La Jolla Symphony & Chorus anounces 2019-20 season


La Jolla Symphony & Chorus will continue its signature blend of honoring tradition and pursuing musical adventure with its 2019-20 season.

The nonprofit organization, which has a small staff and around 200 volunteer musicians and singers, is celebrating its 65th year. The upcoming six concerts will include world premieres and masterpieces by the likes of Britten, Brahms and Bartok.

Unlike past seasons, this one will not have a theme. Previous themes have included “Lineage: A Memory Project” and “Soundscape San Diego: exploration and remembrance.”

“At a certain point, I realized that all our concerts are about how we understand our lives now in San Diego,” said Steven Schick, La Jolla Symphony & Chorus music director.

“We’re most excited about illuminating our time and place through music. That’s the long-term theme.”

Schick’s excitement also extends to welcoming Ruben Valenzuela as the symphony’s new choral director. Valenzuela, veteran leader of the early-music ensemble Bach Collegium San Diego, will conduct the symphony’s June concerts. Alongside pieces by John Adams and Mendelssohn, Valenzuela will lead the chorus and orchestra in performing Rossini’s dramatic Stabat Mater.

The world premieres will showcase commissioned works by three living composers: Celeste Oram (Thomas Nee Commission); Anahita Abbasi (Brenda and Steven Schick Commission); and Michael Pisaro (whose percussion-driven concerto was commissioned by La Jolla Symphony & Chorus).

The composition by New Zealand-based Oram will be performed Dec. 7 and 8. The February 8 and 9 concerts will feature Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, as well as the new works by UC San Diego graduate student Abbasi and the renowned experimental composer Pisaro.

“Pisaro is one of the most important composers in the country,” said Schick, a well-known percussionist. “It will be an absolutely unique piece and will be highly demonstrative of what the symphony can do.”

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus’ 2019-20 season opens Nov. 2 and runs through June 7. All concerts are held at University of California San Diego’s Mandeville Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. The six-concert subscription series is available for $195 general, $185 senior, $65 student. Single tickets ($18-$39) go on sale in late August. Tickets and more information are available at (858) 534-4637 or (which lists the complete schedule of concerts).

Wood is a freelance writer.