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La Jolla Symphony & Chorus announces new season and pay-what-you-can subscription offer

The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus plans to kick off its next season the weekend of Feb. 6-7.
The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus plans to kick off its next season the weekend of Feb. 6-7.
(Courtesy)

The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus announced the lineup for its new season and did so with a revolutionary idea: It’s offering the entire season on a pay-what-you-can basis.

The offer is good for season subscriptions purchased by Sept. 1. After that, prices will revert to regular subscription and individual ticket rates. Regular subscription rates are $195 for adults, $185 for senior citizens and UC San Diego staff, and $65 for students. Individual ticket prices range from $18 to $39.

“All of us have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, both personally and economically,” Executive Director Stephanie Weaver said in an email to “friends and supporters.” “Therefore, in response to this unexpected and unpredictable situation, the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus is offering a radical new subscription plan for our 2020-2021 season.”

The June 24 announcement came nearly four months after the group canceled performances of Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” in early March because of coronavirus concerns.

The new season — titled “On the Horizon” — “is full of hope, inspiration and celebration,” Weaver said.

The acclaimed conductor, percussionist and UC San Diego music professor joins Leonard Bernstein and other legends as a recipient of the award.

The five-concert season for the 75-member symphony and 90-member chorus kicks off the weekend of Feb. 6-7 with “The Americans,” conducted by Steven Schick, the organization’s music director, and Ruben Valenzuela, its choral director.

All concerts are expected to be at the 764-seat Mandeville Auditorium on the UCSD campus, according to the organization’s website.

The concerts are “built around the theme of a bright future,” Weaver said, adding that the season opener will feature Grammy-winning composer Joan Tower’s “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 6,” a piece that’s “an anthem for meaningful change.”

“Research indicates that choral singing will probably be the last kind of performance to return as the pandemic subsides,” Weaver said, “so be on the safe side, we’ll start contributions from the stellar La Jolla Symphony Chorus led by the equally stellar Ruben Valenzuela in April.”

That program will include Bach’s “Cantata No. 106" and movements from Messiaen’s “Appel Interstellaire” and feature a special Bach arrangement for keyboards and percussion by Valenzuela and Schick.

“While we have created something very exciting that we very much look forward to being able to deliver,” Weaver said in her statement, “we are also sensitive to the need to be responsive to public health conditions and official guidelines as they evolve.”

All the dates for the season, which ends with Mahler’s “Symphony No. 2" the weekend of June 6-7, may change as required by city, county and state guidelines.

“We are exploring and experimenting with new ways to deliver safe, high-quality programming to our audiences, as we are committed to providing a season in the most creative but safest way possible,” Weaver said.

To see the entire season schedule, go to lajollasymphony.com. To buy tickets, visit the website, call (858) 534-4637 or email boxoffice@lajollasymphony.com. ◆