Chamber music, composers and “the cream of the crop” at SummerFest

“It’s a very addictive thing to do,” said music director Inon Barnatan of the La Jolla Music Society’s annual SummerFest.

summer festival is a month-long series of dozens of chamber music concerts, forums, events and public rehearsals. Chamber music is a style of performance using smaller ensembles, usually (but not always) in more intimate settings – be it the chamber of a palace or a room in a house.

La Jolla Music Society’s main stage, the recently opened Baker-Baum Concert Hall, feels grand in style and acoustics, though shaped and sized to feel intimate enough for chamber performances.

“For many composers, chamber music was like a diary. It was where their intimate, private thoughts were expressed through intimate, private means. That, I think, is some of the things that make them so powerful, so poignant,” Barnatan said. .

This is not far from the experiences of chamber music performers and audiences.

“The intimate experience of just being there with just a few people, and the immediacy of that communication, where everyone is the best of the best. It’s kind of like the difference between going to the little ensemble show and a great Broadway musical. They’re totally different things, and you can like both,” Barnatan said.

Courtesy of LJMS

The artistic director of La Jolla Music Society SummerFest is shown in an undated photo.

Barnatan, who is originally from Israel but is now based in New York, participated in the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest program as a performer for years. In 2019 he was asked to take on the role of Music Director and navigated the festival through virtual production in 2020 and return to live audiences in 2021.

“I had a normal year. But I actually enjoyed every year, even 2020, when we were doing live shows from the Conrad with just seven artists,” Barnatan said. “Just everything about it has been very difficult and very wonderful.”

A composer-focused program

The theme for the 2022 festival is “Under the Influence”, something Barnatan admits is broad enough not to be stuffy or formulaic, but still a fun challenge to put together a program. This year’s concerts are studies of the influences of each composer or work.

If the musicians and the music will be at the heart of each performance, the composers and the repertoire are at the heart of the conception of the festival. As well as a wide range of works from the Elizabethan period to contemporary works, several living composers are also featured.

Composer Caroline Shaw sits by a garden wall, smiling and looking at the camera.  She has short, light brown hair and fair skin, and wears a white t-shirt.

Courtesy of LJMS

Composer Caroline Shaw is seen in an undated photo.

Composer Caroline Shawwinner of a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Grammy Awards, is a “Composer-in-Residence” and will even host a takeover one night, Wednesday, August 24.

In a two-part concert, the Miro Quartet premiere “Microfictions”, a piece Shaw wrote for the band, then Shaw will join them on viola to perform Mendelssohn’s “String Quintet No. 2″. Later in the evening, across the courtyard from the Conrad in the JAI room, Shaw will host a cabaret-style evening – including his own work”Thousandth Orange“.

“She’s put together a program of her music and other music. She’s been given carte blanche for an hour, and she’s going to present it, be there, sing and play — and I’m going to be there,” Barnatan said.

More highlights: Paris, dancing and lots of clarinets

Another highlight of the four-week festival is “A Weekend in Paris”, which runs from August 5-7. Barnatan said they collected works from important cultural periods in Paris between the mid-1800s and the mid-1900s: from “La Belle Époque” (the beautiful period) to “Les Années Folles” (the Roaring Twenties). .

A night touches the salons and masquerades in Parisincluding works by Chopin, Debussy and Ravel, and André Caplet”Fantasy Tale‘, which pays homage to Poe’s ‘Mask of the Red Death’ and other works.

Another focuses on the famous The Paris Conservatorywith works by Debussy, Franck, Fauré, Messiaen (who taught at the conservatory until the 1970s) and “Nocturne” by Lili Boulanger.

The third performance on the theme of Paris illustrates how French composers borrowed from all over the world in compositions, with works by Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Couperin and many others.

The opening weekend will include Friday’s concert centered around compositions or collaborative works – including a work by Carl Czerny for four pianos“that I hope we can get on stage,” Barnatan said.

Also opening weekend, Saturday’s “Point Counterpoint” features a co-commission from La Jolla Music Society and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which creates a new video set for contemporary composer Steve Reich’s clarinet piece. , “New York Counterpoint.”

Cécile McLorin Salvant is leaning against a window sill, one hand under her chin.  She wears a black skirt, a white tank top and lightly framed round glasses.  She has dark skin and her hair is cut close to her head.

Courtesy of LJMS

Jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant is shown in an undated photo.

Reich wrote the piece for a single clarinet player by electronically layering his own recordings until it was a 12-track chorus of instruments. For the commission, they filmed several clarinetists, synchronized in a single video, with New York Philharmonic principal clarinetist Anthony McGill performing his role live on stage.

The festival’s Synergy Series brings together chamber music with jazz, theatre, dance and other artistic mediums for a handful of special performances. There is a showcase with jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant on August 17. On August 20 and 21, several performances with the popular orchestral ensemble The Knights and the performance group Dance Heginbotham, collaborate on a chamber arrangement of “The Planets” by Gustav Holst.

SummerFest runs from July 29 to August 26, 2022 at the La Jolla Music Society’s Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center.

La Jolla Music Society SummerFest 2022

Friday July 29, 2022 at 12 p.m.

Until August 26, 2022

Conrad Prebys Center for the Performing Arts

$30 – $130

La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest returns to The Conrad, extended to four glorious weeks! Music director Inon Barnatan has created an ambitious program, evocatively titled ‘Under the Influence’, exploring the muses who seduced and inspired some of the greatest composers in music history. During the Festival, we will hear the magnetic effect of Wagner and JS Bach on their peers, travel to the salons of Paris and discover the sins and joyful pranks of Kurt Weill and Strauss. We’ll spend a unique, genre-defying week with opera stars, dancers and jazz luminaries, and go further under the influence of a new Wednesday series without intermission that will welcome audiences to the worlds of Shakespeare, Vivaldi and many more, followed by a social and culinary experience in the Wu Tsai QRT.yrd.Garrick Ohlsson, Augustin Hadelich, Liza Ferschtman, Marc-André Hamelin, Caroline Shaw, Carter Brey, Joyce Yang, Anthony Roth Costanzo , Cécile McLorin Salvant, the Dover and Miró Quartets, and many more amazing artists will join us in La Jolla for a festival you won’t want to miss! The “Under the Influence” music festival will run from Friday, July 29 through Friday, August 26 at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. Check out the full SumerFest 2022 lineup here! Get tickets for three events and get a special discount. For more information, please visit or call (858) 459-3728.

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