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San Diego Symphony announces countywide 2022-23 Jacobs Masterworks concert season and new album

Rafael Payare, conductor
(J Henry Fair)

The 31-concert season will begin and conclude at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the orchestra’s new $85 million outdoor venue

The San Diego Symphony will be busier than ever on multiple concert stages across San Diego County — and one in Palm Desert — as the $125 million renovation of the orchestra’s Jacobs Music Center and Copley Symphony Hall heads toward its completion next year.

The symphony will perform 31 concerts at six venues for its 2022-23 Jacobs Masterworks season between this fall and next spring. Subscription packages go on sale today, May 1. Single ticket sales will be available this summer.

Fifteen of the 31 concerts will take place at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the symphony’s $85 million outdoor venue that opened last summer alongside San Diego Bay downtown.

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The symphony will conclude its current Jacobs Masterworks season there on May 28. The guest conductors and soloists range from Emanuel Ax, Simone Lamsma and Garrick Ohlsson to Elena Schwartz, Tarmo Peltokoski and Awadagin Pratt.

The new season will begin at The Shell, as the venue is also known, with a pair of Oct. 1 and 2 performances of Verdi’s epic Requiem. The orchestra, led by its acclaimed music director, Rafael Payare, will be joined by the San Diego Master Chorale and four vocal soloists — soprano Leah Crocetto, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, tenor Limmie Pulliam and baritone Aleksey Bogdanov.

“The Verdi Requiem doesn’t happen very often, but it’s important the audience gets to hear it and the orchestra gets to play it,” said Payare, whose first album with the symphony will be released Friday, May 6. More albums are expected to follow as part of the orchestra’s new recording deal with Platoon, the same digital music company that signed Billie Eilish in 2016.

Pianist Awadagin Pratt
Pianist Awadagin Pratt will be the featured soloist at the San Diego Symphony’s two April concerts at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla.
(Cynthia Johnson / Getty Images)

Some things old, some things new

Payare will conduct a total of 16 concerts in the symphony’s upcoming season. It will conclude in 2023 at The Shell with May 26 and 27 concerts by Payare, the symphony and — in an encore performance — the San Diego Master Chorale.

In between will come 27 concerts showcasing music that runs the gamut from centuries-old to brand new. The featured works will include staples by Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Liszt and Mahler, along with more recent works by San Diego’s Lei Liang, Mexico’s Arturo Márquez, New York’s Jessie Montgomery and Alabama’s Brian Raphael Nabors, who — at 28 — is one of the youngest composers to create a stir in recent years.

In addition, the symphony will present the world premiere of a new work it has commissioned by Iranian-American composer Gity Razaz and the U.S. premiere of a new work by Thomas Larcher that the symphony has co-commissioned. Both pieces are, for now, untitled.

“The Razaz premiere is part of a program with the League of American Orchestras that highlights a number of women composers, and we really wanted to be part of that,” said symphony CEO Martha Gilmer. “Thomas Larcher comes out of the Austrian tradition but has a unique voice. He’s a composer Rafael is really connected with.”

“I’ve known Thomas for a long time,” Payare said. “It’s wonderful to have him involved because he is one of the leading composers at the moment. His new piece is a co-commission we are doing with the orchestras in Montreal, Vienna and Hanover (Germany).”

Iranian-American composer Gity Razaz (center)
Iranian-American composer Gity Razaz (center) takes a bow, with conductor George Manahan and the American Composers Orchestra after a performance of her “Metamorphosis of Narcissus” at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in New York. The San Diego Symphony will perform the world premiere of a new work by Razaz as part of its 2022/2023 Jacobs Masterworks season.
(Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images / Getty Images)

San Diego to Montreal, and back

Payare was speaking from Canada, where he is the new music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.

“The shared characteristic the San Diego Symphony has with the Montreal Symphony is the very high artistic level they both have,” he said. “And both orchestras have a shared sense of curiosity and a desire to go to the next level.

“It might sound clichéd, but we are in love! We dance together and we dive deep together and takes risks. There’s no hesitation. In the same way that we have magic in San Diego, we have that in Montreal as well.”

Achieving musical magic in either city requires dedication, exacting attention to detail and agility, especially when the ripple effects of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of live events are still being felt around the world.

Accordingly, some of the concerts in the upcoming San Diego season were planned a year or more in advance, then pushed back by the COVID-19 shutdown.

Others were pushed back to align with next fall’s reopening of Copley Symphony Hall. Still others are very recent additions.

Or, as Payare put it in a late April Union-Tribune interview: “I can tell you when the schedule was finished, which was pretty much last week!

“With the pandemic, we learned how to pivot and navigate differently. At the same time there are other things we had to take into consideration, such as the opening of The Shell and the renovation of our downtown concert hall. There were some things we wanted to do in my third season this year and next. But now that we are renovating the hall, we should wait for my fourth season.”

The geographic reach of the new season is a streamlined variation of the symphony’s ongoing 2021-22 “Hear Us Here” season, which features concerts at nine San Diego County venues.

The 32-concert season will be held everywhere from Poway and Escondido to Rolando, Chula Vista and the orchestra’s new $85 million Rady Shell downtown

The 2022-23 Jacobs Masterworks season will include concerts at five venues: The Shell, San Diego Civic Theatre, Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, The Village Church in Rancho Bernardo and California Center for the Arts, Escondido. All five are part of the “Hear Us Here” season.

“It’s a nice process to expand the orchestra’s reach outside of downtown,” Payare said, expressing a sentiment shared by Gilmer.

“ ‘Hear Us Here’ was a tremendous undertaking and we now know what worked well,” she said. “We’re grateful to these venues for hosting us. And it’s been very gratifying to have audience members tell us they are so glad we came to perform in the areas where they live.”

Rafael Payare
San Diego Symphony Music Director Rafael Payare is shown conducting the orchestra at Copley Symphony Hall. His first album with symphony, recorded in early 2020 at the same venue, will be released Friday.
(Nancee E. Lewis / For the Union-Tribune)

New aural horizons

The symphony’s reach could expand significantly with the Friday, May 6 release of its new album, a live recording of Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 11: “The Year 1905.”

The album is notable for several reasons.

It is the orchestra’s first release since a 2017 album featuring a pair of 2013 performances led by Payare’s predecessor, Jahja Ling.

It is the first album in the career of Payare, 42, whose tenure as the symphony’s music director began in the fall of 2019.

It was recorded at Copley Symphony Hall in late February of 2020, at what turned out to be the final two concerts at the venue by the symphony prior to the pandemic shutdown.

“It was crazy. We did not have even a clue these would be our last concerts,” Payare said.

“The February 23rd concert was actually on my 40th birthday. At the time, we were hearing a little about this virus happening in China. But no one was thinking it would come this way. That was just my sixth concert with the symphony since I became its music director. The performance was at a super-high level and I was very excited, not knowing this would be the last time we would perform in the hall.”

All the orchestra’s Copley Symphony Hall concerts are recorded. Some are later broadcast here on radio station KPBS.

But the decision to release an album of the Shostakovich performance — which received a rave review in the Union-Tribune — was only made several months later. Regardless, the recording is a riveting showcase for the orchestra’s power and finesse. Payare and the musicians scale new heights with such assuredness that it suggests the start of a new era that should easily command broader attention.

“I’ve heard the final mastered version, and it’s fantastic,” Gilmer said.

“Those two concerts were incredible, and we all knew it. The audience went crazy and the musicians were so excited afterwards. When we talked to Platoon about what we might release first, this was at the top of the list. It’s important that people outside of San Diego hear our orchestra. This is a new opportunity for us, and it gives us an international scope.”

2022-23 Jacobs Masterworks season

Ticket information appears below.

Saturday, Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.: Verdi’s Requiem, featuring Music Director Rafael Payare, soprano Leah Crocetto, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, tenor Limmie Pulliam, baritone Aleksey Bogdanov, and the San Diego Master Chorale, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 220 Marina Parkway, downtown.

Friday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.: Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 125, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67, featuring Rafael Payare and cellist Alisa Weilerstein, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m.: Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 125, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67, featuring Rafael Payare and Alisa Weilerstein, $25-$70. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 240 North Escondido Blvd., Escondido.

Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 16 at 5 p.m.: Copland’s Suite from Appalachian Spring, Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88, featuring Principal Guest Conductor Edo de Waart and violinist Simone Lasma, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.: Barber’s First Essay for Orchestra, Op. 12 and Violin Concerto, Op. 14., Liang’s Bamboo Lights, and Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, featuring guest conductor Elena Schwarz and violinist Paul Huang, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m.: The U.S. premiere of a new Thomas Larcher work, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12 in D Minor, Op. 112, " The Year 1917,” featuring Rafael Payare and pianist Emanuel Ax, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m.: Wagner’s Prelude und Liebestod, from Tristan and Isolde, Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68, featuring Rafael Payare and pianist Marc-André Hamelin, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Friday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m.: Wagner’s Prelude und Liebestod, from Tristan and Isolde, Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68, featuring Rafael Payare and pianist Marc-André Hamelin, $25-$70. California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

Friday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m.: Márquez’s Fandango for Violin and Orchestra and further programming to be announced, featuring guest conductor Domingo Hindoyan and violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, $25-$70. California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

Sunday, Jan. 8 at 5 p.m.: Márquez’s Fandango for Violin and Orchestra and further programming to be announced, featuring guest conductor Domingo Hindoyan and violinist Anne Akiko Meyers. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Warner Drive, Palm Desert.

Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m.: Saariaho’s Ciel d’hiver, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, K. 216, “Strassburg,” Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43, featuring guest conductor Tarmo Peltokoski and violinist and concertmaster Jeff Thayer, $25-$70. California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.: Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37, and Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Minor, Op. 60, featuring guest conductor Case Scaglione and pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, $25-$90. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown.

Wednesday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m.: Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante defunte, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551, “Jupiter,” featuring Rafael Payare and violinist Guy Braunstein, $25-$70. California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11 at 8 p.m.: Adams’ The Chairman Dances (Foxtrot for Orchestra), Mozart’s Piano Concerto in No. 23 in A Major, K. 488, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27, featuring Edo De Waart and pianist Ingrid Fliter, $25-$90. San Diego Civic Theatre.

Thursday, April 13 and Friday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m.: Perkinson’s Sinfonietta No. 1 for Strings, Prokofiev’s Symphony No 1 in D Major, Montgomery’s Rounds for Piano and String Orchestra, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 in D Major, featuring conductor Yaniv Dinur and pianist Awadagin Pratt, $50-$105. Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla.

Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m.: Perkinson’s Sinfonietta No. 1 for Strings, Prokofiev’s Symphony No 1 in D Major, Montgomery’s Rounds for Piano and String Orchestra, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 in D Major, featuring conductor Yaniv Dinur and pianist Awadagin Pratt. $65-$85. The Village Church, 6225 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe.

Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m.: Debussy’s “Prelude to “Afternoon of a Faun” and Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major, featuring Rafael Payare, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and soprano Hera Hyesang Park, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m.: Nabors’ Onward, Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30, featuring guest conductor Robert Spano and pianist Garrick Ohlsson, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Saturday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 21 at 5 p.m: Brahms’ Piano Concerto, No. 2, in B-flat Major, Op. 83, the World Premiere of Gity Razaz’s new commissioned work, as yet untitled, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70, featuring Rafael Payare and pianist Inon Barnatan, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m.: Faure’s Suite from Pelleas et Melisande, Op. 80, Dukas’ La Péri, Poème Dansé, Castellanos’ Santa Cruz de Pacairigua, and Estévez’s Cantata criolla, “Florentino, el que canto con el Diablo,” featuring Rafael Payare and the San Diego Master Chorale, $25-$108. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Season ticket packages

The symphony will offer a four-concert subscription package for the 2022-23 Jacobs Masterworks Season with prices ranging from $88-$324. All packages go on sale today, May 1 at 10 a.m. Single tickets will go on sale this summer.

Phone: (619) 235-0804

Online: sandiegosymphony.org


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