REVIEW: Pushing the Envelope, Enticing New Music at La Jolla SummerFest

San Diego Story
Ken Herman
August 17, 2018

The amount and quality of contemporary music featured in this season’s La Jolla SummerFest, Music Director Cho-Liang Lin’s valedictory year, has been astonishing. Last week the FLUX Quartet presented an entire evening of bracing avant-garde offerings, included the premiere of Rand Steiger’s “Tropes,” commissioned by the FLUX Quartet. The following night FLUX returned to offer the La Jolla Music Society’s commission, Toshi Ichiyanagi’s String Quartet No. 5.

On Tuesday, August 14, at the heart of a program featuring Lin’s favorites, we experienced Lei Liang’s showstopping “Vis-à-vis” for Pipa and Percussion, yet another premiere of a commission by the La Jolla Music Society. Then on Thursday, August 16, Lin brought back French composer Marc-André Dalbavie’s stunning Quartet for Piano and Strings, a La Jolla Music Society commission premiered here in 2012, and paired it with Pierre Jalbert’s 2017 Piano Quintet, which the La Jolla Music Society co-commissioned with two other arts organizations.