La Jolla Music Society continues SummerFest as planned after coronavirus case turns out to be isolated

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein performs with SummerFest music director Inon Barnatan in 2019.
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein performs with SummerFest music director Inon Barnatan at the grand finale of the La Jolla Music Society’s gala in 2019. Weilerstein, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Aug. 16, had been scheduled to play again Friday, Aug. 20, at the closing concert of this year’s SummerFest.
(File / Los Angeles Times)

Multiple tests were administered to musicians and staff members after cellist Alisa Weilerstein tested positive Aug. 16, a day after her most recent SummerFest performance.


The show is going on for SummerFest, which the La Jolla Music Society had considered canceling or changing to online after one of its star performers — fully vaccinated cellist Alisa Weilerstein — tested positive for the COVID-19 coronaviruson Aug. 16. She had performed at a SummerFest concert the day before.

Out of an “abundance of caution,” the nonprofit arts organization canceled the Aug. 17 SummerFest concert at the society’s Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla.

Subsequently, the Music Society had the company Sameday Health administer coronavirus antigen and PCR tests to every musician and staff member, as well as many board members, crew members and artist hosts.

Those test results came back negative, so the society is able to move ahead with the final three concerts of this year’s edition of SummerFest. Last year’s festival was held entirely online without a live audience.

In an email to SummerFest ticket holders Aug. 18, LJMS President and Chief Executive Todd Schultz wrote: “Our final three SummerFest concerts will proceed as planned tonight, tomorrow and Friday. In the last 36 hours, all musicians and LJMS staff have been tested for COVID at least twice, and 100 percent of them have come through with negative results. Additionally, all musicians performing in these final three concerts are fully vaccinated. Based on these results, we are thrilled to proceed with our performance.”

The three concerts that will conclude the 2021 edition of SummerFest are “Intimate Letters” on Aug. 18; “Grand Duos,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19; and “Finale: A Love Composed,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20. The Friday concert was originally scheduled to include a performance by Weilerstein, whose replacement has yet to be determined.

As a safety precaution, the society is asking guests to be masked at all times inside the concert hall, hallways and restrooms. ◆