October 7, 2015
2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Become Ocean” Opens 61st Season

La Jolla, Calif. (October 7, 2015) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) presents the opening concert of its 61st season, Soundscape San Diego: exploration and remembrance. The October 31-November 1 program offers variety and emotional depth, featuring works by Brahms, Varèse, and the regional premiere of John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

“As I devised the programs for this season, I thought about the notion of exploration and considered our home, San Diego, a vibrant and complex city where exploration across a spectrum of technology, business and art is our daily business,” says Music Director Steven Schick. “I also thought about our perch at the edge of the continent and how the sea has been a highway for exploration throughout history. “And I know San Diego as a military town. That’s where remembrance comes in, as we’ll hear later in this season with works by Copland and Bartòk, written at the end of WWII, now exactly 70 years ago, that help us honor that and celebrate the men and women of the greatest generation.”

The season’s first concert begins with Edgard Varèse’s wry commentary on orchestras and audiences, Tuning Up. Varèse was considered the “godfather” of experimental noise art and was not known for his lighter side, but this is precisely what Tuning Up showcases. The short work was conceived as a parody of the orchestra’s pre-concert tuning. This “un-music” before the concert start fascinated Varèse, and by adding a few of his typical touches – marching percussion figures and the inevitably low siren – he created a whimsical and often evocative piece, and perfect overture to a symphonic concert.

Pianist and UCSD Distinguished Professor Aleck Karis performs Johannes Brahms’ massive Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, written when the composer was in his early 20s. As a professional-level pianist himself, Brahms combines piano with orchestra as equal partners in this work, leading some to refer to it as a symphonic-concerto.

Become Ocean was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and first performed in 2013. The single-movement work was inspired by the oceans of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, where John Luther Adams lived for three decades before moving to New York City. Like much of Adams’ recent music, Become Ocean is vast but not really long. In its 45 minutes, the work does one thing: it generates waves. Three groups of instruments – winds, brass and strings, each with a percussion instrument or piano activating surface rhythms – get louder and then softer in the inexorable patterns of surf that we on the coast know so well. The single moment in the piece in which all three waves culminate at the same time is magisterial and titanic. Composer John Luther Adams joins us for the concert weekend.

The performances take place October 31–November 1, 2015 in Mandeville Auditorium at UC San Diego. Concert times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. A pre-concert lecture is offered one hour prior to concert times by the conductor. Individual tickets are $29 general, $27 senior, and $15 student. Group discounts are available. Parking is free. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the LJS&C office at (858) 534-4637.

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.