SummerFest 2020 Reimagined


We invite you to join us for La Jolla Music Society’s re-imagined SummerFest, August 21-29, 2020. SummerFest Music Director, Inon Barnatan, has assembled a small but mighty all-star roster of old friends and new faces to bring to life the most beloved pieces from the chamber music canon. Superstar cellists Alisa Weilerstein and Clive Greensmith, violinist/violist extraordinaire Yura Lee, and one of the most sought after violinists on the international stage, James Ehnes—all festival favorites—join GRAMMY© nominated violinist Tessa Lark and multi-talented bassist Michael Thurber in their festival debuts.

From iconic and uplifting works by Schubert and Mendelssohn, to Barnatan’s signature arrangements of symphonic works for chamber ensemble, we hope to leave you elated and feeling at home again. We know SummerFest 2020 will deliver the artistry and excellence you have come to expect from La Jolla Music Society.

We eagerly await the opportunity to share music with you, our cherished SummerFest family and friends. Until then!


SummerFest 2020 Artist Roster:

Inon Barnatan, Music Director & piano:
Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three after his parents discovered he had perfect pitch, and he made his orchestral debut at age 11. His musical education connects him to some of the 20th century’s most illustrious pianists and teachers: he studied first with Professor Victor Derevianko, who, himself, studied with the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus; and in 1997 he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Maria Curcio – a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel – and with Christopher Elton. This summer is Barnatan’s second as La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest Music Director.

James Ehnes, violin:
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favorite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors. Ehnes began violin studies at the age of four, became a protege of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin aged nine, made his orchestral debut with Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal aged 13 and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music.

Clive Greensmith, cello:
Clive Greensmith was a member of the world-renowned Tokyo String Quartet from 1999 until 2013, giving over one hundred performances each year in the most prestigious international venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna Musikverein, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. As a soloist, Greensmith has performed with the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and Rome’s RAI orchestras, among others. He is Professor of Cello at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. Greensmith performs regularly with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and is a founding member of the Montrose Trio, alongside Jon Kimura Parker and Martin Beaver.

Tessa Lark, violin:
Violinist Tessa Lark, recipient of a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Silver Medalist in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition, is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time. A budding superstar in the classical realm, she is also a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky. Since making her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at sixteen, Lark has appeared with dozens of orchestras, festivals, and recital venues including Carnegie Hall, Ravinia, San Francisco Performances, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and Marlboro Music.

Yura Lee, violin & viola:
Few in the world have mastery of both violin and viola, Yura Lee actively performs each equally and is one of the most versatile and compelling artists today. Her two-decade-plus-long international career includes performances as both a soloist and as a chamber musician. Her many honors include first prize in Viola at the 2013 ARD Competition in Germany and a 2007 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Lee studied at The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Salzburg Mozarteum and Kronberg Academy. She teaches both violin and viola at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and lives in Portland, Oregon.

Michael Thurber, bass:
Acclaimed composer and bassist Michael Thurber’s musical career defies categorization. From composing for The Royal Shakespeare Company, co-founding the smash YouTube channel CDZA, and creating his Thurber Theater? variety show at Joe’s Pub, to teaching at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute and performing in the house band on ?The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,? as well as around the country in duo with violinist Tessa Lark, Thurber’s musical journey has been remarkably singular. Thurber serves proudly on the Board Of Directors for NPR’s From The Top and studied music at The Interlochen Arts Academy and The Juilliard School.

Alisa Weilerstein, cello:
“A young cellist whose emotionally resonant performances of both traditional and contemporary music have earned her international recognition, Weilerstein is a consummate performer, combining technical precision with impassioned musicianship,” stated the MacArthur Foundation, when awarding American cellist Alisa Weilerstein a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship. In the 2018-19 season, Weilerstein released Transfigured Night on the Pentatone label, joined by Norway’s Trondheim Soloists for three masterworks of the First and Second Viennese Schools: Haydn’s First and Second Cello Concertos and Schoenberg’s Verkla?rte Nacht, from which the album takes its title.