The San Diego Union-Tribune
George Varga
July 26, 2019

Internationally acclaimed pianist Inon Barnatan loves walking on the beach and swimming, whether it’s during a visit to his native Israel or to San Diego, where he will be spending much of August. So when the La Jolla Music Society invited Barnatan to immerse himself in what he smilingly refers to as the society’s lavish new $82 million “sandbox,” the offer was simply irresistible.

“To be perfectly honest, the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center is one of the main reasons I decided to sign on to this — it was one of the things that tipped the scales for me,” said Barnatan, referring to the nonprofit society’s state-of-the-art new home. It houses both the state-of-the-art Baker-Baum Concert Hall and The JAI, the center’s smaller, cabaret-styled theater.

Located just blocks from the ocean, The Conrad — as it is informally known — opened with great fanfare in April and Barnatan was one of the featured performers. On Friday, he will take to its stage as the new music director of the society’s 34-year-old SummerFest.