February ushers in new artists at the library

Libraries are notoriously quiet, La Jolla’s local library is turning up the music.

The La Jolla Riford Library Center is hosting a series of artistic performances in the month of February to help establish the venue as a cultural center as well as a library, according to La Jolla Riford Library Branch Manager, Richard Burke. There are four performances scheduled in February and the events feature a diverse group of artists that include the Asian American Repertory Theatre, jazz singer Sacha Boutros, Italian pianist Allessio Averone and guitarist Randy Pile.

The La Jolla Library has been featuring musical performances for a number of years, but the concerts have increased recently because library administrators are trying to add more cultural events for the La Jolla community, Burke said.

"[The concerts] are to promote our library and put us on the map as a cultural center as well as a library,” Burke said. “That is part of our goal, our mission, to bring this kind of thing to the community as much as possible.”

Burke said he was excited about all the performances because the artists are diverse.

“I like the variety of the concerts, I like the jazz and classical music,” Burke said. “We are trying to get a variety of programs in here to accommodate the different tastes in the community.”

Burke added that the Friends of the La Jolla Library organization was instrumental in organizing this month’s concerts in addition to implementing several other cultural activities at the library center.

The musicians who are performing in the event demonstrate extraordinary musical talent, according to Carol Hasson, president of the Friends of the La Jolla Riford Library. Hasson helped select the performers and she said that most of musicians are local artists and that she was surprised by the wealth of musical talent in the San Diego area.

Randy Pile is a guitarist who will perform at 2 p.m. on Feb. 24. at the La Jolla Riford Library. Pile has degrees in music from the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Berkeley. He currently teaches music at UCSD and Palomar college, but he can also be found playing his guitar on the beaches in San Diego, Hasson said.

In addition Pile, the La Jolla Riford Library will feature a performance from Alessio Averone at 2 p.m. on Feb. 25. Averone is a pianist who plays chamber music and he first started playing the piano at age five. Averone was born in Italy, but he has been performing in San Diego in recent years.

Hasson said the caliber of talent from the current list of performers at the La Jolla Riford Library has attracted other prolific musicians who want to perform at the venue.

All of the performances will be held in the community room, where there is a grand piano in the performance space. Many of the Library’s cultural events take place in the community room and the recent concerts are another sign that the arts and entertainment activities at the La Jolla Riford Library are gaining momentum, Hasson said.

“It is a beautiful place and a great venue,” Hasson said. “We are bringing as many talented people to the library for the people of La Jolla to enjoy. A library isn’t just a library, it is an intersection, a gateway, and great place to go to meet fascinating people.”

The La Jolla Riford Library has hosted a number of musical events in the past and the venue is a part of the La Jolla Music Society’s annual Summerfest. In addition, the library has had celebrity guest speakers and last fall it hosted a children’s event that featured famed primatologist Jane Goodall.

Burke said that the library has always had a plethora of activities for children, but the recent cultural events, such as the concert series, are aimed at La Jolla’s adult residents. However, Hasson said that children are welcomed to attend the musical performances.

Hasson added that the concerts were added this year because the Friends of the La Jolla Library organization wants the library to have an appeal similar to other community centers like the Athenaeum and the Neurosciences Institute, which both regularly host musical performances.

“We are your corner library,” Hasson said. “We are not trying to compete with those venues, but the center belongs to the community and we are trying to bring another interesting venue to the community.”

Hasson added that the La Jolla Riford Library is one of the oldest institutions in San Diego County. It was build over 120 years ago, yet the center has warm atmosphere.

“A library isn’t just a place to get a book,” Hasson said. “It is a place that belongs to the community.”

All of the cultural events the La Jolla Riford Library are free and open to the public.