La Jolla Symphony & Chorus will take listeners to the sublime for ‘utterly ecstatic’ December concerts

From LJS&C Reports

The weekend of Dec. 7-8, 2013, Steven Schick leads the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) in an inspiring concert featuring Aaron Jay Kernis’ beautiful Musica Celestis (“Music of the Heavens”) for string orchestra, the world premiere of a lush work for large orchestra and chorus by Paul Hembree, Ikarus-Azur, and Maurice Ravel’s opulent ballet Daphnis et Chloe.

“Daphnis et Chloe has been on my short list for several years, and we’ve found the perfect home for it here,” said Schick, conductor and music director. “We will perform the complete ballet scored for orchestra and chorus in all its magnificence and color.”

The second concert in a season themed “Life*” (with individual concerts named for the varied aspects of life), the December performances are titled “utterly ecstatic.”

“It really will be that,” Schick confirmed.

Musica Celestis is one of the most frequently performed works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Completed in 1991, it is based on the medieval concept of heavenly music that suggested “singing of the angels in praise of god with no end.” The work originated from a piece the composer scored for string quartet (by the same name), and expanded to string orchestra one year later. Musica Celestis has been described as being in the vein of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, with hints of English pastoralism, and the simplicity of some of Beethoven’s later works.

Paul Hembree, doctoral composition student of Roger Reynolds at UC San Diego, describes his Ikarus-Azur as a “musical response to humankind’s ambivalent relationship to both nature and technology … the sublime, that pleasurable sense of terror when faced by forces more powerful than any single human.” The work synthesizes poetry by Mellarmé, Benn, Thoreau and Aeschylus into an emotionally-charged narrative.

The program concludes with a complete performance of Ravel’s opulent ballet Daphnis et Chloe, scored for large orchestra, chorus, wind machine and vast percussion battery. This is considered to be Ravel’s most passionate work, with extraordinarily lush harmonies.

The performances take place Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, 2013 in Mandeville Auditorium at UC San Diego — For directions and parking information, visit

Concert times are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. A lecture is offered one hour prior to concert times.

Individual tickets are $29 general, $27 senior, and $15 student. Parking is free.

To purchase tickets or for information, call the

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

office at

(858) 534-4637

or visit

The Business Spotlight features commercial enterprises that support the

La Jolla Light