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La Jolla Music Society SummerFest Embarks on First Season Under Music Director Inon Barnatan, Highlighted by the Groundbreaking “Synergy Initiative” (Aug 2-23)

This summer, the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest marks its first season under Music Director Inon Barnatan, who has been a favorite performer in the festival since his first appearance there in 2012 and takes the helm as only the fourth Music Director in the event’s history. In his inaugural season, Barnatan pushes the boundaries of the acclaimed chamber music festival as it moves into the new Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, a/k/a The Conrad, comprising The Baker-Baum Concert Hall, the flexible alternative performance space The JAI, and spaces for film screenings, exhibitions, public gathering, and more (Aug 2-23). Highlighting this year’s SummerFest is the “Synergy Initiative,” a new concept co-produced by Barnatan and Conrad board member Clara Wu Tsai illustrating the connections between musical genres, art, and dance and including the world premiere of a newly choreographed piece by the Mark Morris Dance Group, which makes its festival debut. The series will also see Barnatan collaborate with such luminaries as Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Cécile Mclorin Salvant and visionary director and visual artist Doug Fitch. Complementing those mainstage Synergy Series concerts, a pair of programs in The JAI titled Music from Music, curated by this year’s Composer-in-Residence, David Lang, completes the Synergy Intiative lineup.

Long known as a thoughtful and compelling curator, Barnatan’s theme for his inaugural SummerFest is Transformation: how composers build on the past, how art forms interact with and change one another and how the perception of music is changed by different physical spaces. The Synergy Initiative he developed with Clara Wu Tsai explores that theme by juxtaposing different art forms, with an eye toward creating a whole greater than the sum of its parts. As Barnatan puts it, the series “aims to bring together artists from different fields for meaningful collaborations, exploring the space in which music and other art forms interact.”

Synergy Series I: Intersection explores the symbiotic relationship between classical music and jazz. Barnatan is joined by two jazz greats for the performance: Cécile McLorin Salvant, three-time Grammy Award-winner and “the finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade” (New York Times); and her frequent collaborator Aaron Diehl, who studied classical piano and, alongside his jazz work, has increasingly been involved in classical collaborations, including participating in the 2014 New York premiere of Philip Glass’s complete Etudes at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and performing Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F at the New York Philharmonic opening gala in 2016.

Synergy Series II: Music at an Exhibition is anchored by Barnatan’s live performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, galvanized by a whimsical brigade of puppets, detailed models and live video in this world premiere production by designer and director Doug Fitch. The performance is complemented by ongoing events occurring throughout The Conrad complex, including “Chasing Inspiration” in The JAI, with visionary artist Zack Smithey painting live on an expansive canvas in response to performances of increasing intensity by cellist Carter Brey, violinist Liza Ferschtman, the Callisto Quartet, Trio Clara, and others; “Musical Tales on Film” in the Atkinson Room, a collection of short films featuring violinist Augustin Hadelich’s animated short Fantasia dei Gatti, Doug Fitch’s The Blind Date, and Tristan Cook’s Short Film for the End of Time; and “The Synergy Art Walk” on the Belanich Terrace, which includes canvases from Caio Fonseca, engrossing video pieces by Tristan Cook, and other curious musical objects.

Synergy Series III: In Step marks the SummerFest debut of the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG), with the world premiere of a new work choreographed by Mark Morris to the music of George Frideric Handel. Four more dance pieces on the program from the MMDG canon are choreographed to music by Henry Cowell, Purcell, Dvořák, and Beethoven. This program is performed in the intimate setting of The Baker-Baum Concert Hall alongside some of the best musicians in the world, including Augustin Hadelich, vocalist John Holiday, and cellist Clive Greensmith.

In the same exploratory spirit as the mainstage Synergy Series performances, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang curates two concerts in The JAI called Music from Music, with new and recent works from some of today’s most innovative compositional voices. In keeping with the theme of transformation, each work has been selected for the way it honors and takes inspiration from the music of the past while also transmuting it into something new. The first performance showcases works by Caroline Shaw, Chris Cerrone, Gabriella Smith, and Lang himself, and the second, a week later, features music of Ted Hearne, Nina Young, Timo Andres, and Julia Wolfe.

A long list of other concerts and events round out the SummerFest season, including the world premiere of a new work for violin and piano by composer and pianist Conrad Tao, and the West Coast premiere of violist Brett Dean’s Seven Signals. For the very first time, SummerFest’s gala celebration, with Sergio Mendes headlining, will take place at The Conrad. After Sergio’s sizzling performance, an after party will take place in the Wu Tsai QRT.yrd. The stellar roster of outstanding chamber musicians assembled for the summer also includes soprano Susanna Phillips, baritone Tyler Duncan, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, the Brentano String Quartet, clarinetist Anthony McGill, clarinetist and conductor Osmo Vänskä, composer and pianist Timo Andres, pianist Jonathan Biss, and a host of other world-class artists. A season brochure with complete artists and listings for the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest can be found here.

High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.


La Jolla Music Society SummerFest 2019
All concerts at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, in The Baker-Baum Concert Hall unless otherwise specified

Aug 2 at 8pm
OPENING NIGHT: The Time Traveler’s Suite
Prelude: 7pm interview with Inon Barnatan
BACH: Allegro from Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, BWV 1047
HANDEL: Trio Sonata for Two Violins and Continuo in G minor, Op. 2 No. 5, 3rd mvt
RAMEAU: “La Poule” from 6 concerts transcrits en sextour and “Entrée de Polymnie” from Les Boreades
COUPERIN (ARR. ADÈS): Les Baricades misterieuses
RAVEL: Rigaudon from Tombeau de Couperin
STRAVINSKY:Serenata” from Suite Italienne
WUORINEN: Selections from Bearbeitungen über das Glogauer Liederbuch
G. CONNESSON: Techno Parade
BACH: Finale from Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, BWV 1047
CONRAD TAO: New work for violin and piano (world premiere)
HALVORSEN: Passacaglia (after Handel)
RACHMANINOFF: Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 17
With Ben Beilman, Stefan Jackiw, Erin Keefe, violin; Masumi Per Rostad, viola; Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Timothy Cobb, bass; James Austin Smith, oboe; Valentin Martchev, bassoon; Anthony McGill, clarinet; Frank Renk, bass clarinet; Conrad Tao, piano; Inon Barnatan, harpsichord and piano

Aug 3 at 8pm
Prelude: 7pm lecture by Eric Bromberger
BACH: Ich habe genug, BWV 82
MESSIAEN: Movement VII from Quatuor pour la fin du temps
MAHLER: Symphony No. 4 for Soprano and Chamber ensemble
With Susanna Phillips, soprano; Tyler Duncan, baritone; Ben Beilman, Stefan Jackiw, Erin Keefe, violin; Masumi Per Rostad, viola; Kenneth Olsen, Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Timothy Cobb, bass; James Austin Smith, oboe; Anthony McGill, clarinet; Valentin Martchev, bassoon; Dustin Donahue, percussion; Inon Barnatan, piano; Conrad Tao, harmonium and piano; Osmo Vänskä, conductor 

Aug 4 at 3pm
Prelude: 2pm lecture by Eric Bromberger
DEBUSSY: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
CRUMB: Voice of the Whale
RAVEL: 3 Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé
RACHMANINOFF: Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 19
With Susanna Phillips, soprano; Ben Beilman, Stefan Jackiw, Erin Keefe, violin; Masumi Per Rostad, viola; Kenneth Olsen, Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Timothy Cobb, bass; James Austin Smith, oboe; Rose Lombardo, flute; Anthony McGill, Osmo Vänskä, clarinet; Valentin Martchev, bassoon; Inon Barnatan, Conrad Tao, piano; Osmo Vänskä, conductor 

Aug 6 at 8pm
Prelude: 7pm performance by pianist George Li
YSAŸE: Sonata No. 2 for Solo Violin in A minor, Op. 27
ARENSKY: String Quartet No. 2, Op. 35
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 15 (arr. for Piano Trio and Percussion)
With Erin Keefe, Sergey Khachatryan, violin; Yura Lee, viola; Kenneth Olsen, Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Inon Barnatan, piano and celeste; red fish blue fish, percussion

Aug 7 at 8pm
7pm interview with the artists
With Cecile McLorin Salvant, vocalist; Aaron Diehl, piano; Inon Barnatan, piano 

Aug 8 at 1pm
SUMMERFEST ENCOUNTER: Classical Transformations
Featuring Alex Ross
The JAI 

Aug 8 at 8pm
Prelude: 7pm performance by Callisto Quartet
MOZART: String Quintet in C minor
BEETHOVEN Piano Quartet in E-flat, Op. 16
PÄRT: Mozart-Adagio
MOZART: Piano Concerto in D minor, K. 466 (arr. Czerny)
With Brentano Quartet; Miró Quartet; Benjamin Beilman, Tatjana Roos, violin; Hsin-Yun Huang, Yura Lee, viola; Annie Jacobs-Perkins, Kenneth Olsen, cello; Timothy Cobb, bass; Rose Lombardo, flute; George Li, Ying Li, piano

Aug 9 at 8pm
Prelude: 7pm interview with Brentano Quartet violinist Mark Steinberg
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 5
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet, Op. 95
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet, Op. 127

Aug 10 at 8pm
Prelude: 7pm Trio Clara performance
BEETHOVEN String Quartet, Op.18. No. 4
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet, Op. 135
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet Op. 59, No. 2

Aug 11 at 7pm
Curated by David Lang
CHRIS CERRONE: South Catalina
GABRIELLA SMITH: Carrot Revolution
DAVID LANG: Death Speaks
With Nora Fischer, voice; Miró Quartet; Callisto Quartet; Tatjana Roos, violin; Derek Johnson, electric guitar; Rose Lombardo, flute; Joseph Morris, clarinet; Timo Andres, piano; Dustin Donahue, percussion

Aug 13 at 1pm
With Qing Wu, piano; Callisto Quartet; Trio Clara 

Aug 14 at 8pm
Prelude: 7pm Callisto Quartet performance
DEBUSSY: Première rhapsodie
BRETT DEAN: Seven Signals (West Coast premiere, La Jolla Music Society co-commission with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Wigmore Hall)
BACH: Goldberg Variations (arr. Sitkovetsky)
With Liza Ferschtman, violin; Brett Dean, viola; Carter Brey, Felix Fan, cello; Joseph Morris, clarinet; Qian Wu, piano

Aug 15 at 7pm
MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition
With Inon Barnatan, piano; artist, designer, and director Doug Fitch 

Aug 16 at 8pm
Prelude: 7pm Trio Clara performance
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No. 6 in B-flat, Op. 18 No. 6
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat, Op. 74
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No.15 in A minor, Op. 132

Aug 17 at 5pm

Aug 18 at 7pm
Curated by David Lang
TED HEARNE: For the Love of Charles Mingus
NINA YOUNG: Spero Lucem
JULIA WOLFE: With a Blue Dress On
With Paul Aguilar, Liza Ferschtman, Jun Iwasaki, Alyssa Park, Tatjana Roos, Rachel Stenzel, violin; Eva Kennedy, viola; Annie Jacobs-Perkins, Hannah Moses, cello; Timo Andres, piano

Aug 20 at 8pm
Prelude: 7pm Trio Clara performance
WAGNER: Prelude to Tristan and Isolde
SCHUMANN: Dichterliebe, Op. 48
C. SCHUMANN: Romances
SCHOENBERG: Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night)
With Robin Tritschler, tenor; James Ehnes, Liza Ferschtman, Augustin Hadelich, violin; Richard O’Neill, Cynthia Phelps, viola; Edward Arron, Carter Brey, Clive Greensmith, cello; Jonathan Biss, piano 

Aug 21 & 22 at 8pm
Prelude (Aug 22 only): 7pm Callisto Quartet performance
“Prelude and Prelude”
COWELL: Set of Two for Violin and Harpsichord
“One Charming Night”
“The Office”
DVOŘÁK: Bagatelles for String Trio and Harmonium
“The Muir”
Arr. BEETHOVEN: Irish and Scottish Folk Songs
World Premiere
HANDEL: Cantatas Tanti strali al sen mi scocchi and Beato in ver
With Mark Morris Dance Group; John Holiday, countertenor; Robin Tritschler, tenor; David Pershall, baritone; Augustin Hadelich, Andrew Wan, violin; Edward Arron, Clive Greensmith, Annie Jacob-Perkins, cello; Colin Fowler, harpsichord

Aug 22 at 1pm and 2:30pm
The JAI 

Aug 23 at 8pm
Prelude: 7pm lecture by Kristi Brown Montesano
BACH: Concerto for Three Violins in D, BWV 1064R
MOZART: Concerto for Two Pianos in E-flat, K. 365
VIVALDI: Concerto for Two Cellos in G minor
HANDEL: Violin Sonata in D
ELLEN ZWILICH: Concerto Grosso 1985
VIVALDI: Concerto Grosso in D minor, Op. 11
With Paul Aguilar, James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Kate Hatmaker, Jun Iwasaki, Cho-Liang Lin, Tatjana Roos, Jeanne Skrocki, Rachel Stenzel, Andrew Wan, violin; Eva Kennedy, Travis Maril, Richard O’Neill, viola; Edward Arron, Clive Greensmith, Annie Jacobs-Perkins, Hannah Moses, cello; Nico Abondolo, bass; Rose Lombardo, flute; Laura Griffiths, Lara Wickes, oboe; Jonathan Biss, piano; Nicholas McGegan, harpsichord and conductor

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