The Persistence of Memory

For La Jolla Symphony & Chorus’ 2018-2019 season, Music Director Steven Schick has chosen an encompassing theme entitled “Lineage: A Memory Project.” As Schick explains,

A critical component to living an ethical life is how we remember, how we create lineage. It answers important questions: Who are we? To what echoes of our history do we resonate and how do we memorialize them? And, most importantly, what do we need to do today so that, in the future, we will be remembered by someone who will recognize herself in her memories of us; who will examine her lineage through our lives and be grateful?

This concept guided Schick when programming the season’s concerts, as he sought to highlight linkages between seemingly disparate composers and styles. The inaugural concert, also titled “Lineage,” is a case in point, as it unites three composers widely separated by era, location, upbringing, native culture, and modality.

The first offering, “Lineage,” is by young Canadian composer Zosha di Castri. According to di Castri the piece was inspired by the memories her Italian immigrant grandparents shared with her as a little girl in Alberta, against which she contrasts the noises and rhythms of her contemporary life. Di Castri invites the listener to dive under the work’s modernist surface to discover the echoes of a vanished era; some effort is required to sift through the shifting textures and impermanent rhythms to reach memory’s deep core, but the rewards are great.

Like di Castri’s composition, Tan Dun’s innovative “Concerto for Water Percussion and Orchestra” evokes the past, in this case the composer’s childhood in rural China. Tan Dun considers the sound of water to be universal and fundamental, even primal, to the human experience; after all, the aqueous environment of the womb is the first sound we hear, and a connection to the Earth’s oceans and waterways is hardwired into mankind’s DNA. Accompanying the sounds of water, as played by three featured percussionists, are the metallic sounds of spiritual rituals and the suggestion of chants conveyed by voice-like effects in the orchestra. All combine to portray a culture that is at once ancient and contemporary, but always rooted in immutable truths.

Composed for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Igor Stravinsky’s beloved “Petrushka” draws upon memories of Stravinsky’s youth, in particular the Shrovetide Fairs popular in rural Russia and the Ukraine. The music tells the story of three puppets whose tangled love affairs and jealousies result in tragedy. Mixed with this narrative are the sounds of festival barkers and fair-goers and traces of Russian folk melodies, all melded together in a style that pointed the way for composers who followed.

Taken together, these three pieces make a strong case that music in all its forms is a most effective means for recognizing and celebrating our diverse lineages.

Watch Lineage – La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

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

Why We Make Music

Is it possible to define music? What is its utility? What needs does it serve? Does it have survival value? Is it biologically necessary? Are humans inherently musical?

In the second installment of the fascintating “To Be Musical” series, saxophonist and educator David Borgo uses audio and video examples from around the globe and draws on historical, psychological, neurological and cultural research on music making to explore why we make music, ultimately arguing that music is a universal human phenomenon, but not a universal language.

Don’t miss “To Be Musical: David Borgo,” airing on UCSD-TV and available online.

If you missed the series debut, “On the Bridge: The Beginnings of Contemporary Percussion Music” with the incomparable Steven Schick, you can watch it at the series page, where you’ll also see what’s to come in the rest of this 6-part series, presented by UC San Diego’s Eleanor Roosevelt College.

Steven Schick: Percussion as 'Physical Art'

Ever wonder what makes music, well, musical? Then don’t miss “To Be Musical,” a fascinating new series from UC San Diego’s Eleanor Roosevelt College that welcomes professors of music, literature and psychology to decode the mysteries of music and its effect on our brains, our emotions and our lives.

The first installment is a must-watch. Renowned percussionist Steven Schick explores the origins and global development of percussion-based composition as a “physical art.” Schick’s captivating presentation is airing all this week on UCSD-TV — or watch it online right here and now!

And make sure to tune in Feb 19 at 9pm when saxophonist and educator David Borgo explores why we make music, ultimately arguing that music is a universal human phenomenon but not a universal language.

To Be Musical: Steven Schick

February 2013 News & Highlights

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FEATURED THIS MONTH

The Career Channel: Bridge to Better Employment

If you or someone you know is a recent college graduate or a graduate in career transition, then stop by UCTV’s newly launched CareerChannel, powered by the employment experts at UC San Diego Extension. As an unbiased provider of information, tools and experts, the channel aims to help job-seekers identify newly emerging areas of career opportunity and to develop paths and plans for necessary reskilling through research, reporting and public dialogue presented through video, radio and print. Check it out today and stay tuned for new programs about the ever-evolving career marketplace!

The Career Channel


To Be Musical

Don’t miss this fascinating series from UC San Diego’s Eleanor Roosevelt College examining exactly what it is that makes music,musical. Professors of music, literature and psychology decode the mysteries of music and its effect on our brains, our emotions and our lives. The series kicks off this month with renowned percussionist Steven Schick and saxophonist and educator David Borgo.

To Be Musical

Lifting the Blanket: Pursuit of a Climate Change Solution

Beginning his career as an engineer at a refrigeration plant in India, Veerabhadran Ramanathan went on to make one of the most important climate change discoveries when he identified chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as even larger contributors to global warming than the previously identified culprit, carbon dioxide. This four-part series from UCTV’s YouTube original channel, UCTV Prime, follows the Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist’s remarkable path that changed the face of climate change research and has introduced possibilities for human-scale solutions.

Lifting the Blanket: Pursuit of a Climate Change Solution


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

All programs repeat throughout the month. Visit the Program Schedule on our web site for additional air dates and times.

Health & Medicine

The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life

Shoulder Injury – Health Matters

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Science

CARTA: The Evolution of Human Nutrition

Exploring the Abyss: The Deep Sea Challenge Expedition

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Public Affairs

Founders’ Symposium 2012

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Humanities Humanities

Black History Month on UCTV

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Arts & Music Arts & Music

San Diego Opera Stars in the Salon: Samson & Delilah

Opera Spotlight: Samson & Delilah

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Check out the latest additions to our online video archive

Rachel Carson’s Legacy: Finding the Wisdom and Insight for Global Environmental Citizenship

Rossini: Overture to “The Barber of Seville” – La Jolla Music Society SummerFest

More videos and podcasts>>