not have a favorite concert or event to single out, Lancino said she is amazed at the loyal following the chamber (un-conducted) music series has. “There will be some in the audience who save their August evenings to come to all the performances and immerse themselves in great music.”

Lancino added the concert repertoire is chosen first, and the musicians that could best perform the works are sought out.

The series opens with “Fiddles vs. Pianos,” 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4 at the UC San Diego Music Department’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall on the UC San Diego campus, on Russell Lane. Considered a showcase of “musical fireworks and spectacular artistry,” the concert features violinists Cho-Liang Lin, David Chan, Ray Ushikubo and Chee-Yun; bassist DaXun Zhang; pianists Inon Barnatan, Scott Cueller and Olga Kern; and duo piano sensations Christina and Michelle Naughton. Tickets start at $50.

Concerts that showcase other countries include “From Prague with Love,” 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5; “Genius from Finland: Olli Mustonen,” 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6; and “In the Heart of Hungary,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8. Each of these concerts take place at UC San Diego Music Department’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall. Tickets for each of these start at $45.

As in past years, there will be a multi-concert showcase on the work of a particular composer (past highlights include Bach’s cello series and three shows on Shotakovich). In this case, the spotlight is on Beethoven in a four-concert salute to his violin sonatas, Aug. 15-18.

Performers include violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Jon Kimura Parker, with pre-concert lecture (Aug. 15); violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner, also with pre-concert lecture (Aug. 16); violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Scott Cueller in an open-to-the-public “musical encounter” (Aug. 17); violinist Yura Lee and pianist Gilles Vonsattel and pre-concert Musical Prelude with Fellowship Artist Ensemble Ulysses Quartet (Aug. 18). With the exception of the Aug. 17 concert, which is free, these shows start at $45.

Other free community-oriented events include the SummerFest kick-off, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2 (after which La La Land will play on a large screen) in Scripps Park; “Musical Encounter: Stravinsky meets Tan Dun,” 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10 at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St.; and the SummerFest Encounter “Forging a Concert Career: Making it as a Professional Wind Player in the 21st Century,” 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23 at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.

The series closes with the Finale with David Zinman, touted as “An all-star SummerFest Chamber Orchestra featuring principal musicians from the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others, is led by American conductor, David Zinman, whose career has embodied the style-spanning virtuosity and propulsive energy that is characteristic of our country’s artistic trademark.” The show starts 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25 at Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall, 5775 Morehouse Drive.

This will be the first year SummerFest concerts will be held at various venues. In past years, the concert series was held at Sherwood Auditorium at the Music of Contemporary Art San Diego, which is currently under construction. The La Jolla Music Society’s new home, the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, is being built and is expected to open in spring 2019.

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