ArtPower bringing world-leaping music, dance, film and theater lineup to UC San Diego

Leah Rose Gallegos and Denise Carlos of Las Cafeteras
Leah Rose Gallegos and Denise Carlos of Las Cafeteras perform at the Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival in Tennessee. Their East Los Angeles-based band will perform as part of the upcoming ArtPower season at UC San Diego.

The 30-show 2022-23 season will feature 16 area debuts in a roster that includes Lei Liang, Kristina Wong and David Sedaris.


The upcoming season of UC San Diego’s ArtPower offers a musical journey across the country, the world and even under the ocean.

“Bringing the world to San Diego is one of my favorite things,” said Jordan Peimer, ArtPower’s executive director since 2014.

“I love to present different styles of American music — Appalachian, Creole and Cajun, among others. And I’m so happy to finally have international artists back. To be able to bring music from places like New Zealand, Israel and France does my globalist heart good.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted ArtPower’s past 2½ seasons, restricting travel for international artists. After pivoting to a virtual-live hybrid, Peimer said he’s excited for what looks to be a full live 2022-23 season, running Sept. 29 through May 25.

Citing just one artist from each of ArtPower’s five series — jazz, dance, chamber music, American routes and global music — demonstrates the variety of the pending season. It includes Chicago trumpeter-composer Marquis Hill; New Zealand-based Atamira Dance Company; Oxford University’s resident ensemble, the Castalian String Quartet; Charly Lowry, an Indigenous woman from North Carolina’s Lumbee/Tuscarora tribes; and Aynur Doğan, a contemporary Kurdish singer-instrumentalist from Turkey.

ArtPower’s special events this season range from Argentine folk-fusion band Fémina to Kristina Wong’s film “Wong Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

“Kristina Wong is someone ArtPower introduced to San Diego,” said Peimer, who noted that 16 of the new season’s 30 shows are area debuts.

“La Jolla Playhouse is showing her current play, ‘Sweatshop Overlord.’ We’re screening her breakout film about mental health among Asian Americans. She’ll speak afterward and join a panel on mental health.”

Wong’s presentation will be at UCSD’s 600-seat Jeannie Auditorium, which opened last fall.

‘Exciting’ transformation

The La Jolla campus’s new 2,650-seat Epstein Family Amphitheater, which opens in October, will host four ArtPower events, and the intimate Loft at UCSD will present 11 concerts.

Other events are spread over the campus, except for three at downtown San Diego’s Balboa Theatre — including author and humorist David Sedaris, an ArtPower favorite.

Starting this fall, ArtPower will operate under the newly formed Campus Performance & Events Office. Joanna Christian, ArtPower’s associate director of marketing and communications, considers that an important milestone for the university.

“I came to UCSD 20 years ago as a music major with an economics minor,” she said. “There were very few opportunities to see live events then. This new department is created for events and arts happenings on campus. To see that transformation from a campus that was mostly STEM-focused [science, technology, engineering and math] ... is very exciting.”

The 12 to 15 paid student employees Christian oversees for ArtPower will grow to 30 this fall to accommodate the growth of events on campus. A handful of the students will do videography, photography and editing, while most will staff ArtPower events, develop social media strategies and do graphic design.

‘Coincidence of sound’

UCSD students consider chamber music concerts good date nights, according to Peimer. The new ArtPower season will showcase five top chamber groups, including the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Ensemble and the Paris-based Quatuor Van Kuijk, with guitarist Sean Shibe.

“Quatuor are charismatic performers,” Peimer said. “The energy of the group with this really brash young guitarist will start interesting conversations.”

“Bringing the world to San Diego is one of my favorite things.”

— Jordan Peimer, ArtPower executive director

ArtPower’s jazz series this season includes vibraphonist Joel Ross, whose 2020-21 season concert was canceled due to the pandemic, and the Brandon Coleman Trio, which leans heavily to fusion and funk.

“I really wanted to touch on the scene in L.A.,” Peimer said. “Brandon is kind of like 1970s Herbie Hancock.”

Award-winning composer and UCSD music professor Lei Liang
Award-winning composer and UCSD music professor Lei Liang is teaming with Mivos Quartet for a musical exploration of the Arctic Ocean that will be performed as part of the upcoming ArtPower season.
(Alex Matthews)

ArtPower’s less-categorizable concerts will include award-winning composer Lei Liang and Mivos Quartet’s musical exploration of the Arctic Ocean. Liang, a UCSD music professor, worked with the university’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography to record underwater frequencies for a greater understanding of the interaction of sea animals and buoys.

Hawaii native Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, in a piece commissioned by ArtPower and other music organizations, also will investigate the mysteries of the ocean and her state’s environment. New York’s Argus Quartet will play her work and other pieces by Indigenous composers.

“An oceanographic musical environment and a fascinating coincidence of sound,” Peimer said. “It’s not coincidental that they were programmed, but it is coincidental that they are happening this season.”

World premiere of ‘UnderScored’

Omari Wiles of Ephrat Asherie Dance Company
Ephrat Asherie Dance Company’s new piece will have its world premiere in January at UC San Diego as part of the 2022-23 ArtPower season.
(Robert Altman / Courtesy of ArtPower)

When the founder and namesake of Ephrat Asherie Dance Company shared with Peimer her concept for a new work by her company, it struck a warm and nostalgic nerve in him.

“Ephrat had been looking at the history of club music, dance music and hip-hop, working with the original people who made those movements,” Peimer said. “She specifically mentioned the dancing at New York City’s Paradise Garage and The Loft.

“As a young man coming out, Paradise Garage was a favorite dance club of mine. To be able to capture this ethnically and sexually inclusive history of dance and music culture in a dance piece was appealing — especially since it was also a part of my own history.”

ArtPower is one of four arts organizations that co-commissioned the piece, “UnderScored,” which will have its world premiere Jan. 19 at UCSD’s Mandeville Auditorium.

ArtPower 2022-23 season

When: Sept. 29 through May 25

Where: Unless otherwise indicated, all events will be at venues on the UC San Diego campus, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla.

Tickets: Subscription packages go on sale Monday, July 18. Single tickets go on sale Monday, Aug. 8.

Information:, (858) 534-1430


Sept. 29: Yamma Ensemble, The Loft (8 p.m.; $25-$33)

Oct. 3: “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Jeannie Auditorium (8 p.m.; $10)

Oct. 7: Fémina, Epstein Family Amphitheater (8 p.m.; $20-$30)

Oct. 14: Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50-$65)

Oct. 15: Lei Liang with Mivos Quartet, Conrad Prebys Experimental Theater (8 p.m.; $30)

Oct. 25: Marquis Hill: “New Gospel Revisited,” The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)

Oct. 27: Las Cafeteras: “Hasta La Muerte,” Epstein Family Amphitheater (8 p.m.; $20-$40)

Nov. 2: Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group: “Power,” Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego (8 p.m.; $30-$50)

Nov. 3: Charly Lowry, The Loft (8 p.m.; $28-$35)

Nov. 4: Castalian String Quartet, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50-$65)

Nov. 10: Bedouin Burger, Price Center East Ballroom (8 p.m.; $28)

Jan. 19-21: Ephrat Asherie Dance Company: “UnderScored,” Mandeville Auditorium (8 p.m.; $40)

Feb. 2: Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole, The Loft (8 p.m.; $28-$35)

Feb. 9: Joel Ross: “Parables,” The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)

Feb. 14: Cyrille Aimée, The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)

Feb. 17: Quatuor Van Kuijk and Sean Shibe, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50-$65)

Feb. 22: A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego (8 p.m.; $30-$50)

Feb. 28: Brandon Coleman, The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)

March 9: Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti and Argus Quartet, Mandeville Auditorium (8 p.m.; $15)

March 17: Esmé Quartet, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50-$65)

April 5: Atamira Dance Company: “Te Wheke,” Epstein Family Amphitheater (8 p.m.; $30-$40)

April 13: Dirk Powell Band, The Loft (8 p.m.; $28-$35)

April 18: Solo piano with Ehud Asherie, The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)

April 20: Aynur Doğan, Mandeville Auditorium (8 p.m.; $28)

April 26: Dream House Quartet, Epstein Family Amphitheater (8 p.m.; $20-$45)

April 28: Hermitage Piano Trio, Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $50-$65)

May 2: David Sedaris, Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego (8 p.m.; $45-$60)

May 11: Connie Han Trio, The Loft (8 p.m.; $30-$45)

May 19: Takae Ohnishi: “Spring Night with Vivaldi and Bach,” Conrad Prebys Concert Hall (8 p.m.; $25-$35)

May 25: Steve Riley and Racines, The Loft (8 p.m.; $28-$35) ◆