MEDIA ARCHIVE

REVIEW: At SummerFest, virtuosic Flux Quartet successfully premieres engaging works by Ichiyanagi and Steiger

San Diego Union-Tribune
Christian Hertzog
August 12, 2018

La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest may be associated with Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart, but under the curation of Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin, it’s also been a showcase for some of our best living composers.

On Thursday and Friday evenings in Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, the Flux Quartet premiered two intriguing string quartets by Toshi Ichiyanagi and UC San Diego professor Rand Steiger.

Ichiyanagi was well known in American contemporary music circles in the 1960s as John Cage’s foremost Japanese disciple. But in the ’70s, he returned to traditionally notated music and in due time incorporated literal repetition into his music — a cardinal sin for Modernism. Perhaps not coincidentally, his music received fewer performances in the United States.

Commissioned for SummerFest, his String Quartet No. 5 made its world premiere Friday evening — performed by the Flux Quartet and making a guest appearance in a concert with ultra-conservative compositions by Dvorak and Max Bruch. It’s a substantial work: three movements in roughly 18 minutes.

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REVIEW: At SummerFest, virtuosic Flux Quartet successfully premieres engaging works by Ichiyanagi and Steiger 2018-08-13T09:14:31+00:00

REVIEW: The FLUX Quartet, SummerFest’s Powerful Champions of the Avant Garde

San Diego Story
Ken Herman
August 10, 2018

As a salute to the UC San Diego Department of Music, SummerFest’s host for most of the 2018 music festival’s concerts, Music Director Cho-Liang Lin featured two of the university’s resident composers in his festival’s annual program of contemporary music. Rand Steiger’s new work “Tropes” and Lei Liang’s 2005 “Serashi Fragments” communicated that austere, under-the-microscope, post-serial intensity that UC San Diego composers have championed ever since Bernard Rands left for Harvard and Roger Reynolds ascended the compositional throne in the 1980s.

Lin wisely engaged the FLUX Quartet to deliver this formidable program, which they accomplished with zeal and evident relish, spurred by the edgy, resonant sonority of Felix Fan’s insistent cello and Max Mandel’s unrelenting viola. FLUX Quartet is America’s brawny answer to Britain’s effete Arditti Quartet.

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REVIEW: The FLUX Quartet, SummerFest’s Powerful Champions of the Avant Garde 2018-08-15T16:44:47+00:00

REVIEW: Leonard Bernstein, a Family Remembrance at La Jolla SummerFest

San Diego Story
Ken Herman
August 10, 2018

Even if the classical music community were not observing Leonard Bernstein’s centennial year, Nina Bernstein Simmons’ program “Late Night with Leonard Bernstein” would have provided a well-spent evening. The late musician’s youngest daughter narrated an affectionate memoir of her father, expanded with performances of a cache of Bernstein’s shorter, earlier compositions and other music he loved performed on the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall stage by pianists John Musto and Michael Boriskin and soprano Amy Burton.

For the daughter, “late night” meant either Bernstein taking command of rollicking Manhattan parties, playing and improvising at the piano for a roomful of adoring guests into the wee hours of the morning or the solitary composer working late at his craft with no one to distract him. For those of us who know more than a little of the Bernstein biography, “late night with Leonard Bernstein” conjures other activities, although none of these crept into the narrative, even by oblique allusion.

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REVIEW: Leonard Bernstein, a Family Remembrance at La Jolla SummerFest 2018-08-15T16:39:41+00:00

PREVIEW: For his final SummerFest, Cho-Liang Lin compiles an adventurous ‘Playlist’ of his favorite works

San Diego Union-Tribune
Beth Wood
August 8, 2018

Because this season of La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest is Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin’s last as music director, all the concerts will have special resonance to them. But there’s one that will likely stand out.

In curating “My Favorite Playlist,” which will be performed Tuesday at Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, Lin was especially adventurous in his selections.

“I love this program,” he said, speaking from Chamber Music Northwest in Portland last month. “It’s not your meat-and-potatoes Beethoven and Mozart concert. It’s really something unusual. And all the musicians are truly first-class. I’m excited to be in the audience for this concert.”

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PREVIEW: For his final SummerFest, Cho-Liang Lin compiles an adventurous ‘Playlist’ of his favorite works 2018-08-09T09:12:25+00:00

REVIEW: Mendelssohn Quintet shines in SummerFest’s ‘Music from the Heart’

San Diego Union-Tribune
Marcus Overton
August 8, 2018

Felix Mendelssohn was not content merely to accept music as he found it (and he found it early, composing brilliant string symphonies before he entered his teens, and a masterpiece — the Octet for Strings — before he turned 20). Before his too-early death, at 38 in 1847, he had grabbed music by the throat and decisively changed the course of the art form as a conductor, educator, administrator and performer.

In a way, Mendelssohn is still with us, dropping buzz-bombs of energy wherever a group of dedicated musicians open a window into the past and show us that great art, no matter how old, is always new.

That’s what happened on Tuesday evening at La Jolla Music Society SummerFest’s “Music from the Heart” concert when violinists Paul Huang and Anna Lee, violists Tien Hsien Cindy Wu and Heiichiro Ohyama, and cellist Hai-Ye Ni came onstage in UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall and set the place on fire with Mendelssohn’s Opus 87 String Quintet.

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REVIEW: Mendelssohn Quintet shines in SummerFest’s ‘Music from the Heart’ 2018-08-08T15:04:56+00:00

REVIEW: La Jolla SummerFest Opens with a Sophisticated Musical Menagerie

San Diego Story
Ken Herman
August 5, 2018

This season of La Jolla SummerFest brings down the curtain on Music Director Cho-Liang Lin’s superb 18-year tenure with the festival. From the evidence of Friday’s (August 3) opening night concert at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, he is not leaving quietly.

At the heart of this luxurious chamber program—which began with Béla Bartók’s overwhelming “Contrasts” for clarinet, violin, and piano and ended with the entertaining Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns—we heard two of the Heitor Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras suites, No. 1 and No. 5. Although the composer’s fame rests heavily on these suites that fuse elements of Brazilian folk music with Bachian counterpoint, aficionados rarely hear them live because each requires eight cellists.

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REVIEW: La Jolla SummerFest Opens with a Sophisticated Musical Menagerie 2018-08-08T14:51:07+00:00

PREVIEW: La Jolla Music Society honors Leonard Bernstein with ‘Late Night’ concert

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Beth Wood
August 5, 2018

Some people connect the term “late night” with television talk shows, but for the iconic conductor, composer and pianist Leonard Bernstein, “late night” was a way of life. Most famous for creating the music of the 1957 Broadway hit “West Side Story,” which became a 1962 Oscar-winning movie, Bernstein was one of the first American-born conductors to receive international fame.

“Dad was a hopeless insomniac,” said his youngest daughter, Nina Bernstein Simmons, from her home in SoHo. She will host the La Jolla Music Society’s “Late Night with Leonard Bernstein” SummerFest concert Wednesday at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall.

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PREVIEW: La Jolla Music Society honors Leonard Bernstein with ‘Late Night’ concert 2018-08-08T14:55:02+00:00

REVIEW: La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest begins in high spirits with a musical carnival

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Christian Hertzog
August 4, 2018

Pop the Champagne and cut the cake, SummerFest is here!

With its informal atmosphere and roster of musical stars, the La Jolla Music Society’s August festival has always had the flavor of a party, but its 32nd edition is a special celebration indeed. This year’s SummerFest will be the last one curated by violinist Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin.

Friday night’s opening concert at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall was a fine display of Lin’s programming skill, combining dissimilar composers in a highly gratifying way.

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REVIEW: La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest begins in high spirits with a musical carnival 2018-08-08T14:54:39+00:00

REVIEW: La Jolla SummerFest Off to Brilliant Start for Jimmy Lin’s Final Season

Times of San Diego
Barry Jagoda
August 4, 2018

The La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest 2018 got off to a brilliant start with a rendition of Béla Bartók’s Contrasts performed by world-class clarinetist Anthony McGill, along with dynamic pianist Shai Wosner and young star Paul Huang playing the violin.

Such a compelling beginning for this year’s festival was appropriate, marking the 18th and final season presented by Music Director Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin.

Bartok’s Contrasts was performed at the very first festival in 1986, according to Scholar-in-Residence Eric Bromberger, but the piece could not have been delivered then with such skill as by the players Friday night.

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REVIEW: La Jolla SummerFest Off to Brilliant Start for Jimmy Lin’s Final Season 2018-08-08T14:55:29+00:00

ARTICLE: Leonard’s daughter remembers her dad in La Jolla Music Society show

La Jolla Light
Corey Levitan
August 1, 2018

Leonard Bernstein was one of the most important classical conductors and composers of the 20th century, and the first American to enjoy rock-star status in the role. If directing the New York Philharmonic from 1958 to 1972 wasn’t enough — and it was — Bernstein also scored the Broadway musicals “West Side Story” and “Candide.”

To Nina Bernstein Simmons, however, he was just dad.On Aug. 8 at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall — in what would have been its subject’s 100th year — Simmons hosts “Late Night With Leonard Bernstein.” Named for her father’s penchant for playing music and entertaining friends into the wee morning hours, the multimedia celebration — part of the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest season — features Nina’s favorite memories brought to musical life by soprano Amy Burton and pianists John Musto and Michael Boriskin.

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ARTICLE: Leonard’s daughter remembers her dad in La Jolla Music Society show 2018-08-08T14:53:25+00:00