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La Jolla Music Society’s diverse 2022-23 season will mix stars, styles and performers on the rise

Japan's Kodo drum troupe is scheduled to play Saturday, Feb. 11, as part of the La Jolla Music Society's 2022-23 season.
(Takashi Okamoto / Courtesy of La Jolla Music Society)

The La Jolla Music Society isn’t having a landmark anniversary with its 2022-23 season, but its 54th year still offers much to get excited about, says Leah Rosenthal, the nonprofit’s artistic director.

“We’re celebrating the future and resilience of the arts and our amazing community who supported us through the pandemic,” Rosenthal said. “And we’re celebrating getting back to some kind of normalcy.”

Another reason for celebration, she says, is the diverse lineup, which includes renowned performers such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, opera singer Joyce DiDonato and violinist Midori, who will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of her debut performance.

Mixed with those stellar classical musicians are artists from other genres, including Latin-jazz great Poncho Sanchez, rootsy blues-rock duo The War and Treaty, Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Plus, there’s the return of the popular Nat Geo Live Speaker Series, free outdoor performances in the courtyard of La Jolla’s Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center and intimate concerts at The JAI, the adjoining cabaret-style theater.

Of the season’s 60-plus events, at least two concerts will be collaborations with other performing arts organizations.

“For us, it’s less about the numbers and more about the continued effort to diversify the types of programs,” Rosenthal said. “We are reaching out to new audiences and new communities. That’s more of the key goal.”

La Jolla Music Society President and Chief Executive Todd Schultz said another long-range goal is to fully utilize the center for the community at large. In addition to hosting its own annual fall-to-summer season and annual SummerFest, which this year begins Friday, July 29, the society rents The Conrad’s Baker-Baum Concert Hall at a discount to local nonprofit arts organizations.

Among the groups set to present their own programs at The Conrad are local chamber music ensembles Camarada and Art of Elan. The San Diego Symphony will present its 2023 chamber music series in the hall.

“We want to bring international artists that people might not know about while making sure we sustain openings for other groups and finding the balance,” Schultz said.

“It’s about reintroducing a new venue to our community. We were only open 11 months before the quarantine restrictions began in early 2020. Few people knew about us or had been in the building. We are restarting our introduction to San Diego.”

Indian tabla drum master Zakir Hussain
Indian tabla drum master Zakir Hussain will perform Wednesday, March 15, with his Masters of Percussion.
(Ross Gilmore / Redferns)

Vital connections

The San Diego Symphony will co-produce a concert featuring acclaimed cellist Alisa Weilerstein. The San Diego Opera will co-present “Noche Latina,” pairing mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and Spanish classical guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas.

“There are so many connections here,” Rosenthal said. “Alisa frequently collaborates with our SummerFest director, Inon Barnatan, and she’s married to (symphony music director) Rafael Payare.

“We’re celebrating that dynamic. Those relationships have been special for San Diego. It’s a wonderful representation of our arts community and its growth.”

Rosenthal, who studied voice and opera in college, said she’s excited that the upcoming season has vocal standouts such as Leonard and mezzo-soprano DiDonato. Both are multiple Grammy Award winners and Metropolitan Opera veterans.

While Rosenthal appreciates Schultz giving her “quite a bit of autonomy” in programming, she also credits him for nudging her to add more singers to the coming season.

“I love vocal music,” Schultz said. “The idea that Isabel Leonard, a singer at the Met, will perform here with a renowned guitarist in the Baker-Baum, a 500-seat hall, is amazing. The Met’s capacity is 4,000. I’m excited that international stars can be heard in this exquisite and intimate space.

“And to also hear Midori and [pianist] Daniil Trifonov perform here is unbelievable. People will be able to hear every little nuance.”

After the on-and-off nature of the pandemic restrictions, the center will be monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will communicate any changes that arise. Currently, they are requiring all audience members at The Conrad to be masked.

Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount of The War and Treaty
Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount of The War and Treaty will perform Friday, Oct. 28, as part of the La Jolla Music Society’s upcoming season.
(Stephen J. Cohen / Getty Images)

Musical cornucopia

Violinist Midori not only will perform for two nights in April, she also will be an artist-in residence for a week, giving master classes and working with children.

Another artist-in-residence will be Complexions, a New York-based contemporary dance company that will perform its “Star Dust: From Bach to Bowie.”

“Their program is so much fun,” Rosenthal said. “They have incredible engagement activities for families.“

Rosenthal said she’s pleased that more and more artists presented by the society respond positively when asked to do workshops or master classes or visit area schools and community centers.

Such outreach is a big part of the society’s goal to reach out beyond The Conrad. And by bringing in as many different artistic voices as possible, the society hopes local audiences will come to see the venue as their own.

“We want people to see themselves when they come to this hall,” Rosenthal said. “We are a resource providing a wonderful representation of different artists and their life experiences.”

Saxophonist Jess Gillam will play Sunday, Oct. 23, during the La Jolla Music Society's 2022-23 season.
(JMEnternational / Getty Images)

Serious about its series

The different series in the La Jolla Music Society’s 2022-23 season demonstrate its scope.

Some series names don’t need much explanation: Piano, Dance, Speaker, Global Roots, Chamber Music, Recital, Jazz and The conRAD Kids. The afternoon performances in the Discovery Series showcase up-and-coming musicians.

“Daniil Trifonov — one of, if not the greatest, pianists today — performed years ago in our Discovery Series,” Rosenthal said. “This year, Jess Gillam — a British-born, insanely talented saxophone player — will perform. Classical sax is a departure but so important to include.”

The ProtoStar Innovative Series will spotlight groundbreaking concerts:

• Weilerstein’s “Fragments” launches a multi-part project pairing works by Bach and contemporary composers whom she commissioned.

• DiDonato’s “Eden” concert will combine music, movement and theater to explore climate change.

• “Dreamers” teams the adventurous Brooklyn Rider string quartet with Mexican jazz singer Magos Herrera.

The Concerts @ The JAI lineup includes the Emmet Cohen Trio and Irish band Goitse.

La Jolla Music Society 2022-23 season

When: Oct. 8 to June 4

Where: Events are in the Baker-Baum Concert Hall of the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla, unless otherwise noted.

Tickets: New subscription packages and renewals are on sale. Single tickets go on sale in mid-August. All event times and prices are subject to change. Series subscriptions are discounted 12 percent, while Choose-Your-Own packages for any four performances are discounted 10 percent.

Information: (858) 459-3728, ljms.org

Schedule:

Saturday, Oct. 8: Apollon Musagète Quartet with Garrick Ohlsson, piano. 7:30 p.m. $31-$75

Sunday, Oct. 23: Jess Gillam (saxophone) and Thomas Weaver (piano). 3 p.m. $21-$43

Friday, Oct. 28: The War and Treaty. 7:30 p.m. $31-$75

Saturday, Oct. 29: JazzReach, featuring students from Mission Bay High School. 3 p.m. $15-$25

Thursday, Nov. 3: Nat Geo Live, “Exploring Mars” with Kobie Boykins. 7 p.m. $20-$58

Saturday, Nov. 5: Time for Three string trio. The JAI. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. $55-$75

Thursday, Nov. 10: Daniil Trifonov. 7:30 p.m. $48-$100

Sunday, Nov. 20: Emmet Cohen Trio. The JAI. 5 and 7 p.m. $55-$75

Thursday, Dec. 1: “Noche Latina,” featuring Isabel Leonard (vocals) and Pablo Sáinz-Villegas (guitar). Co-produced with San Diego Opera. 7:30 p.m. $44-$115

Sunday, Dec. 4: Randall Goosby (violin) and Zhu Wang (piano). 3 p.m. $21-$43

Saturday, Dec. 10: Storm Large Holiday Ordeal. 7:30 p.m. $31-$75

Thursday, Dec. 15: Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band. 7:30 p.m. $42-$82

Saturday, Dec. 17: Alfredo Rodriguez. The JAI. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. $55-$75

Saturday, Jan. 14: Davina and the Vagabonds. The JAI. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. $60-$80

Wednesday, Jan. 18: Joyce DiDonato. 7:30 p.m. $49-$152

Thursday, Jan. 19: Leif Ove Andsnes. 7:30 p.m. $44-$94

Thursday, Jan. 26: Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Christian Sands, Lakecia Benjamin, Clarence Penn and Yasushi Nakamura. Balboa Theatre, San Diego. 7:30 p.m. $42-$82

Saturday, Jan. 28: 123 Andrés. The JAI. 10 and 11:30 a.m. $15-$25

Sunday, Jan. 29: Johan Dalene, violin. 3 p.m. $21-$43

Saturday, Feb. 11: Kodo One Earth Tour: Tsuzumi. Balboa Theatre, San Diego. 7:30 p.m. $28-$70

Thursday, Feb. 16: Nat Geo Live, “Life on the Vertical” with Mark Synott. 7 p.m. $20-$58

Sunday, Feb. 19: Aris Quartett. 3 p.m. $21-$43

Friday, Feb. 24: Quartetto do Cremona. 7:30 p.m. $28-$67

Sunday, Feb. 26: Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano. 7:30 p.m. $44-$94

Friday, March 3: Goitse, The JAI. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. $60-$80

Composer and band leader Maria Schneider, a multiple Grammy Award winner, will perform with her orchestra Sunday, March 5.
(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

Sunday, March 5: Maria Schneider Orchestra. 6 p.m. $41-$84

Thursday, March 9: Igor Levit, piano. 7:30 p.m. $41-$83

Tuesday, March 14: Alisa Weilerstein: “Fragments.” Co-produced with San Diego Symphony. 7:30 p.m. $44-$94

Wednesday, March 15: Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Percussion. Balboa Theatre, San Diego. 7:30 p.m. $36-$87

Saturday, March 25, and Sunday, March 26: Mentalist Scott Silven Wonders. The JAI. 3 and 6 p.m. $60-$80

Saturday, April 1: Chucho Valdes and Paquito D’Rivera Quartet Reunion Tour. 7:30 p.m. $48-$80

Chalvar Montei of Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theatre
Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theatre will perform April 4-5 as part of La Jolla Music Society’s upcoming season. Pictured is Chalvar Montei.
(Dario Calmese / Courtesy of La Jolla Music Society)

Tuesday, April 4, and Wednesday, April 5: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Civic Theatre, San Diego. 7:30 p.m. $46-$82

Thursday, April 6: Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Kathryn Stott (piano). Civic Theatre, San Diego. 7:30 p.m. $47-$104

Sunday, April 16: Emerson String Quartet Farewell Season concert. 7:30 p.m. $46-$85

Thursday, April 20, and Friday, April 21: Midori 40th Anniversary Celebration. 7:30 p.m. $44-$94

Sunday, April 23: Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medal winner. The 2022 winner was Yunchan Lim, 18, of South Korea. 3 p.m. $21-$43

Friday, April 28: Alice Sara Ott, pianist. 7:30 p.m. $34-$84

Sunday, April 30: Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles and Villa-Lobos Brothers. 3 p.m. $28-$71

Saturday May 6: Pianimal interactive concert. The JAI. 10 and 11:30 a.m. $15-$25

Saturday, May 6: Brooklyn Rider and Mangos Herrera. 7:30 p.m. $32-$65

Friday, May 12: New Century Chamber Orchestra with Daniel Hope, violin and music director. 7:30 p.m. $31-$75

Saturday, May 13: Cinema Verismo, with Mak Grgic. The JAI. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. $55-$75

Saturday, May 20: Complexions: “Star Dust, from Bach to Bowie.” Civic Theatre, San Diego. 8 p.m. $39-$64

Thursday, May 25: Nat Geo Live, “Coral Kingdoms and Empires of Ice” with David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes. 7 p.m. $20-$58

Thursday, June 1, and Friday, June 2: Bodytraffic dance company. 7:30 p.m. $25-$85.

Sunday, June 4: Jimmie Herrod, vocals. The JAI. 5 and 7 p.m. $60-$80 ◆