Mainly Mozart’s 2023 All-Star Orchestra Festival will expand to venues in La Jolla

La Jolla's Baker-Baum Concert Hall will host a concert June 20 as part of Mainly Mozart's All-Star Orchestra Festival.
La Jolla’s Baker-Baum Concert Hall, pictured last year, will host a concert June 20 as part of Mainly Mozart’s All-Star Orchestra Festival.
(Sam Zauscher)

The chamber music event’s 35th season will include concerts at Baker-Baum Concert Hall and UCSD’s new Epstein Family Amphitheater.


After setting consecutive attendance records the past two years by making a pandemic-fueled pivot to a new outdoor venue, Mainly Mozart’s All-Star Orchestra Festival will expand from one location to three — including two in La Jolla — for its 2023 edition.

This year’s six-concert series will kick off June 15, 17 and 18 on the expansive lawns of the Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park, where the 2022 and 2021 editions of the now-35-year-old chamber music festival were held.

The opening shows in Del Mar will be followed by concerts in La Jolla on June 20 at the Baker-Baum Concert Hall at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center and June 22 and 24 at UC San Diego’s new Epstein Family Amphitheater.

The festival will continue its format of featuring ensembles composed entirely of concertmasters from the nation’s top symphony orchestras, conducted by Mainly Mozart music director Michael Francis. Soloists to be showcased this year include pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinists Karen Gomyo and Martin Chalifour, and pianist and soprano Chelsea Guo.

The festival, founded in 1988, was held largely at downtown San Diego’s Balboa Theatre through 2019. But in 2020, with indoor events shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mainly Mozart was the first classical music organization in the nation to stage drive-in concerts.

Mainly Mozart Chief Executive Nancy Laturno
Mainly Mozart Chief Executive Nancy Laturno welcomes audience members to one of the nonprofit’s first drive-in chamber music concerts in 2020 in Del Mar.
(Mainly Mozart)

The Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park became the nonprofit’s new home for the 2021-22 festivals, and to the group’s surprise, attendance surged for what previously had been an indoor event. Each of last year’s five Del Mar concerts drew a capacity audience of 1,800.

Equally surprising to the group, more than half the audience in the past two years was composed of first-time guests.

“Sixty-seven percent of the people last year were attending a Mainly Mozart event for the first time,” said Mark Laturno, the organization’s director of communications and son of Mainly Mozart co-founder and Chief Executive Nancy Laturno.

“Through three years of COVID, we have cultivated a very loyal audience,” Nancy Laturno said. “People who weren’t aware of Mainly Mozart ... became aware of us through our drive-in concerts. The enthusiasm and enormous increase in not only the audience but a much younger audience was an accident that led us to where we are supposed to be.”

Mainly Mozart this year also will present concerts Nov. 5 and 18 at the Baker-Baum Concert Hall as part of the statewide California Festival.

Mainly Mozart 2023 All-Star Orchestra Festival

The June 15-18 concerts will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park, 14989 Via de la Valle.

Thursday, June 15: Gossec: Symphonie à 17 parties; Mozart: Bassoon Concerto, featuring soloist Whitney Crockett; Beethoven: Symphony No. 8

Saturday, June 17: Michael Abels: Delights and Dances; Beethoven: String Quartet in F Minor; Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 25, featuring soloist Anne-Marie McDermott

Saturday, June 18: Mozart: Grande Fantaisie in C minor; Brahms: Violin Concerto, featuring soloist Karen Gomyo

The June 20 concert will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Baker-Baum Concert Hall, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla.

Tuesday, June 20: Mahler: Symphony No. 4, featuring soprano Chelsea Guo

The June 22 and 24 concerts will be at 7:3O p.m. at UC San Diego’s Epstein Family Amphitheater, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla.

Thursday, June 22: Mozart: Marriage of Figaro Overture; Saint-Saëns: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso; Mozart: Magic Flute Overture; Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring piano soloist Chelsea Guo and violin soloist Martin Chalifour

Saturday, June 24: Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, featuring the San Diego Master Chorale

Cost: Early-bird tickets will be on sale March 29 through April 13, after which there will be a 15 percent increase. Tickets for the Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park concerts range from $25 to $1,000. Tickets for the Epstein Family Amphitheater concerts range from $25 to $160, and tickets for the Baker-Baum Concert Hall performance range from $30 to $120.

Information: (619) 239-0100,