With featured composer John Luther Adams, San Diego links, environmental connections
La Jolla, Calif. (March 24, 2015) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) announces its 2015-2016 season themed “Soundscape San Diego: exploration and remembrance,” a six-concert subscription series plus two free concert events. Season highlights offer three works by visiting composer John Luther Adams, including Sila: The Breath of the World performed in Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden and his 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean; a choreographed version of Igor Stravinsky’s Persephone with Lux Boreal Dance Company of Tijuana; Michael Gordon and Bill Morrison’s haunting, multimedia depiction of early New York City, Gotham; and exciting guest artists including pianists Aleck Karis and Lisa Moore, Alice Teyssier (as narrator in Persephone), and singers Janelle DeStefano and Darren Chase (son of choral director David Chase).
“Starting with Adams’ Sila, going through the two pieces about the ocean (Adams and Debussy), two premieres by composers with San Diego connections, and pieces about remembering the end of the Second World War in a military town… ‘Soundscape San Diego: exploration and remembrance’ feels just right to me,” says Music Director Steven Schick of the season’s theme. “The big thrust of the season will be to encourage people to listen to their environment. We'll reflect that in programming on every concert.”
(Summary concert listing at end of press announcement)
The season begins with two non-subscription concert events that are free and open to the public. On Sunday, September 27 at 2:00 pm, up to 80 musicians from LJS&C will perform John Luther Adams’ site-determined work Sila: The Breath of the World at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. This 70-minute piece, performed in celebration of the park’s centennial year, has instrumental and choral musicians dispersed throughout the garden, encouraging audiences to what Adams describes as “ecological listening and a deeper relationship with the world we inhabit.” On Friday, October 30 (7:00-8:00 pm) LJS&C offers its third annual Young People’s Concert in Mandeville Auditorium, featuring Edgard Varèse’s Tuning Up and excerpts from Brahms’ First Piano Concerto.
October 31-November 1, 2015: Steven Schick conductor
The 61st season opens with a program of unusual variety and emotional depth. It begins with Edgard Varèse’s Tuning Up, a wry commentary on orchestras and audiences, and continues with perhaps the mightiest piano concerto ever written. Aleck Karis will be the soloist in Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1. The program concludes with John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Says Adams: “My hope is that the music creates a strange, beautiful, overwhelming–sometimes even frightening–landscape, and invites you to get lost in it.”
December 5-6, 2015: Steven Schick conductor
An ABC of American composers: Adams, Barber, and Copland. The concert opens with John Luther Adams’ ethereal study of orchestral color The Light That Fills the World, continues with Samuel Barber’s moving Prayers of Kierkegaard with chorus (based in part on Gregorian Chant), and concludes with Aaron Copland’s triumphant Third Symphony, written at the end of World War II. Also on the program is the premiere of a work by this season’s Thomas Nee Commission winner, Ori Talmon, who is completing his doctorate at UCSD.
February 6-7, 2016: Steven Schick conductor
A study in colors, moods, and history. We begin with György Ligeti’s revolutionary Atmosphères (used by Stanley Kubrick in the film 2001) and conclude with Claude Debussy’s magnificent evocation of the power of the sea, La Mer. In between come Philip Glass’ Piano Concerto No. 2, inspired by the journey of Lewis and Clark, with soloist Lisa Moore, and the premiere of Erik Griswold’s colorful orchestral work Jeux à la fin du monde (Games at the end of the world), itself inspired by the music of Debussy and Lutoslawski.
March 12-13, 2016: Steven Schick conductor
A multi-media concert in many senses of that term. The first half offers Gotham, a 2004 joint production by filmmaker Bill Morrison and composer Michael Gordon. Using archival footage of New York City, Gotham combines film, projectors, lighting and orchestra to create a haunting impression of that city. Igor Stravinsky’s opulent Persephone, which the composer described as a “melodrama,” sets a text by André Gide that tells of the descent of the goddess Persephone into the underworld and her return. For this presentation we will be joined by the Lux Boreal Dance Company, a narrator, a tenor soloist, and a children’s choir.
April 30-May 1, 2016: Rodrigo Ruiz, guest conductor
Our 2014 Young Artists Competition winner, Andrea Fortier, performs Béla Bartók’s valedictory Viola Concerto: Bartók was working on this music when he died, and it was completed from his sketches. Guest conductor Rodrigo Ruiz surrounds the concerto with two great Russian symphonies: Dmitri Shostakovich’s saucy Ninth, which got him in trouble with Soviet authorities, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s fiery Fourth, one of the most popular symphonies ever written.
June 4-5, 2016: David Chase, conductor
Old World composers in the New World. Our season concludes with an imaginative pairing of works by two European masters who came to the United States at the beginning of World War II. Benjamin Britten composed his American Overture in 1941 for the Cleveland Orchestra, but it was not performed until 1983, six years after the composer’s death. Paul Hindemith’s moving setting of Walt Whitman’s elegy for Abraham Lincoln, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d: a Requiem for those we love, is considered by many to be his finest work; with chorus and mezzo-soprano Janelle DeStefano and baritone Darren Chase.
Subscription concerts take place in Mandeville Auditorium at University of California, San Diego. Saturday concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday concerts begin at 2:00 p.m. A free pre-concert lecture is offered one hour prior to concert times. “Early Bird” discount subscriptions to the six-concert series go on sale March 13 through June 15: $58 (students), $144 (senior 65+), and $159 (adult).
Rooted in San Diego since 1954, the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus enriches our lives through affordable concerts of ground-breaking, traditional and contemporary classical music under the leadership of Music Director Steven Schick. The chorus is led by Choral Director David Chase.
The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus San Diego’s oldest and largest community orchestra and chorus, is a non-profit musical performing group dedicated to inspiring San Diego with the joy of music. Its 110-person orchestra and 130-person chorus perform groundbreaking orchestral and choral music along with traditional favorites from the classical repertoire. During the 60th season, maestro Steven Schick shares the podium with David Chase, LJS&C choral director, performing works by Beethoven, Berlioz, Bernstein, Ives, Mahler, Nielsen, Ung, and more.