Press Room

Inon Barnatan Joins La Jolla Music Society as Fourth SummerFest Music Director

SAN DIEGO, CA — The Board of Directors of La Jolla Music Society announced today that celebrated Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan – “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times) – will be the fourth Music Director of SummerFest, its internationally acclaimed celebration of chamber music. Barnatan will take over the role in 2019, following current Music Director Cho-Liang Lin, who announced last year that 2018 – his 18th season – will be his final one. Barnatan’s tenure at SummerFest will begin during the festival’s first season in residence at the The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, currently undergoing construction in La Jolla, California, and slated to open in spring 2019.

As Barnatan says of the new appointment:

“I’m so honored and excited to get this opportunity to succeed the incomparable Cho-Liang Lin as Artistic Director of SummerFest. From the first time I attended, SummerFest instantly became one of my favorite festivals in the world. La Jolla is such an inspiringly beautiful spot, and the feeling that was created by the great musicians, audience, leadership and staff provided a sense of a real musical family, which for me is at the core of what chamber music is all about. I am especially excited to be starting this journey and exploration of ideas in a new world-class home for this family, the Conrad. The possibilities are immense, and I can’t wait to see what we all can do there together.”


Leah Rosenthal, Director of Artistic Planning and Education for La Jolla Music Society, adds:

“We are excited to welcome Inon Barnatan, one of the world’s finest pianists and chamber musicians, to carry on the great artistic legacy of La Jolla Music Society’s previous SummerFest Directors. Inon is a versatile performer and a generous collaborator on and off the stage. His fresh perspective and breadth of experience make him an ideal leader of SummerFest as we move into La Jolla Music Society’s new home in The Conrad.”


Besides being one of the most in-demand soloists with orchestras worldwide and an acclaimed solo recitalist, Barnatan is known as a peerless collaborator, a champion of new music, and an inventive programmer, who brings a wealth of ideas and expertise that will help shape the artistic voice of SummerFest. His primary responsibility as Music Director will be to create programs for the festival, making decisions about artists, repertoire, programmatic themes, lecturers, composers, commissions, and educational initiatives, typically working on several seasons simultaneously in order to secure artists of the highest caliber. In addition, he will audition and invite students from the world’s leading music conservatories and pre-formed string quartets and piano trios to participate in La Jolla Music Society’s Fellowship Artist Program. Those selected will benefit from a multitude of performance opportunities throughout the SummerFest, including performances with SummerFest musicians, both in main series concerts and pre-concert Musical Preludes.


Barnatan made his SummerFest debut in 2012, and has played the festival many times since. Giving audiences something of a preview of his new role as Music Director, he will return to La Jolla Music Society once again this spring, to perform in “Schubert’s Swan Song.” This three-concert exploration of the Viennese composer’s late works was curated by Barnatan, and he will play one of Schubert’s late piano sonatas on each program, along with a selection of chamber music for which he will be joined by a roster of stellar musicians, including violinist Benjamin Beilman, cellists Carter Brey and Clive Greensmith, pianist Garrick Ohlsson, and the Dover Quartet. Tenor Robin Tritschler rounds out the list of collaborators, joining Barnatan for Schubert’s posthumously published song collection, Schwanengesang.


High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.

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