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Mainly Mozart’s 2023 ‘Festival of the Orchestras’ will expand to multiple venues in Del Mar and La Jolla

Mainly Mozart’s All-Star Orchestra Festival at the Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park .
Mainly Mozart’s All-Star Orchestra Festival returns to Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park in June for the third consecutive summer.
(Ken Jacques / Courtesy Mainly Mozart)

The event’s 35th annual season include concerts at Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park, Baker-Baum Concert Hall and UCSD’s new Epstein Family Amphitheater

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After setting consecutive attendance records over the past two years by making a pandemic-fueled pivot to a new outdoor venue, Mainly Mozart’s All-Star Orchestra Festival will expand from one location to three for its 2023 edition.

This year’s six-concert fete will kick off June 15 through 18 on the expansive lawns of the Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park, where the 2022 and 2021 editions of the now 35-year-old chamber-music festival were held.

Violin star Augustin Hadelich will perform ‘thrilling’ Mendelssohn concerto at Tuesday’s concert. The festival runs through June 18

The opening weekend in Del Mar will be followed by concerts at two La Jolla venues, starting with a June 20 performance of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at the Baker-Baum Concert Hall. The festival will conclude June 22 and 24 with concerts at UC San Diego’s new Epstein Family Amphitheater.

“In terms of symmetry, this summer we will have three concerts in Del Mar and three in La Jolla, so people can go to both or either,” said Mainly Mozart CEO and co-founder Nancy Laturno.

What will remain the same is the festival’s unique format of featuring ensembles comprised entirely of concertmasters from the nation’s top symphony orchestras, conducted by Mainly Mozart music director Michael Francis. Ditto the showcasing of acclaimed soloists, which this year includes pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinists Karen Gomyo and Martin Chalifour, and pianist and soprano singer Chelsea Guo.

From parking lots to parks

Mainly Mozart CEO Nancy Laturno
Mainly Mozart CEO Nancy Laturno welcomes attendees to one of her nonprofit organization’s first 2020 drive-in chamber music concerts in Del Mar.
(Courtesy Mainly Mozart)

Founded in 1988, Mainly Mozart’s Festival of the Orchestras was held largely at downtown San Diego’s Balboa Theatre through 2019. In 2020, with indoor events shuttered by the pandemic, the plucky nonprofit was the first classical music organization in the nation to stage drive-in concerts.

The Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park became Mainly Mozart’s new home for its 2021 and 2022 festivals. To Laturno’s surprise, attendance surged for what had previously been an indoor event.

After debuting drive-in concert format in 2020 and a hybrid of drive-in and seated outdoor concerts in 2021, another pivot for 2022

Equally surprising, more than half of the audience in the past two years was comprised of first-time attendees, with last year’s five Del Mar concerts each drawing a capacity audience of 1,800.

“Sixty-seven percent of the people last year were attending a Mainly Mozart event for the first time,” noted Mark Laturno. He is the organization’s director of communications and Nancy Laturno’s son.

The move to the Del Mar park, which allowed for social distancing, was born out of necessity during the pandemic.

“It was an experiment,” Nancy Laturno said. “We learned there clearly is an appetite for what we are doing in the North County region.

“Now, through three years of COVID, we have cultivated a very loyal audience. People who weren’t aware of Mainly Mozart — including two of our new board members — became aware of us through our drive-in concerts. The enthusiasm and enormous increase in not only the audience but a much younger audience was an accident that led us to where we are supposed to be.”

For good measure, Mainly Mozart this year will also present concerts at La Jolla’s Baker-Baum on Nov. 5 and 18, both as part of the statewide California Festival. as well as holding its second annual free autumn concert at Tijuana’s Jai Alai Palace on Oct. 14.

The two-week statewide event will include dozens of music organizations, including La Jolla Music Society, Mainly Mozart and San Diego Youth Symphony, playing music composed in past 5 years

Mainly Mozart 2023 Festival of the Orchestras

The June 15-18 concerts are at 7:30 p.m. at Del Mar Surf Sports Park, 14989 Via de la Valle, Del Mar.

Thursday, June 15

Gossec: Symphonie à 17 parties; Mozart: Bassoon Concerto, featuring soloist Whitney Crockett; Beethoven: Symphony No. 8

Saturday, June 17

Michael Abels: Delights and Dances; Beethoven: String Quartet in F Minor; Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 25, featuring soloist Anne-Marie McDermott

Saturday, June 18

Mozart: Grande Fantaisie in C minor; Brahms: Violin Concerto, featuring soloist Karen Gomyo

The June 20 concert is at 7:30 p.m. at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center’s Baker-Baum Concert Hall, 7600 Fay Avenue. La Jolla.

Tuesday, June 20

Mahler: Symphony No. 4, featuring soprano Chelsea Guo

The June 22 and 24 concerts are at 7:3O p.m. at UCSD’s Epstein Family Amphitheater, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla.

Thursday, June 22

Mozart: Marriage of Figaro Overture; Saint-Saëns: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso; Mozart: Magic Flute Overture; Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring piano soloist Chelsea Guo and violin soloist Martin Chalifour

Saturday, June 24

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, featuring the San Diego Master Chorale

Tickets: Early-bird tickets will be on sale March 29 through April 13, after which there will be a 15 percent increase. Tickets for the Del Mar Surf Sports Park concerts are $25 per person for general admission Tier B seating, $80-$110 per person for Tier A personal viewing pods, $110-$140 for two-person pods, $140-$170 for three-person pods and $170-$200 for four-person pods. Table seating ranges from $300 for two people to $500 for four people, with VIP tables ranging from $600 for two people to $1,000 for four people. Tickets for the two Epstein Family Amphitheater concerts range from $25 to $160, per person. Tickets for the Baker-Baum Concert Hall performance range from $30 to $120.

Phone: (619) 239-0100

Online: mainlymozart.org

george.varga@sduniontribune.com

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