Find The Music: A Preview of San Diego Symphony’s 2019 season

by Jacqueline Bull November 27, 2018


alisa-weilerstein-photo-creadit-decca-harald-hoffmannCopley Symphony Hall sits on a quiet corner between the north end of downtown and Balboa Park, among tall banks with pristine lobbies and is accompanied by sidewalk with sparkle in the pavement. When a freshly showered and smartly dressed crowd walk past the Donut Bar and the Taco Stand and gather on that sparkly sidewalk, a show is on.

For the 2019 season, there are quite a few standouts to look forward to in the lineup.

“We’re really excited. We start the season with the first performance with our music director Rafael Payare, following his announcement so that is a great way to begin,” Martha Gilmer, CEO of the San Diego Symphony, said.

“Rafael grew up in Venezuela and now lives in Berlin. He is married to Alisa Weilerstein, the cellist, who has appeared here at San Diego Symphony many times and also at La Jolla Music Society and recital. She has been coming here since she was a very young girl. They are sort of a dynamic duo. Rafael will begin as music director in the fall of 2019,” Martha said.

Rafael Payare and Alisa Weilerstein will be at Copley Symphony Hall Jan. 11-13, during the “Hearing the Future” Festival.

“January is always a big month because we have our festival and that’s three weeks of programming around a theme in various places. January is always packed with concerts,” Martha added.

This year the festival is being curated by composer-conductor Matthew Aucoin who was recently awarded a MacArthur Genius grant.

“It sort of has an intellectual thoughtful component to it with speakers and music, so as a festival goes, it is for those audience members who are always curious and wanting to learn,” Martha said.

The festival fits nicely with the Jacobs Masterworks and Jazz at the Jacobs series at the symphony.

“Jazz at the Jacobs has been a huge series for us with a great following. I always say that Jazz acquires the same kind of adroit artistry [as classical music]. Many jazz artists are also classically trained, so there is a great connection. It makes a lot of sense in terms of our mission to bring really excellent jazz to the stage of Copley Symphony Hall,” Martha said.

Also new this season is something called Rush Hour 2.0 – one-hour weeknight concerts starting at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re really hoping people who live downtown will come. It is really targeted for who are already here and don’t have to fight the traffic,” Martha said.

So for those that work downtown, these concerts are an opportunity to grab a dinner from the food trucks they’ve scheduled, enjoy an hour-long concert, have a talk back with the performers and drive home after the traffic has cleared up.


otted throughout downtown, there are banners for the San Diego Symphony that say in a big bold type “Find Your Music.” The same messaging is echoed on their website and press releases.

“People have a variety of different tastes. We have such a broad spectrum of music that we present that it is you can find your music in what we present. If you think it is only a certain kind of classical music and that doesn’t belong to you or it isn’t what you like, keep looking. Because there is really a lot of music that one can apzpreciate, whether it is broadway, or it is jazz… or film. You can find your music here,” Martha said.

In the summer, they had Blues and MoTown and Martha hints they are looking to gospel for next summer. They also have a series to introduce children to the orchestra and recreations of classic rock albums, (“We really do present the gamut”).

“The idea is it is a rich palate of music from many genres, but the commonality of it is we bring really, really fine performers every week to our stage … The artistry is the common link,” she said. Α

Check out the entire 2019 season and for full details.


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