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Sonia de Los Santos

ARTICLE: La Jolla Music Society pivots to live streamed performances for remainder of 2020-21 season

The San Diego Union Tribune

George Varga
February 10, 2021

The nonprofit arts organization’s digital season will include new online performances by Wynton Marsalis, Joffrey Ballet, Alisa Weilerstein, Sonia De Los Santos and more

The La Jolla Music Society’s 2020-21 season will go on at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, but with livestream concerts replacing the performances in front of live audiences originally scheduled to take place between this month and late June.

At least five of those performances, including by 21-year-old cello prodigy Zlatomir Fung and piano star Yefim Bronfman, will be livestreamed — sans audience — from The Conrad’s 513-seat Baker Baum Concert Hall. A few will be streamed from other locations, including the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.

The move to an entirely online format for these La Jolla performances was prompted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which last March led to the shuttering of The Conrad and countless other venues across the nation and around the globe.

The move was also the result of the recent decision by Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz great Wynton Marsalis to cancel his Jazz at Lincoln Center ensemble’s winter 2021 West Coast tour because of health concerns. That tour included four February drive-in concerts, presented by the society, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“The Wynton concerts in Del Mar were by far the most prominent in our schedule,” Todd Schultz, the society’s new CEO and President, told the Union-Tribune Tuesday.

“When they fell through, we looked at what was still in our season and what artists could still come here to do livestream programs. Because we wanted our (revamped, all-digital) season announcement to include only programs that are at no risk of being canceled.”

The unwavering desire to go on with the show — whether online or, perhaps later this year, in some other safe, socially distanced format — is shared by Leah Rosenthal, the society’s artistic director.

“We will never be able to replace live performances,” she said. “But we can be really smart about how we use digital media to enhance our presentation of live performances in the meantime.