SummerFest to continue as planned after COVID-19 case had La Jolla Music Society pondering cancellation

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein performs with SummerFest music director Inon Barnatan in 2019
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein performs with SummerFest music director Inon Barnatan at the grand finale of the La Jolla Music Society’s gala in 2019. Weilerstein tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. She had been scheduled to play again Friday at the closing concert of this year’s SummerFest. Barnatan will perform as part of Thursday’s “Grand Duos” penultimate SummerFest concert.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Multiple tests were administered to musicians and staff members after cellist Alisa Weilerstein tested positive Monday, a day after her most recent SummerFest performance


The show will go on for SummerFest, which the La Jolla Music Society had considered canceling or changing into an online-only event after one of its star performers — the fully vaccinated cellist Alisa Weilerstein — tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

Out of an “abundance of caution,” the nonprofit arts organization canceled Tuesday night’s SummerFest concert at the society’s Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla.

On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, the society had the company Sameday Health administer COVID tests — an antigen and PCR test each day — to every musician and staff member, as well as to many of its board members, crew members and artist hosts.

Because those test results came back negative, the society is able to move ahead with the final three concerts of this year’s edition of SummerFest. Last year’s was held entirely online without a live audience.

In an email sent Wednesday afternoon to SummerFest ticket holders, society CEO and President Todd Schultz wrote:

“Our final three SummerFest concerts will proceed as planned tonight, tomorrow and Friday.

“In the last 36 hours, all musicians and LJMS staff have been tested for COVID at least twice, and 100 percent of them have come through with negative results. Additionally, all musicians performing in these final three concerts are fully vaccinated. Based on these results, we are thrilled to proceed with our performance.”

The three concerts that will conclude the 2021 edition of SummerFest are: “Intimate Letters,” tonight at 7:30; “Grand Duos,” Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; and “Finale: A Love Composed,” Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Friday concert was originally scheduled to have included a performance by Weilerstein, whose replacement has yet to be determined.

As a safety precaution, the society is asking attendees to remain masked at all times when inside the concert hall, hallways and restrooms.