No matter how celebrated the composer, a commission is always a gamble. David Bruce’s “Night Parade”— the slightly jazzy, atmospheric tone poem he wrote for the San Diego Symphony’s Carnegie Hall debut and China tour last year—proved amiable, but it was no show-stopper. His new Violin Concerto “Fragile Light,” which Gil Shaham premiered under Music Director Jahja Ling and the San Diego Symphony Friday (Dec. 12), however, struck pay dirt . . .

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In his ten years at the helm of the San Diego Symphony, maestro Jahja Ling has been a Mahler proponent, and on Saturday (November 22) at the Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Hall, Ling offered Mahler’s mighty Symphony No. 7 in E Minor. . .

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The pianist Louis Lortie headlined this week’s Jacobs Masterworks concert by the San Diego Symphony in more ways than one. Mr. Lortie not only provided the marquee performance but the work in which he was featured turned out to be the most interesting of the three on the program…

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One of San Diego Symphony Music Director Jahja Ling’s laudable traits is affording the virtuoso players within his orchestra opportunities to appear in solo concertos. This Friday Principal Timpanist Ryan DiLisi amazed and pleased the Copley Symphony Hall audience with his solo turn in William Kraft’s Timpani Concerto No.1 . . .

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Sometimes the designation “competition winner” is a scarlet letter, a mark denoting that soulless technical wizardry capable of impressing judges, but Vadym Kholodenko, first prize winner of the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, demonstrated probing emotional depth and daring individuality in his stunning account of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto Sunday . . .

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