San Diego Union Tribune
Christian Hertzog
August 5, 2019

La Jolla Music Society opens its annual SummerFest at its new home with a new music director, Inon Barnatan

Ever since losing access to Sherwood Auditorium in 2017, the La Jolla Music Society and its patrons have waited for the opening of the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. The center was inaugurated in April but not without growing pains as performers tested how to engage the lustrous acoustics of Baker-Baum Concert Hall.

On Friday night at Baker-Baum, donors were thanked, speeches were made, and finally pianist Inon Barnatan emerged to introduce his first concert as the new music director of SummerFest. It opened with a collection of compositions spanning 300 years called “The Time Traveler’s Suite,” beginning with the first movement of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 2,” performed by a 12-piece ensemble with E-flat clarinet substituting for the trumpet part and a bass clarinet most uncharacteristically added to the continuo line.

To paraphrase Dorothy, “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Sherwood anymore.”

For this listener, that’s great news. I marveled at the clarity of individual parts in Baker-Baum’s sparkling acoustics, the warmth of the strings, and a more subtle polish for the winds (without a pesky slap-back) than they ever received in Sherwood.

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