By Eileen Wingard
LA JOLLA, Calif .– Exploring the theme of Self and Sound, this year’s Summerfest once again bears the mark of the creative vision of Inon Barnatan, Music Director of La Jolla Music Society. The concert pianist / chief organizer has put together a 16-concert festival, with many free side events, which promises to be enjoyable and stimulating for his listeners.
Concerts at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center at 7600 Fay Avenue include a strong component of original chamber music: July 30, opening concert, Mendelssohn Octet; July 31, the Dvorak Viola Quintet; August 1, the Debussy String Quartet and the Mozart Quintet for clarinet and strings; August 4, Piano Quartet in C minor by Brahms; on August 5, the String Quartet No. 8 by Shostakovich, the String Quartet in E minor by Smetana; August 7, Appalachian Spring Suite from Copeland; August 10, Tchaïkowsky Piano Trio; August 11, Sonata for violin in A minor by Enesco, String quartet by Janecek, Quintet with piano by Franck; August 15, Quintet for piano and strings by Korngold; August 19, Mozart’s Great Sestetto Concertant in E flat major, Chausson’s Concerto for violin, piano and string quartet; August 20, Finale, Sextet for strings in G major by Brahms.
The other works, about half the price of the festival, are by contemporary composers, as well as arrangements, e.g. opening July 30, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy arranged by Franz Liszt for two pianos, Mozart Piano Sonata in C major, arranged by Grieg for two pianos; August 5, Sibelius In Saga, reconstituted for octet by Jaako Kuusisto; and all music from the film on August 15, in suite arrangements. There are several premieres: on August 7, that of Gabriela Lena Frank Eden contested; August 19, Tamar Muskal’s Facing the Automaton; August 12, the West Coast premiere of Marc Neikrug’s Chamber Opera, Mahler’s song, co-commissioned by La Jolla Music Society; and August 15, that of Aaron Zigman Rhapsody for cello and piano. Zigman is from San Diego.
Gabriela Lena Frank, Composer in Residence for the Philadelphia Orchestra and Director of the Creative Academy of Music in the Bay Area, will host both JAI concerts, featuring her own works: August 15, Songs of Cifar Selections and the Sweet Sea and El Mundo by L’ultimo sueno by Frida y Diego, August 17, Hios Chinch Zapatos and Milagros, and compositions by some of his budding composition students.
August 15, 3 p.m. The Silver Screen will feature film music by Max Herrmann, Philip Glass, John Corigliano, Samuel Barber, Nicholas Britell, John Williams and Aaron Zigman.
An interesting concert on July 31, Goin ‘Home, will feature American composers Florence Price, Cecil Burleigh, Wynton Marsalis, as well as Dvorak, the Czech composer who, during his time in the United States, encouraged American composers to use their Native American and Black Spiritual music as inspiration. His New World Symphony and Viola Quintet, written in Spillville, Iowa, are such examples. The Quintet concludes the July 31 program.
All evening programs start at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday mornings start at 3:00 p.m. The two fellowships, a string quartet and a trio, will perform. For more information call La Jolla Music Society 858-459-3724 or visit their website: https://ljms.org
Eileen Wingard, a retired San Diego Symphony Orchestra violinist, is a freelance writer specializing in arts coverage. She can be contacted via [email protected]