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SummerFest Gala has a Scandinavian twist

More than a hundred of La Jolla’s most gracious and generous benefactors of classical music gathered at the stunning Robert Paine Scripps Forum at Scripps Institution of Oceanography on Friday evening for the La Jolla Music Society’s annual SummerFest Gala.

Guests mingled just before sunset for an elegant champagne reception on the top deck of the new Seaside Forum, with its breathtaking views of La Jolla Cove before filtering down inside the sleek, ultramodern building for a performance by SummerFest artists.

La Jolla Music Society President and Artistic Director Christopher Beach began the intimate musical performance by extending a warm welcome and thanking SummerFest chair Martha Dennis, vice chair Eleanor Ellsworth and gala honorary chairs Jay and Lael Kovtun for all of their hard work and commitment.

He also noted that the evening’s gala concert was presented in honor of Rafaella and John Belanich for their many years of leadership and generosity to the La Jolla Music Society.

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The short musical program began with a violin and piano duet of Grieg’s Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor, followed by a little known Scandinavian piece by Norwegian composer Johann Halvorsen and Massenet’s Meditation from Thais for Two Violins.

The concert ended with a rousing performance by Joyce Yang and Liza Stepanova of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances for Piano Four-Hands, B.78, Opus 46, but not before a surprise performance by young virtuosos Dominique and Valerie Kim, which delighted guests and brought many to their feet.

An elegant three-course dinner prepared by Chef Jeffrey Strauss of Pamplemousse Grille followed the concert.

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Dancing on the patio to the smooth Latin jazz sounds of the Mario Olivares Band followed dessert.