The Board of Directors of La Jolla Music Society announced February 8, 2018 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 eighteenth season – will be his final season. 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 the Spring of 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 Prebys Performing Arts Center. 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, added:
“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 makes 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, including artists, repertoire, programmatic themes, lecturers, composers, commissions, and educational initiatives, 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 musical 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 on stage for main series concerts and several Musical Preludes.
Barnatan made his SummerFest debut in 2012, and has played the festival many times since. He will return to La Jolla Music Society once again this spring to perform in “Shubert’s Swan Song,” a three-concert exploration of the late works of composer Franz Schubert he also curated, giving audiences something of a preview of his new role as Music Director. Barnatan plays 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.
About Inon Barnatan
A recipient of both the Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, Barnatan has performed extensively with many of the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Symphony Orchestra and was named the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist in Association by then-Music Director Alan Gilbert in 2014, a three-year position created specifically for him. Gilbert describes Barnatan as “the complete artist: a wonderful pianist, a probing intellect, passionately committed, and a capable contemporary music pianist as well.” A sought-after chamber musician, Barnatan was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program from 2006 to 2009, and frequently collaborates with other top chamber artists. His passion for contemporary music has led him to commission and perform many works by living composers including premieres of works by Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Avner Dorman, Matthias Pintscher, Alasdair Nicolson, Andrew Norman and others.
About La Jolla Music Society
As one of Southern California’s leading presenters of world-class performing arts, La Jolla Music Society contributes to San Diego’s cultural vitality year-round through a rich variety of presentations, including classical, jazz and contemporary music and dance. La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest is a nationally-recognized chamber music festival featuring over 80 world-class artists and ensembles performing concerts each Summer. For more information, visit LJMS.org, or call 858.459.3728.
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