La Jolla Music Society Pivots to Live Performances for Rest of 2020-21 Season


The 2020-21 season of La Jolla Music Society will continue at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, but with live concerts replacing the live audience performances that were originally scheduled to take place between this month and the end of June.

At least five of these performances, including 21-year-old cello prodigy Zlatomir Fung and piano star Yefim Bronfman, will be broadcast live – without an audience – from the Conrad’s 513-seat Baker Baum concert hall. A few will be broadcast from other locations, including the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.

The switch to a fully online format for these La Jolla performances was sparked by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which last March led to the closure of The Conrad and countless other venues across the country and in the world.

The move is also the result of Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz great Wynton Marsalis’s recent decision to cancel his Jazz at Lincoln Center ensemble’s tour of the West Coast in the winter of 2021 due to health concerns. This tour included four driving concerts in February, presented by the company, at the Del Mar Exhibition Center.

“Wynton’s concerts at Del Mar were by far the biggest on our schedule,” Todd Schultz, the company’s new CEO and president, told the Union-Tribune on Tuesday.

“When they failed, we looked at what was still in our season and what artists could still come here to do live programming. Because we wanted our season ad (revamped and fully digital) to only include shows that were not at risk of being canceled. “

The unwavering desire to continue the show – whether online or, perhaps later this year, in another safe and socially aloof format – is shared by Leah Rosenthal, the company’s artistic director.

“We can never replace live performances,” she said. “But we can be very smart about how we use digital media to improve our presentation of live performances in the meantime.

“We made the decision very early not to cancel our 2020-21 season. We saved as much of our season as possible, whether it was by broadcasting live or hosting two social distanced solo piano brunch concerts in our backyard by Eric Lu (last October).

The 52-year-old’s 2020-21 season featured 41 concerts. Due to the pandemic, 20 have been carried over to future seasons, 12 have been canceled and nine rotated to broadcast live. The pandemic has also forced the company’s 2020 SummerFest 2020 edition to be reduced from 18 concerts at the Conrad to just six live performances.

Yet while Schultz, Rosenthal and the staff and board of directors of the nonprofit were understandably disappointed, they also seized the rare opportunity presented to them.

The Conrad, which opened in 2019 and was budgeted at $ 82 million, houses state-of-the-art audio and video recording facilities. It also includes a control room from which directors can guide film and sound production teams. As a result, the Aspen Music Festival and the Celebrity Series of Boston used The Conrad for live broadcasts, while SummerFest Music Director Inon Barnatan recorded a live album in the Empty Conrad last year while its producer was participating online from New York.

“We have been able to extend the reach of our organization,” said Rosenthal.

It doesn’t make up for lost revenue from live concert tickets, but it does help.

“As a non-profit organization, we rely heavily on our donor base,” said Shultz. “In a year like this, contributions are how we’re going to get through this. Sponsorship and donor support allows us to program online, with fewer tickets sold. It’s just a fact of life.

“We are also extremely pleased to have received two Paycheck Protection Program Grants. These grants will not balance our budget, but they help point us in the right direction.

La Jolla Music Society Spring Live Stream Season

Telephone: (858) 459-3728

In line:

February 20: Cocktail chat with Jazz at Lincoln Center founder Wynton Marsalis, 5 p.m. Free with LJMS membership.

February 20: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet, with Wynton Marsalis “The Democracy! Suite ”, 7 pm Free.

3rd of March: Joffrey Ballet “Under the Trees’ Voices”, public rehearsal, 1 pm free.

3rd of March: Conversation with artistic director of Joffrey Ballet Ashley Wheater and choreographer Nicolas Blanc, 2 p.m. Free with LJMS subscription.

April 7: Joffrey Ballet, “Under the Trees’ Voices”, public rehearsal, 1 pm free.

April 10: Philippe Quint, “The smile of Charlie Chaplin”, 7 p.m. $ 15 – $ 20.

April 11 : Inon Barnatan, Philippe Quint and Alisa Weilerstein, 7 p.m. $ 15 – $ 20.

April 30: Joffrey Ballet, “Under the Voices of the Trees”, 5 pm free.

May 12: Yefim Bronfman, 7 p.m. $ 15- $ 20.

May 15: Sonia De Los Santos, 10:30 a.m. $ 15 – $ 20.

June 6: Zlatomir Fung and Richard Fu, 3:00 p.m. – $ 20.

June 29: Hot Sardines, 7 p.m. $ 15 – $ 20.


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