Alisa Weilerstein’s breathtaking recital of three J. S. Bach Cello Suites at The Conrad in La Jolla on Tuesday opened a new chapter for the San Diego Symphony. The orchestra has wisely moved its Chamber Music Series from various downtown locations to the Baker-Baum Concert Hall in the La Jolla Music Society’s acclaimed new Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center.
La Jolla Music Society
The performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group at Summerfest last week was like a loaf of artisan rye bread—dense, complex, chewy. The evening at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center was so packed with dance, music, and ideas, I would have like multiple viewings: once to focus on Morris’s choreography and brilliant movers, once for the world-renowned Summerfest musicians, and a third time to lose myself in the thrilling voice of countertenor John Holiday.
The mixed-rep programs included works by Ronald K. Brown and Robert Battle. Both ended with Ailey’s Revelations. We see the influence of Lester Horton, and Ailey’s gift for using props and creating tension…
In a fascinating coincidence, La Jolla Music Society presented two dances this season by a noted choreographer using music from the 1960s, and the two couldn’t have been more different. Paul Taylor’s vapid “Changes,” shown here in January, used music by the Mamas and Papas (seriously?) and reduced the 60s to hippie chicks and bell-bottoms. “Pepperland,” in happy contrast, is a work of substance, a celebration of the youthful creativity and idealism of the 1960s … and a profound, important reflection on what became of those dreams.
Morris can’t describe the dancing in “Pepperland,” except to say: “It’s full on dancing and fabulous, and the music is marvelous. It may be dark outside, but yes, dress in brilliant colors! It’s not hippie, it’s mod…”