2019-2020 Subscription Series

November 2-3, 2019

Steven Schick, conducts

Gioachino Rossini Overture to William Tell
Florence Price Violin Concerto No. 1
Béla Bartók
Concerto for Orchestra
Soloist: Peter Clarke, violin
Our 65th season opens with some very familiar music–Rossini’s William Tell Overture–and some very unfamiliar music: co-concertmaster Peter Clarke is soloist in the First Violin Concerto of Florence Price, a prolific African-American composer from the 1930-50s, whose Second Violin Concerto was one of the highlights of last season. The concert concludes with Bartók’s great Concerto for Orchestra. Written by a frail composer during the depths of the Second World War, it is a ringing statement of faith in life–and a supreme test for every orchestra that performs it.

Concert sponsors: Betty McManus & Cecil Lytle

December 7-8, 2019

Steven Schick, conductor

Celeste Oram Thomas Nee Commission
Robert Schumann Violin Concerto
John Adams Harmonium
Soloist: Keir GoGwilt, violin
Keir GoGwilt, who dazzled in Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto two seasons ago, returns with another unfamiliar (and very different) piece, the Violin Concerto of Robert Schumann, one of that doomed composer’s final works.  The La Jolla Symphony Chorus joins the orchestra for the work that launched John Adams’ career: Harmonium sets texts by John Donne and Emily Dickinson, and its premiere in 1981 announced the arrival of a major composer. Celeste Oram, this year’s Nee Commission winner, continues our tradition of melding music and visual art.

Concert sponsors: Cathy & Bill Funke / Ida Houby & Bill Miller

February 8-9, 2020

Steven Schick, conductor

Anahita Abbasi New Work
Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 3
Johannes Brahms Academic Festival Overture
Michael Pisaro Umbra & Penumbra: Concerto for Amplified Percussion & Orchestra
Soloist: Greg Stuart, percussion
Brahms’ mighty Third Symphony manages also to be his most intimate and–some would say–his most beautiful symphony.  The La Jolla Symphony has not played it for over a quarter of a century–come, listen fresh, and rediscover the wonders of this glorious music. We premiere two commissioned works: a new piece by emerging Iranian composer Anahita Abbasi, known for her electric and electro-acoustic works; and Michael Pisaro’s Concerto for Amplified Percussion, featuring extraordinary percussionist and frequent Pisaro collaborator, Greg Stuart.

Concert sponsors: Dr. James Swift & Suzanne Bosch-Swift / Dr. Robert Engler & Julie Ruedi/ Judy & Bob Gaukel

March 14-15, 2020

Steven Schick, conducts

Benjamin Britten War Requiem

Guest artists: Ariana Strahl, soprano; John Buffet, baritone; John Russell, tenor; boys choir, San Diego Master Chorale

The cathedral in Coventry, bombed into rubble during the Battle of Britain, lay in ruins for years afterward.  For its rebuilding in 1961, Benjamin Britten composed his War Requiem, which splices the poetry of Wilfred Owen–who was killed in World War I–into the Requiem Mass for the Dead.  The War Requiem was an instant classic (200,000 copies of the recording sold in the year after its premiere), and it remains an overwhelming experience.  And a gigantic undertaking: the San Diego Master Chorale joins us for this work, which calls for three soloists, boys choir, massive chorus, two orchestras, and two conductors.

Concert sponsors: Claire Friedman / Beda & Jerry Farrell / Pat & Eric Bromberger/ Gary & Susan Brown/ Arleene Antin & Lenny Ozerkis

Conductor’s Notes
Program Notes

May 2-3, 2020

Sameer Patel, guest conductor

Claude Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Lili Boulanger D’un matin de printemps
Anton Webern Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
Toru Takemitsu Requiem
Arthur Honegger Symphony No. 3

CONCERT SPONSORS: Stephen L. Marsh / Dr. James Swift & Suzanne Bosch Swift

Guest conductor Sameer Patel returns with works from France, Austria, Japan, and Switzerland in a program that shows the many currents that shaped music in the early twentieth century. Both Debussy and Lili Boulanger died in March 1918: his Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun may be the most revolutionary music ever written, and her gentle evocation of a spring morning shows the promise of what might have been, had she not died at 24. Webern’s Six Pieces for Orchestra are supremely disciplined and expressive music, as is Toru Takemitsu’s Requiem for Strings, proclaimed “a masterpiece” by Stravinsky. The concert concludes with Honegger’s moving Symphonie Liturgique, a search for faith in the aftermath of World War II.

June 6-7, 2020

Ruben Valenzuela, conductor

John Adams The Chairman Dances
Felix Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
Gioachino Rossini Stabat Mater
Guest artists: Alisa Jordheim, soprano; Sarah-Nicole Carter, mezzo-soprano; James Onstad, tenor; Jonathan Woody, bass; Ayrton Coehlo Pisco, violin (2018 Young Artists Winner)
Our season began with Rossini, and it concludes with Rossini, as new Choral Director Ruben Valenzuela makes his LJS&C conducting debut in Rossini’s rarely heard (and somewhat operatic) Stabat Mater for four soloists, chorus, and orchestra.  The concert opens with a foxtrot for orchestra that John Adams originally intended to include in his opera Nixon in China, and our Young Artist Competition winner, Ayrton Coehlo Pisco, performs what is probably the most famous piece ever written for violin, Mendelssohn’s evergreen Violin Concerto.

Concert sponsors: Julie & Don MacNeil