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Under new direction, Music Society composes diverse season

The season began in October and will go on until May. The La Jolla Music Society is based here, but it serves all of San Diego County. The 2006-2007 season consists of 23 performances that will take place in five venues across the county, including one in the Carlsbad City Library.

The La Jolla Music Society’s history goes all the way back to 1941, but it wasn’t until 1968 that the organization officially set out to bring the best classical musicians in the world to San Diego audiences.

This is the first full season the La Jolla Music Society has been under the direction of President and Artistic Director Christopher Beach. Beach was formerly the director of the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College in New York.

Beach said that when he was organizing the 38th season, he sought artists who could communicate with the audience and give passionate performances.

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“I like to think that all of this season’s artists each bring their great gift of musical interpretation and passion to the performance,” Beach said.

Beach said that because the society serves all of San Diego County, he tries to create a program that is as broad and rich as possible.

Although the performances are diverse, the season features a collection of series with reoccurring themes, such as the jazz series. Last season, jazz music was a smaller component in the program, and this season the jazz performances have been expanded into a full series.

Beach said the jazz series is unique because it is intended to bring jazz to an audience that loves classical music. The series features a performance from the Roby Lakatos Ensemble.

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Lakatos is a gypsy violinist from Belgium and his ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. on Feb. 3 in the Stephen and Mary Birch North Park Theatre.

“He is a great violinist,” Beach said. “The first part of the performance is a gypsy dance, then he switches to jazz with his gypsy band.”

Beach said that asking him to name his favorite artists in this season’s lineup was asking too much.

“It is like having to pick a child you love best,” Beach said.

In addition to the jazz series, the La Jolla Music Society is reintroducing the piano series for the first time in two years.

Vladimir Feltsman is the next pianist to perform in the piano series. Feltsman had his first concert at age 11. He was born in the Soviet Union, but defected in 1987 after he was banned from performing there for eight years.

Feltman’s concert is at 8 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Sherwood Auditorium in the Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla.

This 2006-2007 season also includes the Discovery Series, which premiers the talent of young, up-and-coming artists.

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The Discovery Series is presenting the first West Coast performance of 13-year-old pianist, Peng Peng. Peng first performed in front of a live audience at the age of 5, and he is currently studying at the Julliard School of Music.

Peng will perform on at 3 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the Neurosciences Institute.

In addition to Peng, Beach expressed excitement about the performance of the Tokyo String Quartet. The quartet will perform as part of the Revelle Chamber Music Series.

The Tokyo String Quartet was founded in 1969 at the Julliard School of Music and they have released 30 recordings under the Landmark label.

“They perform some of the most beautiful chamber concerts you will ever hear,” Beach said. “I love so many of the artists, but this one I have presented three times.”

The Tokyo String Quartet will perform at 8 p.m. on Jan. 6 at the Sherwood Auditorium.

The Revelle Chamber Music Series is a staple of the La Jolla Music Society’s program because chamber music is at the core of the organization’s mission, and because the Revelle family has been a long-time supporter of the organization.

Beach said he has dedicated this season to the Revelle family for their recent donation of $1 million to the La Jolla Music Society. It is the largest gift the La Jolla Music Society has received from a private donor.

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Beach said La Jolla audiences have made working as the artistic director and president of the La Jolla Music Society a rewarding experience.

“My greatest joy is my audience,” Beach said. “The audience at the La Jolla Music Society is the most sophisticated, attentive, passionate and knowledgeable audience I have ever had in my whole career. For me, that is the perfect gift.”