MEDIA ARCHIVE

PREVIEW: Borders blur when Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer make music magic

The San Diego Union-Tribune
George Varga
October 13, 2019

Over the years, Ben & Jerry’s has created ice cream flavors inspired by famous musicians and bands, including Cherry Garcia, Bohemian Raspberry and Phish Food. If rival ice cream company Häagen-Dazs wants to get in the game with a music-inspired flavor of its own, genre-leaping banjo innovator Béla Fleck and contrabass master Edgar Meyer are ideal candidates.

Fleck, a 14-time Grammy Award winner, and Meyer, a five-time winner, first started making music together in the summer of 1982 in Colorado, in front of the Häagen-Dazs store in Aspen. They haven’t stopped collaborating yet.

“I don’t think there was a Ben & Jerry’s in Aspen back then!” Fleck said. He performs here Wednesday at the Balboa Theatre with Meyer and Indian tabla drum legend Zakir Hussain, whose own musical collaborators have ranged from George Harrison and Ravi Shankar to John McLaughlin and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart.

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PREVIEW: Borders blur when Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer make music magic2019-10-14T14:41:25-08:00

ARTICLE: Here is San Diego’s best and worst architecture

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Phillip Molnar
October 4, 2019

It was time to duck and cover Thursday night for architects in San Diego.

San Diego County’s annual Orchids and Onions competition awards the best in local architecture with an Orchid — and the worst with an Onion. Only five Onions were given this year, so most architects avoided the notorious distinction during the awards ceremony Thursday.

The competition is now in its 43rd year, with the goal to make the region a better place to live. It was started by the local American Institute of Architects, but has been handled by the San Diego Architectural Foundation since 2006.

A committee of 11 jurors evaluated 118 nominations. There were also two People’s Choice awards, decided by online voters.

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ARTICLE: Here is San Diego’s best and worst architecture2019-10-04T09:46:41-08:00

PREVIEW: Keyboard legend Chick Corea and rising star Gerald Clayton discuss their music and mutual admiration society

The San Diego Union-Tribune
George Varga
September 29, 2019

There is a 43-year age difference between jazz-and-beyond icon Chick Corea and rising star Gerald Clayton. But the mutual admiration between these two genre-leaping keyboard dynamos — who each perform in San Diego on the same night next week at separate concerts with their respective bands — easily transcends time.

“He’s an amazing young musician,” Corea, 78, said of Clayton, who performs a Wednesday Athenaeum Jazz at TSRI concert with his quartet.

“Gerald is one of the guys who inspires me when I hear him. He has his own way of doing it and finding his own voice. And he’s a very bright guy. I really like him a lot, and I love his playing.”

Clayton, 35, is even more effusive, to the point that he suggested this article should focus more on 22-time Grammy Award winner Corea than on him.

“Chick is a legend — the maestro! — and has been a huge inspiration for me since I was a teenager,” said four-time Grammy nominee Clayton of Corea, who performs Wednesday at the Balboa Theater with his band Trilogy.

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PREVIEW: Keyboard legend Chick Corea and rising star Gerald Clayton discuss their music and mutual admiration society2019-09-30T08:52:07-08:00

ARTICLE: La Jolla Music Society will celebrate 51st year with biggest season ever

The San Diego Union-Tribune
George Varga
July 7, 2019

How will the La Jolla Music Society top its recently concluded 50th anniversary season, which featured 34 performances and climaxed with the April opening of the nonprofit arts organization’s eye-popping, $82 million Conrad Prebys Center for the Performing Arts?

By presenting even more performances and expanding the range of programming in its eye-popping new performing arts center.

That expansion includes the debut of a new family concert series and a new lecture series that will be presented in collaboration with National Geographic. In addition, acclaimed classical music guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas will become the society’s first ambassador of education, a role that will see him spend three weeks in San Diego to perform at the center and do community outreach programs.

“This will be the biggest season we’ve ever had, and it will showcase the next step in our evolution,” said Leah Rosenthal, the society’s director of programming.

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ARTICLE: La Jolla Music Society will celebrate 51st year with biggest season ever2019-09-04T11:31:51-08:00

REVIEW: Conductor Nicholas McGegan Leads a Triumphal Orchestral Finale to La Jolla SummerFest 2019

The San Diego Story
Ken Herman
August 25, 2019

Following longstanding tradition, the final La Jolla SummerFest program is a chamber orchestra concert. Music Director Inon Barnatan not only upheld the tradition but—as is his wont—improved upon it. For Friday’s SummerFest finale at The Conrad, Barnatan invited 18th-century period music specialist Nicholas McGegan to conduct the orchestra in the usual suspects—Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart—but he spliced edgy contemporary works by Andrew Norman and Ellen Taafe Zwilich into the mix.

Conducting the program’s Baroque works from the harpsichord, McGegan exhibited the zeal and insight into this repertory that has made his San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra internationally celebrated. Not surprisingly, he led the Mozart and Zwilich works with equal finesse and conviction.

The concert, however, was dominated by a host of brilliant soloists. From the three scintillating violinists, Cho-Liang Lin, James Ehnes, and Augustin Hadelich, who blazed through J. S. Bach’s Concerto in D Major for Three Violins, BWV 1064, to amazing pianists Jonathan Biss and Barnatan who duelled playfully through Mozart’s Concerto in E-flat Major for Two Pianos, K. 365, to the arresting cellists Clive Greensmith and Edward Arron who mastered Vivaldi’s Concerto in G Minor for Two Cellos, RV 531, to Hadelich’s vibrant account of Handel’s Violin Sonata in D Major, HWV 371, the audience feasted on one virtuoso performance after another.

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REVIEW: Conductor Nicholas McGegan Leads a Triumphal Orchestral Finale to La Jolla SummerFest 20192019-08-27T10:01:52-08:00

REVIEW: Old and new successfully commingle as SummerFest comes to a happy end

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Christian Hertzog
August 24, 2019

At Friday night’s final La Jolla Music Society SummerFest concert, works by Andrew Norman and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich engagingly commingled with Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and Mozart in Baker-Baum Hall.

This year’s SummerFest was programmed around the theme of “Transformation,” composers and arrangers finding inspiration in earlier music. I don’t recall another SummerFest that executed a festival-long idea as new Music Director Inon Barnatan did this year. His programming choices were thoughtful and thematically consistent.

Take the J.S. Bach Concerto in D major for Three Violins that opened the concert. For years, this work was known as a concerto for Three Harpsichords, but scholars believe that the triple harpsichord concerto was an arrangement of a triple violin concerto. Violinist Rudolf Baumgartner reconstructed this lost concerto by changing the key and arranging the harpsichord parts for violins.

Baroque music expert Nicholas McGegan ably conducted a pick-up orchestra drawn from SummerFest’s amazing reserve of musical talent, with previous SummerFest director Cho-Liang Lin joyfully playing the first violin part alongside James Ehnes and Augustin Hadelich.

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REVIEW: Old and new successfully commingle as SummerFest comes to a happy end2019-08-29T16:47:11-08:00

ARTICLE: La Jolla SummerFest 2019 Ends with Synergistic Mix of Old and New Music

Times of San Diego
Barry Jagoda
August 24, 2019

La Jolla’s three-week-long, world-renowned summer music festival came to a brilliant finale, with memorable performances of Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi by the SummerFest Chamber Orchestra.

At the finale on Friday night, patrons extended rave applause for violinists James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich and Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin, who has completed his 18-year tenure as festival music director, but returned to play.

For their presentation of Mozart’s Concerto For Two Pianos and OrchestraInon Barnatan, the world-class pianist, who has just concluded a first, highly successful term as festival music director, was joined by pianist Jonathan Biss.

Biss was back from playing flawlessly earlier last week, accompanying tenor Robin Tritscher in his moving singing of Schumann’s “Poet’s Love” on a night under the umbrella title “Love Stories.”

As a theme of the finale, the Festival Chamber Orchestra, under conductor (and harpsichordist) Nicholas McGegan, played in the “concerto grosso” style music from the 18th century.  In a concerto grosso, a small group of instruments and a larger group play in contrast to each another. The phrase is Italian for “big concerto.”

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ARTICLE: La Jolla SummerFest 2019 Ends with Synergistic Mix of Old and New Music2019-08-27T10:31:21-08:00

REVIEW: LA JOLLA SUMMERFEST Explores Love and Loss at Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center

Broadway World
Erica Miner
August 24, 2019

On Tuesday, Aug. 20, the highly regarded La Jolla Music Society’s Summerfest presented “Love Stories,” the penultimate program of their first season at the brand-new Conrad PrebysPerforming Arts Center, the Society’s new permanent home. Known to aficionados as “The Conrad,” the Epstein Joslin-designed Center includes a concert hall, named for founding sponsors Brenda Baker and Steve Baum, a 2000 square foot flexible performance space, a multipurpose meeting room, a spacious courtyard and offices for the Society.

Tuesday’s concert took place in the concert hall and was dedicated to the memory of Kay Hesselink. The much-loved, devoted patron of Summerfest over the past many decades was a former chair and a member of the Board of Directors of the festival who, along with her husband John, has hosted numerous Fest artists.

At 513 seats, the Baker-Baum Concert Hall is the perfect size for chamber music in an intimate setting, and the superb acoustics add to the effect. The venue is handsomely wrought, crafted of multiple types of wood, all burnished to a glow, and is sanctuary-like in its atmosphere, imparting an almost religious experience to the listener. The outstanding performers were without a doubt worthy of their new home.

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REVIEW: LA JOLLA SUMMERFEST Explores Love and Loss at Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center2019-08-27T10:18:49-08:00

REVIEW: Mark Morris Dance Group Soars at SummerFest 2019

The San Diego Story
Ken Herman
August 22, 2019

Music Director Inon Barnatan continues to demonstrate why the 2019 La Jolla SummerFest is not your grandmother’s SummerFest. Wednesday, August 21, he and the festival’s Synergy Initiative Co-producer Clara Wu Tsai presented the renowned Mark Morris Dance Group, accompanied by SummerFest musicians, in the Baker-Baum Concert Hall.

Eye, ear, and imagination have never been so simultaneously deluged in SummerFest’s 33 years of programming. Seventeen lithe, kinetic dancers brought five of Morris’ dances to Baker-Baum, including the premiere of his 2019 “Arrows. Eros,” set to the vocal music of G. F. Handel.

When Handel was not churning out Italian operas or English oratorios or bristling concerti grossi, he amused himself by writing florid Italian vocal duets, and Morris selected two of these rarely performed Italian duets for “Arrows. Eros.” Agile soprano Jennifer Zetlin and commanding countertenor John Holiday gave a rapturous account of these florid gems, accompanied by a basic continuoadroitly supplied by harpsichordist Colin Fowler—who is also the Mark Morris Music Director—and cellist Clive Greensmith.

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REVIEW: Mark Morris Dance Group Soars at SummerFest 20192019-08-27T10:09:52-08:00

Review: SummerFest revels in sextets and violins, and Timo Andres impresses with a masterful new piano trio

San Diego Union Tribune
Christian Hertzog
August 21, 2019

One of the most extraordinary things about this year’s SummerFest is the presence of 15 living composers on the programs. In recent times, SummerFest has had composers in residence, but never was there such an abundance of contemporary music on the festival.

Sunday evening at The JAI at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, the second concert curated by David Lang introduced San Diegans to thirty-something composers Ted Hearne, Nina Young and Timo Andres.

Despite Lang’s introductions at the top of each concert, program notes would have better elucidated some of the works on the two “Music From Music” concerts.

In Hearne’s sextet for violins, “For the Love of Charles Mingus,” it wasn’t apparent how the rhythmic bow scrapes and chuffing noises, or the suppressed melodies, related to Mingus’ album, “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.” Notes on Hearne’s website clarify that he “imagines some echo of that artifact living and breathing under layers of distortion and interference.”

That explains the blues and gospel fragments that occasionally rose to the surface. The concluding violin solo, dashingly played by Liza Ferschtman, appeared to reference the atypical saxophone solos that end each side of Mingus’ LP.

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Review: SummerFest revels in sextets and violins, and Timo Andres impresses with a masterful new piano trio2019-08-21T15:46:35-08:00