With a history dating back to 1968, the La Jolla Music Society (LJMS) has operated from several venues over the past half-century, including the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library and the recently demolished Sherwood Auditorium, which was removed during the Museum’s renovations. of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla campus. In April, LJMS – like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis – achieved a daring transformation, now on full display at SummerFest 2019, its annual celebration of chamber and classical music, which runs August 2-23.
The most recognizable change is physical: LJMS ‘new permanent home, the $ 82 million shine Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, designed by Epstein Joslin Architects at 7600 Fay Ave., just west of The Lot cinema complex. The Conrad, as it is affectionately called, boasts of the siege of 513 Baker-Baum Concert Hall, a horseshoe-shaped hall reminiscent of a European opera house. Surrounded by a wooden mesh, which brings in slats of natural light, the Baker-Baum offers world-class acoustics, designed by Nagata acoustics, a company that contributed to the creation of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Kyoto Concert Hall in Tokyo and the Philharmonie in Paris.
Adjacent to Baker-Baum on the new LJMS campus is JHA, a flexible 2,000 square foot performance space that can accommodate some 300 participants; Atkinson Room, a 1,300 square foot conference room; and Wu Tsai and Belanich Terra Court, a 4000 square foot outdoor space, beautifully surrounded by olive trees.
“Having our own home has opened up a world of new possibilities,” said Jediah McCourt, LJMS Marketing Manager. “We now have an entire campus to work with. “
With a new home comes new leadership
In March, the 34-member LJMS Board of Directors appointed Ted De Dee take the reins – and its $ 6.5 million operating budget – on April 1, just four days before The Conrad opens on April 5. DeDee won over 91 nominees nationwide. Prior to joining LJMS, he led the $ 205 million Wisconsin Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, where he served as CEO and President from 2012 to 2018. DeDee has a long history of opening new cultural centers in across the United States and diversification of programming, which he sees as the hallmark. of his long career.
With LJMS getting new facilities and a new executive director – the nonprofit arts organization rounded out its series of premieres in 2019 by naming Inon Barnatan, acclaimed Israeli / American classical pianist, as the new Music Director of SummerFest 2019. A native of Tel Aviv and a New York resident, Barnatan studied with Victor Derevianko at the Royal Academy of Music and was honored as the first “ Artist in Association ”at the New York Philharmonic. Barnatan’s 2012 album, “Darknesse Visible”, was hailed as one of the best classical recordings of the year by The New York Times.
Barnatan has partnered with Clara Wu Tsai, director of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and co-owner of the Brooklyn Nets, to launch the “Synergy Initiative,” which represents brand new programming for LJMS – including singers, dance troupes, visual artists and creative technologists. Barnatan’s theme for SummerFest is ‘transformation’, which joins the ‘Synergy’ initiative and stems from his long-standing interest in interdisciplinary collaborations.
• Synergy Series I: Intersections, on August 7 (and sold out), features three-time Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, dubbed “the best jazz singer to emerge in the last decade in The New York Times, with Aaron Diehl, a jazz pianist who has been a soloist with the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra.
• Synergie II Series: Music in an exhibition, is scheduled for August 15 and offers a festival-within-a-festival experience, where attendees can stroll through The Conrad’s unique spaces, exploring the interactions between the visual and the aural. Caio Fonseca, a contemporary American painter – whose pieces represent curvilinear shapes that evoke piano lids, quarter notes and the bodies of violins and violas – will exhibit his work. The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Smithsonian both acquired Fonseca’s canvases for their permanent collections.
• Synergy III Series: At the stage, showing August 21 and 22, presents the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG), based in New York, accompanied by Barnatan’s set handpicked musicians. Together, these two groups will offer a first dance performance to the music of Handel. Along with the show, MMDG organizes post-performance dance classes at JAI.
“Synergy has added some important new twists to our traditional SummerFest lineup and has been masterfully thought out by Clara and Inon. It will be a welcome new experience, ”said Executive Director DeDee.
– La Jolla Music SocietyThe 2019-2020 season begins in October 2019. Tickets for SummerFest August 2-23, 2019 and other LJMS events can be purchased at Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 avenue Fay, La Jolla, by calling the ticket office (858) 459-3728 or visit ljms.org