Del Mar International Composers Symposium presents a week of events

DMICS 2019 Composer Elisabet Curbelo (left) describes her music to the audience and DMICS Director Jordan Kuspa.
DMICS 2019 Composer Elisabet Curbelo (left) describes her music to the audience and DMICS Director Jordan Kuspa.
(Tasha Koontz)

The Del Mar International Composers Symposium (DMICS) brings talented composers from around the world to Del Mar to work with several of San Diego’s finest performers. Now in its second season, DMICS presents a week of events designed to offer the local community a window into the creative process of contemporary musicians. Founded by award-winning local composer Jordan Kuspa, DMICS seeks to make the creative process accessible to the community by presenting concerts, open rehearsals, and interactive presentations with its musicians.

Guest composers this year include rising new music stars Nicholas Benavides, Quinn Mason, Polina Nazaykinskaya, Juri Seo and Joseph Sowa. Their compositions will be performed by the Hausmann Quartet (ensemble in residence at SDSU), soprano Tasha Koontz (frequent soloist with both the San Diego Opera and the San Diego Symphony), and pianist Peter Walsh, who is highly in demand as a recitalist and pianist for opera companies including the LA Opera and Houston Grand Opera.

The lead sponsor of DMICS is the Del Mar Foundation, whose generous grant support allows for the appearances of all DMICS performing artists in 2021.

In addition to musical performances, DMICS will hold two evenings of presentations and interactive discussions with its composers. If you have ever wondered what composers think about before they begin writing music, or questioned why modern music sounds so different from the classical repertoire, this will be a rare opportunity to speak directly with composers who are active today. Or, if you are curious to know what musicians discuss in order to bring a new piece to life, DMICS hosts open rehearsals in which guests can watch composers collaborate and experiment with performers to shape their musical ideas.

DMICS will present two concerts of new and recently composed works on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 5:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. Tickets for these concerts are $30, $20, or $10, and are available at

Interactive panel discussions will take place on Thursday, Aug. 5, and Monday, Aug. 9 (both at 7 p.m.), and open rehearsals will be held on Friday, Aug. 6 (1:30 p.m.-4 p.m.), Saturday, Aug. 7 (1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.), and Monday, Aug. 9 (10 a.m.-1 p.m.). These events are free of charge, but reservations are recommended. All DMICS events take place in the Parish Hall, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Del Mar, except for the Aug. 10 concert, which will be held at the Del Mar Powerhouse Community Center. Go to or email for more information.