La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest returns to The Conrad

From left, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest Music Director Inon Barnatan and composer-in-residence, Thomas Adès Photo credit: Marco Borggreve

By SDCN Editor

San Diego, CA–La Jolla Music Society’s annual SummerFest returns to The Conrad from July 28 to August 26, bringing the finest chamber musicians in the world to La Jolla for four weeks of glorious concerts. 

Music Director Inon Barnatan, returning in his fifth year, has created an exciting program titled “The Great Unknown,” exploring the joy of discovery and rediscovery, the delight in the unexpected, and the mystery of the exotic. 

SummerFest 2023 also sees the return of the Synergy Initiative, a series co-produced by Inon Barnatan and Clara Wu Tsai, which invites top creators of music, dance, spoken word, and visual arts to collaborate across their different art forms and produce performances that inspire our audiences in unexpected and powerful ways.

“Audiences will discover fantastical and otherworldly pieces, myths, fairy tales, dreams, and memories, revealing both in the canon’s most beloved works and in hidden gems from well-known, lesser-known, and previously silenced composers,” Barnatan said. “Above all, The Great Unknown personifies the mysterious and intangible nature of music and how it continues to transform, inspire and surprise us all.” 

Some of the finest chamber musicians and performance artists will converge on La Jolla from around the globe, including Augustin Hadelich, Tessa Lark, Alisa Weilerstein, Anthony McGill, Conrad Tao, the Takács Quartet, Thomas Adès as composer-in-residence, and debuts Grammy winner Louis Cato. 

“SummerFest has served as the crown jewel of La Jolla Music Society’s annual programming since 1986,” said Todd Schultz, president, and CEO of La Jolla Music Society. “Over the years its reputation has grown among musicians and chamber music lovers nationwide. At The Conrad, audiences can hear chamber music as it was intended—in an intimate setting, with exquisite acoustics, featuring artists who play with sensitivity, personality, and exceptional skill. There’s nothing like it.” 

A highlight of the festival will be the world premiere of a reimagination of Carnival of the Animals, a story of shifting societal values told through the lens of spoken word artist and activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Vice President and Artistic Director of The Kennedy Center; legendary dancer Wendy Whelan, Associate Artistic Director of New York City Ballet; and acclaimed choreographer Francesca Harper, Artistic Director of Ailey II. The commission, part of the Synergy Initiative, will feature festival artists Inon Barnatan, Joyce Yang, Geneva Lewis, and Gabriel Martins. 

“Marc, Wendy, and Francesca are creating a remarkable piece,” says Barnatan, “One that uses the animal kingdom, both its wildness, and beauty, as ways to reflect on our modern experience as people, performers, observers, and, well, political animals.” Co-creator Marc Bamuthi writes: “As collaborators, we seek to revisit a classical work, fine-tune it for the present public imagination, and generate something as fanciful and elegant as the original while biting hungrily and instinctually into the flesh of a democracy before it rots.”

SummerFest subscriptions are available now. A complete subscription for all 16 concerts in the Baker-Baum Concert Hall is $1,216 or $1,388 depending on seat location. Partial subscription series and compose-your-own packages will be made available later in the spring.

Single tickets will go on sale on May 9 and range from $38 to $112.

Tickets and information are available at the La Jolla Music Society box office, by phone at (858) 459-3728, and online at



Similar Posts