Young People’s Concert

“My music is best understood by children and animals.”
– Igor Stravinsky

Each year the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus inaugurates its new season with a presentation for San Diego-area students. The Young People’s Concert, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla and hosted by Music Director/Conductor Steven Schick, aims to introduce students to the symphony and encourage an active interest in music. Schick guides the audience through the intricacies of the orchestra by means of excerpts from two works appearing on the full concert program, Tan Dun’s “Concerto for Water Percussion and Orchestra” (also known simply as the “Water Concerto”) and Igor Stravinsky’s “Petrushka.”

Though very different in form and style, these pieces are each reflective of the overall theme Schick has chosen for the 2018/19 season: Lineage. Tan Dun drew inspiration for the “Water Concerto” from his childhood in rural China, noting the paramount importance of water in everyday life and, indeed, as the source of life itself. In that sense water becomes a truly universal instrument, one instantly familiar to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Set half a world away, Stravinsky’s “Petrushka” evokes childhood memories of Russian Shrovetide fairs, and in particular the puppet theater that was a popular feature of those festivals. Originally written as a ballet for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, “Petrushka” went on to become a concert staple and one of Stravinsky’s most beloved scores.

Between excerpts Schick and orchestra musicians answer questions from the audience, such as “Why does the harp have different color strings?” (an excellent question) and “How long have the violinists been playing?” This interactivity, sadly uncommon in orchestral music circles, de-mystifies symphonic practice for the uninitiated and helps the students to gain an appreciation for the process of rehearsing and performing as a unified ensemble. Throughout, Steven Schick emphasizes the joy to be found both in collaboration and in active listening.

Watch Young People’s Concert 2018 – La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

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