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.

It's SummerFest Season!

Summer wouldn’t be the same without La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest!

Every year La Jolla Music Society orchestrates three weeks of chamber music concerts with world famous musicians who not only perform original works but participate in discussions, give lectures and coaching sessions for younger musicians, and attend social events.

UCSD-TV has been capturing these musical moments since the 1999 SummerFest season and all of these performances are archived on our website.

SummerFest, led by violinist Cho-Liang Lin, delves into the story and art behind the musical pieces with pre-concert talks and interviews with the artists.

Get ready for the upcoming season of SummerFest with this past episode, featuring “Wayne Shorter’s Terra Incognita, 2006.” Shorter discusses his inspirations for his famous “Terra Incognita” as well as the Imani Winds quintet describing their experience playing the piece.

See what other musicians have been a part of the chamber music celebration in the SummerFest Series!

Summer(Fest) is Still in the Air – Starting Tonight!

Sure, the days are getting shorter, but the spirit of summer is still going strong on UCSD-TV with the premiere of three programs from La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest 2012 season.

The excitement kicks off tonight, October 5, at 8pm with Tan Dun’s Water Passion, a multicultural/multimedia oratorio, written by the acclaimed Chinese composer to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of J.S. Bach, whose “St. Matthew Passion” provided the initial inspiration for this work.  The music is a theatrical  mix of water bowls, drums, strings, Tibetan bells, chants, digital sounds, Chinese opera and Tuvan throat singing, with a dash of jazz and postmodernism, all filtered through Tan Dun’s adventurous sensibility.

Then tune in next Friday, October 12, at 8pm for Commissions & Premieres, part of SummerFest’s long tradition of showcasing new works. This year’s program includes stimulating pieces by American composers Gabriel Kahane, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Aaron Jay Kernis, and French composer Marc-Andre Dalbavie.

Finally, on October 19, there’s the Finale Concert, featuring 38 of the world’s best chamber and symphonic musicians as the SummerFest Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of celebrated conductor Kent Nagano.  The eclectic program includes Rossini’s beloved “Overture to The Barber of Seville,” Beethoven’s viruoso “Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major,” Maurer’s surprising “Sinfonia Concertante in A Minor for Four Violins and Strings,” and Mendelssohn’s  colorful “Symphony No. 4 in A Major.”

All programs repeat throughout the month and will be available online by their premiere date.

If you’re still not ready to let summer go, visit our SummerFest series page, where you can find video of performances and behind-the-scenes interviews going all the way back to 1999. That should keep you warm during the winter!

La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest 2012: Tan Dun’s Water Passion