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ARTICLE: Accessible artistry: La Jolla Music Society composes 70 free educational events alongside SummerFest 2022

San Diego Union-Tribune

Elisabeth Frausto
July 8, 2022

 

As it prepares for its annual 20-concert SummerFest, the La Jolla Music Society is ready to repeat its accompanying education program, featuring 70 free events intended to draw people of all ages and backgrounds to the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center.

SummerFest 2022 runs Friday, July 29, through Friday, Aug. 26, at The Conrad, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla.

The first free educational event is an open rehearsal at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 27.

“Community engagement is really a key pillar of the festival,” said Allison Boles, the Music Society’s director of education and community engagement. “It’s something that makes SummerFest so special because it’s beyond the concerts” and gives people who don’t have the means to buy tickets or are unsure whether they like chamber music “an easy access point.”

The 70 free events cover a broad range of activities, including five open rehearsals that reveal the creative process and offer a glimpse of artists wearing street clothes and communicating onstage, Boles said.

There also are coaching workshops, part of LJMS’ fellowship artists program, during which young rising stars are coached by more senior festival artists as they prepare for performances.

“We also have ‘Encounters,’ which are extended lectures, free daytime performances, casual conversations with the artists, a panel discussion” and a Dance for Parkinson’s Disease, Boles said.

The program also includes preludes, or preconcert events.

The activities are held during the day, mostly on weekdays, Boles said, with some streaming online for people who can’t attend in person.

People of all ages are invited, though Boles said music students may find the events especially valuable.

“To actually see artists who are maybe a few years older than them or a few steps beyond them in their career actually at work can be really, really interesting and educational,” Boles said.

The education program was established at SummerFest’s inception in 1986, evolving from the fellowship artists program, LJMS’ oldest tradition, she said.

“It takes artists who are on the transition of their academic career and going into the professional classical world and [helps] them improve their interpretation of chamber music and performance” while growing their network of fellow musicians, Boles said.

Access to the artists also is a great benefit to local residents, she said, with the opportunity to be up close with world-renowned musicians and other creatives in intimate settings.

“I don’t think you can get that anywhere else,” Boles said.

Boles said she’s particularly excited about “The Wagner Effect” at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, during which author and music critic Alex Ross will discuss the life and music of composer Richard Wagner.

She said she’s also eager for “Weekend in Paris” at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, during which Jennifer Walker, a professor of musicology at West Virginia University, will look at the salons of Paris during the Belle Époque.

Some events require registration. For the full events schedule, including SummerFest performances, and further information, visit ljms.org/summerfest.