La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest: Evolution in Music

8232An anonymous wag once dubbed chamber music “Short Attention Span Classical Music.” Clever, perhaps, but grossly simplistic. What the best chamber pieces lack in length compared to, say, a symphony or an opera is more than compensated by their complexity and depth.

Chamber music originated as divertimenti for the aristocracy, but over its four hundred-year history the genre has adapted to encompass new schools of thought as music itself evolved. From its inception composers have considered chamber music as fertile ground for exploration and experimentation in both form and instrumentation, refining existing styles while creating new ones. Many of these composers, such as Beethoven and Brahms, would employ the lessons learned creating chamber pieces to great effect in their larger works, and chamber music remains an excellent means for young composers to find their voice and for musicians to hone their chops.

All of which is by way of noting that La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, now in its 29th year, epitomizes the afore-mentioned history, breadth and diversity of chamber music, as evidenced by the three UCSD-TV programs which represent this year’s festival. The first, “Viennese Masters,” presents works by three fabled citizens of that “City of Musicians” writing in the recognizably “classical” forms they helped to define. The second, “In Memory,” features early 20th and 21st-century composers who stretch and, at times, gently subvert the old forms in their quest for new expressions of melodicism. The third program, “Music of Our Time,” showcases four renowned contemporary composers premiering adventurous works of great melodic and rhythmic complexity that are nevertheless accessible.

If you’re a fan of chamber music you’ll find much here to delight, and if new to the genre there is no better introduction than La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest.

La Jolla Music Society SummerFest: Musical Crossroads

Enjoy the last moments of Summer with UCSD-TV’s coverage of this year’s La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest!

UCSD-TV has been filming this annual three week festival of chamber music since 1999 and archives of these past performances can be found in our La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest Series.

This year’s SummerFest did not disappoint with world premieres by three Pulitzer Prize-winning American composers: Steven Stucky, David Del Tredici and John Harbison.

Watch “La Jolla Music Society SummerFest: Musical Crossroads” to also see the “Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion” by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok.

Watch other great chamber music concerts in the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest Series.