La Jolla SummerFest titled its Wednesday, August 22, concert “An Evening with Emanuel Ax.” But it was much better than that. It turned out to be an evening with Emanuel Ax and friends.
After Friday’s uplifting, beautifully crafted opening night SummerFest concert, I was shocked to experience such a tasteless, aggressive musical assault attending SummerFest’s second concert on the following night, August 4, in UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall.
Mainly Mozart’s final concert of the 2018 season featured the Festival Orchestra under the baton of Music Director Michael Francis in a program of Mozart, Haydn, and Mendelssohn.
If the most rewarding moments of a Mainly Mozart Festival concert can occur during the performance of music by other composers, Saturday’s (June 16) Mainly Mozart program made a great case for that possibility with Johannes Moser’s brilliant solo in Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme,” Op. 33, and Stravinsky’s sparkling “Dumbarton Oaks” Concerto.
Sunday’s Mainly Mozart concert under the baton of Music Director Michael Francis (June 10) featured the Festival Orchestra augmented by some 15 musicians from the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra, a Piano Concerto commissioned by Mainly Mozart, and a post intermission session in which guest pianist Derek Paravacini took themes and requests from the audience on which he improvised.
Michael Francis and Anne-Marie McDermott Inspire Exotic Fare in Opening Mainly Mozart Festival Concert
Michael Francis opened the 30th installment of San Diego’s annual Mainly Mozart Festival Saturday, June 9, with an ebullient orchestra concert that started with with Jean-Féry Rebel’s harmonically startling, rarely performed Baroque dance suite “Les Élémens,” jumped to Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Major, K. 415, featuring soloist Anne-Marie McDermott—that composer’s equally assertive attack on late 18th-century Viennese rococo elegance—and closed with Beethoven’s Second Symphony.