ARTICLE: Stranded in San Diego, Spanish guitar star Pablo Sainz Villegas keeps playing

The San Diego Union-Tribune
George Varga
March 26, 2020

Because of the coronavirus, classical guitar star Pablo Sainz Villegas is stranded in La Jolla. That puts him almost 6,000 miles away from his wife, Valeria, at their home in Madrid, which — like all of Spain — is now under a nationwide lock-down.

His March concert tour of Germany has been canceled, along with his April tour of Japan. The May recording of his new album in Los Angeles is on hold. So is pretty much everything else on his schedule, although he is currently brainstorming ideas to take his duties as the La Jolla Music Society’s first education ambassador online.

Yet, while Villegas misses his wife, his parents — who live in the northern Spanish province of La Rioja — and the performances around the world that fuel his career, he also sees an unexpected opportunity the pandemic has provided.

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ARTICLE: Stranded in San Diego, Spanish guitar star Pablo Sainz Villegas keeps playing2020-03-27T16:11:02-07:00

ANNOUNCEMENT: Our Journey Ahead

Dear La Jolla Music Society Family,

We want to give you an update on some exciting digital content you’ll be receiving in the weeks ahead, our plans for SummerFest, and daily life at La Jolla Music Society.

Before we get into all of that, we want to say thank you. For the past week, we have heard from so many of you with messages of support and encouragement. That feeling is mutual. We are thinking about all of you and our deepest wish is that you stay physically and mentally healthy over the upcoming weeks. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Conrad soon, but, in the meantime, we are working on an exciting way to bring LJMS’ world class music into your home.

DIGITAL CONCERT HALL 

During this live programming hiatus, we will be providing you with unique online audio and video content, on a weekly basis. The first piece is our SummerFest 2018 performance of Carnival of the Animals.

Upcoming content highlights also include:

  • A “SummerFest Favorites” Playlist featuring curated selections from internationally renowned festival artists, LJMS staff, and most importantly from you, our LJMS extended family. Submit your favorite LJMS and SummerFest memories and performances, here.
  • Performances and messages from students of the San Diego Youth Symphony and San Diego Civic Youth Ballet
  • A musical message from our Education Ambassador in Residence Pablo Sainz Villegas

All of this content will be delivered to your email and also live on the LJMS website, here.

LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE 

SummerFest 2020

We are optimistic that SummerFest 2020 will go on as scheduled. SummerFest is always a celebration, but this year we anticipate it will be an especially joyous opportunity for us to gather as a community, after spending far too much time apart.

If you are a renewing subscriber, be sure to submit your renewal by March 31. Our box office is open by phone and ready to serve you at 858.459.3728.

For everyone else, single tickets and new subscriptions go on sale on April 6. We can’t wait to show you the full lineup.

We are also hard at work on next year’s season.

Strategic Planning

For the past several months, the LJMS staff and board have been thinking about how to make the organization even stronger and mission driven over the next five years. This strategic planning process is ongoing and we anticipate that we will be sharing elements of this plan with all of you this autumn.

DAILY LIFE AT LJMS 

Like most of you, the staff at LJMS is working remotely until the California shelter at home mandate is lifted. The box office is fully operational remotely and ready to serve any needs that you have, via phone or email. The staff is committed to supporting each other throughout this crisis and we all appreciate your well wishes and expressions of concern.

We have also done a deep clean of the entire Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. This cleaning includes an industrial strength, virus eliminating, protocol. When all of this is over, The Conrad will be pristine to welcome us back again.

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

Phrases like this used to feel cliché. Today, it feels truer and more relevant than ever. In an environment that is both fluid and complex, it is useful to have a “North Star” to guide decision making. At LJMS, that guiding point is our mission. Our mission is to deepen your cultural life by presenting and producing music and dance. The opening of our Digital Concert Hall is a natural extension of that mission. Preparing to produce SummerFest live at The Conrad is another vital part of that mission. With your support and encouragement, we will come out of this stronger than ever. We are honored to bring the performing arts straight into your homes during this time.

Enjoy Carnival of the Animals and look out for more surprises to come.

We will see you soon.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Our Journey Ahead2020-03-23T09:28:25-07:00

ANNOUNCEMENT: A note to the LJMS Community regarding Covid-19

On Thursday, March 12 the California Department of Public Health recommended that specific gatherings be either postponed or cancelled through the remainder of March. With that in mind, LJMS is cancelling all March performances. As a reminder, you have the following options:

  • Exchange your tickets for any future 2019-20 Winter Season performance.
  • Exchange your tickets for a gift certificate. The gift certificate can be redeemed for any LJMS programming that is scheduled between April and September of 2020.
  • Donate your tickets and receive a tax deduction for the total ticket value.
  • Receive a refund for the value of the ticket.

We welcome any choice you make, but we also ask that you strongly consider donating your tickets back to LJMS.  For over 50 years, LJMS has been devoted to our mission, which is to enhance the vitality and deepen the cultural life of San Diego by presenting and producing a dynamic range of performing arts for our increasingly diverse community. Generosity from people like you is what makes fulfilling our mission possible.  During this crucial time, please consider making an additional gift to help La Jolla Music Society by clicking this link.

While we are disappointed that we have to cancel the March events, the health and safety of our artists, patrons, and staff has been – and always will be – our top priority. We look forward to a bright future, including our signature SummerFest, and to bringing more world class artists to you, as soon as we are able.

Thank you for your support of La Jolla Music Society.  We will continue to update you as the situation evolves.

ANNOUNCEMENT: A note to the LJMS Community regarding Covid-192020-03-23T11:06:40-07:00

REVIEW: Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Salute Beethoven and Paganini at the Jacobs Music Center

San Diego Story
Ken Herman
March 3, 2020

In the heyday of classical music radio broadcasting, a regular listener probably heard the phrase “performed by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under the direction of Neville Marriner” more frequently than he heard the call letters and frequency of the radio station. Having made hundreds of first-rate recordings, this redoubtable chamber orchestra made available a staggering cornucopia of Western instrumental music. Unless you were looking for Mahler’s Symphony of A Thousand or the complete symphonic catalogue of Bruckner and Scriabin, the Academy—as our British cousins refer to the orchestra—has probably recorded it.

Although Marriner conducted into his nineties and died in 2016, in 2011 the Academy appointed American violin virtuoso Joshua Bell as Music Director of the Academy. The La Jolla Music Society brought the Academy under Bell to San Diego two years ago, and they returned to the Jacobs Music Center in downtown San Diego Monday, March 2. The orchestra continues to flourish under Bell’s leadership, and his playing—he indulged in Nicolo Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 6—is as peerless as ever: he maintains his signature radiant sonority, seamless and captivating throughout the range. His glorious tone and elegant phrasing are rarely compromised, regardless of the myriad technical challenges he subdues with graceful aplomb.

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REVIEW: Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Salute Beethoven and Paganini at the Jacobs Music Center2020-03-05T11:45:41-08:00

ARTICLE: SummerFest 2020 season, ‘Self and Sound,’ will tunefully celebrate universal differences, commonalities

The San Diego Union-Tribune
George Varga
March 1, 2020

Championing musical diversity is a key impetus for acclaimed Israeli-American pianist Inon Barnatan, who hopes his upcoming second season as the music director for the La Jolla Music Society’s annual SummerFest will raise the bar to a new high.

That goal is amplified by the theme and title for the 18 concerts, “Self and Sound,” which runs from July 31 to Aug. 21 at the $82 million, 11-month-old Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center.

“The idea of ‘Self and Sound’ — and of how a composer writes themselves into their music and how we are reflected in music — is something I find fascinating,” said Barnatan, who will perform on piano at eight of the SummerFest concerts.

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ARTICLE: SummerFest 2020 season, ‘Self and Sound,’ will tunefully celebrate universal differences, commonalities2020-03-01T16:26:42-08:00

PREVIEW: Joshua Bell makes time for San Diego

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Beth Wood
February 25, 2020

While it’s not typical of an interview with acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell, a recent phone conversation signifies the pace of his life. Different time zones had resulted in a scheduling snafu, so he was valiantly trying to answer questions on the fly.

It began with Bell in a car headed to New York’s La Guardia Airport, where he needed to hang up upon arrival. He called back while in the security line for a quick chat and then resumed the interview a short while later, after boarding his flight to Florida.

“I play 150 concerts a year, so life is always hectic,” said Bell, who the next day was launching a tour that will stop in San Diego Monday. “I had to be in London to rehearse with the orchestra and now I’m flying to Tampa for the tour’s first concert in Sarasota. I’ll be away for several weeks, so there are a lot of details to take care of.”

As a prelude to all this, the versatile violinist performed in the star-studded finale of the Grammy Awards telecast on Jan. 26.

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PREVIEW: Joshua Bell makes time for San Diego2020-02-26T10:14:15-08:00

REVIEW: New La Jolla Music Society Family Concerts are #SDMBApproved

San Diego Moms Blog
Karina Klepach
February 13, 2020

This past weekend my daughter and I, along with our family friend and her daughter, attended the Jazzy Ash & The Leaping Lizards concert with La Jolla Music Society. All four of us walked away feeling elevated, joyous, and even more connected. The only downside was that the concert ended (after several encores)!

When it comes to music concerts and cultural experiences, I must confess — I’m a bit of a snob . . . Having grown up surrounded by the arts and music and studying music as my major, I developed an ear for high-quality concerts. I also uphold the same level when it comes to attending these productions with my daughter…

They did NOT disappoint! I was pleasantly surprised and grateful for La Jolla Music Society’s commitment to bringing quality music to our children. They made it so accessible and engaging for the whole family! There was not one child in the audience who didn’t have a smile or at least a wiggle. All eyes and ears were on the exceptional artistry of Jazzy Ash & Leaping Lizards! There was something for everyone at this concert: the small and the big kids got to fully enjoy and experience the amazing talent of the musicians, New Orleans culture, and even learn a bit of Creole.

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REVIEW: New La Jolla Music Society Family Concerts are #SDMBApproved2020-02-14T09:27:52-08:00

REVIEW: In La Jolla Music Society concert, cellist Kian Soltani makes an exciting San Diego debut

San Diego Union Tribune
Christian Hertzog
January 27, 2020

Those unfamiliar with Soltani won’t soon forget his performance in The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center’s Baker Baum Concert Hall. He had irresistible charisma onstage and astounding technique.

La Jolla Music Society’s Discovery Series got off to a great start on Sunday afternoon, with cellist Kian Soltani and pianist Julio Elizalde playing Beethoven, Franck, Stravinsky and Pärt to a loudly appreciative full house.

Soltani — only 27 years old — may have been unknown here when the La Jolla Music Society booked him, but since 2018, he’s appeared on five recordings, three of those on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label, one of those an impressive solo album.

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REVIEW: In La Jolla Music Society concert, cellist Kian Soltani makes an exciting San Diego debut2020-01-27T15:56:45-08:00

REVIEW: Kian Soltani and Julio Elizalde Bring Brilliant Chamber Program to La Jolla

San Diego Story
Ken herman
January 27, 2020

If the goal of the La Jolla Music Society’s “Discovery Series” is to present highly promising young performers, Sunday’s (January 26) recital by cellist Kian Soltani and pianist Julio Elizalde made the best possible case for that premise. Their fiery but uncannily polished performance of Stravinsky, Beethoven, Pärt, and Franck thrilled the substantial afternoon crowd at the Baker-Baum Concert Hall.

I was immediately taken by the 27-year-old Soltani’s electric account of the Stravinsky Suite Italienne for Piano and Cello that opened their program. His lean, supple tone propelled each deftly delineated phrase of this neo-classical gem with an unswerving sense of purpose, an approach keenly paralleled by Elizalde at the piano. Their ferocious ostinatos in the “Tarantella” movement, for example, displayed a keen musical intuition that transcended their easily laudable technical prowess.

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REVIEW: Kian Soltani and Julio Elizalde Bring Brilliant Chamber Program to La Jolla2020-01-27T15:51:41-08:00

REVIEW: What’s Old is New Again: Martha Graham Dance

San Diego Story
Janis Steinberg
January 26, 2020

Fresh. Vital. These are not words I expected to use for the Martha Graham Dance Company’s performance at the Civic Theatre on Wednesday. Graham, the imperious mother of American modern dance, was long ago superseded by her rebellious children, former company members Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor; and later dance makers have moved even further from her often-overwrought style.

What a happy surprise, then, to see the exciting show the Graham company did here, performed by dancers who seemed enraptured by this work. The program, presented by the La Jolla Music Society, included three Graham dances from the 1930s and 40s. There was also a 2019 piece commission the very hot choreographer Pam Tanowitz, a brilliant choice by artistic director Janet Eilber. Although the Tanowitz dance showed a distinctly 21stcentury sensibility, it didn’t shove Graham into the dance-history dust heap. Rather, each woman’s work illuminated the other’s.

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REVIEW: What’s Old is New Again: Martha Graham Dance2020-01-27T15:47:46-08:00