SummerFest getting into its rhythm


SummerFest launched its 2009 festival on Friday with a rousing show of piano virtuosity before a sellout crowd.

The opening “Piano Extravaganza,” led by veteran music director Cho-Liang Lin, featured an array of piano arrangements of popular classical melodies. Anne-Marie McDermott and Jon Kimura Parker were joined by young superstars Orion Weiss and Helen Huang for a night filled with two pianos, played with four and eight hands.

On Saturday, the program - which continues through Aug. 23 and consists of more than 16 concerts at the MCASD Sherwood Auditorium - featured “Concerto da Camera,” a night of concertos, composed originally for large orchestras and rearranged as chamber music.

And while the month is filled with a dazzling array of performances requiring tickets, such as the debut of newly composed works by George Tsontakis, Paul Schoenfield and Steward Copeland, the festival is also filled with free events such as the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest Under the Stars on Aug. 13. The outdoor concert at La Jolla Cove will showcase Lin and the SummerFest artists in this evening for the family.

Also free and open to the public are coaching workshops at the La Jolla Riford Library, where audiences may follow the growth of Fellowship Artists as they work with top musical coaches in action. The sessions are held on weekday mornings.

There will also be guided open rehearsals and Encounters, where SummerFest will give audiences a chance to explore the life work of iconic composers. Gunther Schuller, who has written more than 160 original compositions, will be featured in “Creativity Without Stopping: A Conversation with Gunther Schuller,” hosted by Steven Schick, music director and conductor of La Jolla Symphony and Chorus.

There’s also a chance to join composers Copeland, Schoenfield, Tsontakis and Mark O’Connor as they exchange ideas in a roundtable discussion moderated by composer and conductor Russell Steinberg. Encounters take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Athenaeum Music & Art Library each Thursday of the festival.

For program or ticket information, go to

or call the La Jolla Music Society box office at (858) 459-3728.

On the bill over the next week

Unless noted, all performances are at the MCASD Sherwood Auditorium, with a prelude beginning an hour before the featured performance.
  • Aug. 8: 20th Century Romantics, 7:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 9: Nearly Forgotten Masterpieces, 3 p.m.
  • Aug. 11: Mendelssohn II Family Portrait, 7:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 12: An Evening with Andreas Haefliger and Michael York, 7:30 p.m.

For details, go to