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

PREVIEW: Kian Soltani looks at the cello through the centuries

San Diego Union Tribune
Beth Wood
January 23, 2020

Cellist Kian Soltani has options of where to rest up from his busy touring schedule, which includes playing with such orchestras as the Vienna Philharmonic and Boston Symphony and such musical luminaries as pianist Daniel Barenboim and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

“Home base for me is several places,” said Soltani, who headlines La Jolla Music Society’s concert Sunday at The Conrad’s Baker-Baum Concert Hall. “One of them is Zurich, Switzerland, one of them is Vienna, Austria, and one of them is Berlin, Germany. And, of course, my parents’ house in Bregenz, Austria, which borders Switzerland. But Europe is not (that) big, so central Europe is my home base. It’s a wonderful place.”

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PREVIEW: Kian Soltani looks at the cello through the centuries2020-01-27T15:54:13-08:00

PREVIEW: Martha Graham Dance Co.’s ‘The Eve Project’ Kicks off ‘Women in Dance Series’ at Civic Theatre

San Diego Story
Kris Eitland
January 18, 2020

Known as the rebellious mother of modern dance, Martha Graham’s dances filled with flexed feet and jarring and trembling movements were once called ugly. She’s now considered one of the 20th Century’s most important artists.

Honoring her legacy, the Martha Graham Dance Company performs “The Eve Project,” a mix of her iconic works and new choreography on January 22, at the Civic Theatre, part of the Women in Dance series, presented by the La Jolla Music Society.

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PREVIEW: Martha Graham Dance Co.’s ‘The Eve Project’ Kicks off ‘Women in Dance Series’ at Civic Theatre2020-01-21T09:55:08-08:00

PREVIEW: Martha Graham’s legacy lives on in touring production

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Marcia Manna
January 16, 2020

In her time, Martha Graham was an American rebel with a cause, a pioneering dancer and choreographer who changed the landscape of modern dance.

Before her death in 1991 at age 96, she created nearly 200 choreographed works and garnered numerous awards (including the first Guggenheim Fellowship given to a dancer).

She also included African American and Asian dancers in her company, and her passionate, dramatic movement language is taught by dance companies worldwide.

The Martha Graham Dance Company, founded in 1926, continues her legacy with “The Eve Project,” a touring contemporary dance production presented by the La Jolla Music Society on Wednesday at the Civic Theatre.

The New York-based company is reviving a selection of Graham masterworks and presenting them along with works by notable contemporary choreographers.

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PREVIEW: Martha Graham’s legacy lives on in touring production2020-01-16T13:41:48-08:00

PRESS RELEASE: La Jolla Music Society Announces President/CEO Ted DeDee’s Departure at the End of the 51st Season

SAN DIEGO, CA — La Jolla Music Society (LJMS) President/CEO Ted DeDee announced that, for health reasons, his tenure with LJMS will conclude at the end of the historic first season at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, affectionately known as “The Conrad”. His final day will be June 30, 2020.

In making the announcement Ted DeDee said, “I am honored to have guided LJMS through an artistic and financially successful first season at The Conrad. Due to various health concerns, I decided that the end of the season would be the best time to step down from the position. My focus for the next six months will be to continue advancing the vital mission of LJMS. For example, we are in the midst of an exciting strategic planning process that will be a guide toward the future and will give the new President/CEO a great starting point. We are also deep in the planning process for SummerFest 2020 and will be announcing that stellar festival lineup soon. The future of LJMS is bright and it has been a privilege to play a role in pursuing that future.”

Steve Baum, Chair of the LJMS Board added, “On behalf of the entire LJMS Board of Directors and staff I want to thank Ted DeDee for his service. Ted, with his over 40 years of experience, has put together a thoughtful transition that will allow us ample time to do a search for a new President/CEO.  The success of The Conrad has created an exciting time for our organization and the President/CEO role will represent a great opportunity for new candidates.”

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About La Jolla Music Society

As one of Southern California’s leading presenters of world-class performing arts, La Jolla Music Society contributes to San Diego’s cultural vitality year-round through a rich variety of presentations, including classical, jazz, dance, as well as the new speaker series and family concerts. During the 2019-2020 Season, La Jolla Music Society will present the Martha Graham Dance Company, Academy of St Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell, Kenny Barron – Dave Holland Trio, National Geographic Live Speakers, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Pablo Sáinz Villegas, Hélène Grimaud, and Ranky Tanky among other artists both emerging and world-renowned. In addition to robust educational programs and community outreach, La Jolla Music Society produces SummerFest, a nationally recognized chamber music festival in August, featuring over 80 world-class artists, led by pianist Inon Barnatan as Music Director.

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PRESS RELEASE: La Jolla Music Society Announces President/CEO Ted DeDee’s Departure at the End of the 51st Season2020-01-03T15:24:10-08:00

ARTICLE: Best San Diego jazz concerts of 2019: Anat Cohen, Chick Corea, Diana Krall, Mark Dresser and more

The San Diego Union-Tribune
George Varga
December 19, 2019

The San Diego jazz scene had a number of major anniversaries — and a few debuts — worthy of celebration in 2019.

The La Jolla Athenaeum Music & Arts Library marked its 30th anniversary of jazz concerts, making it the longest-lived area jazz series to showcase national and international talent throughout the year. The second oldest series, not coincidentally, is Athenaeum Jazz at TSRI, which marked its 23rd year in 2019.

Both are expertly curated by Daniel Atkinson, who since 1989 has brought legends and rising young talents alike here and is also the founder of the 16-year-old UC San Diego Jazz Camp. Some of those once-rising talents, such as pianist Brad Mehldau and drum dynamo Antonio Sanchez, made their San Diego debuts under the auspices of the Athenaeum. Now, they appear set to become legends themselves.

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ARTICLE: Best San Diego jazz concerts of 2019: Anat Cohen, Chick Corea, Diana Krall, Mark Dresser and more2019-12-19T11:47:33-08:00

REVIEW: Show-stopping Spanish guitar star Pablo Sáinz Villegas says a firm ‘No!’ to candy at San Diego concert

The San Diego Union-Tribune
George Varga
December 8, 2019

The sweet sound of music on stage? Yes, please.

Candy consumption in the audience? Absolutely not.

That was the dual message conveyed by Spanish guitar star Pablo Sáinz Villegas during his sold-out Saturday night concert at the Baker-Baum Concert Hall at La Jolla’s new Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center.

The $82 million center, the new home of the La Jolla Music Society, opened in April. Sainz, 42, is the society’s first education ambassador in residence. Just seconds after the beginning of his Saturday performance here, the award-winning guitarist was unexpectedly provided a teachable moment by one of the members of his audience, which included the society’s new music director, Inon Barnatan.

The subject at hand? Candy.

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REVIEW: Show-stopping Spanish guitar star Pablo Sáinz Villegas says a firm ‘No!’ to candy at San Diego concert2019-12-09T09:09:47-08:00

ARTICLE: “We shine a beam of light” on Beethoven quartets – Danish String Quartet in La Jolla this month

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Garrett Harris
November 22, 2019

The Danish String Quartet is in residency at The La Jolla Music Society from November 16 through November 23. They are presenting five concerts as a part of their Prism project. The players in the quartet are Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violin; Frederik Øland, violin; Asbjørn Nørgaard, viola; Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, cello.

I sat down with the quartet after their concert on Sunday, November 17, to discuss what Prism is. Violist Asbjørn Nørgaard explains:

“It’s a series of concerts that focuses on the late string quartets by Beethoven. There are five of them and they’re quite famous in the string quartet world, infamous almost. It’s a project which is centered around those pieces. Usually one of those quartets is the conclusion of the concert. It is the summit of the mountain. Our idea is to put one of those quartets in the middle like a prism. We shine a beam of light on them from Bach and this beam of light, or music, is then split into several directions. It’s a way to re-contextualize Beethoven.”

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ARTICLE: “We shine a beam of light” on Beethoven quartets – Danish String Quartet in La Jolla this month2019-12-09T11:12:44-08:00