LA JOLLA — With Summerfest '86, the La Jolla Chamber Music Society marks two milestones. The two-week festival of chamber music, which opens this evening at Sherwood Hall, is the society's first attempt at creating its own summer festival, although from 1982-84 it presented portions of the annual Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival for local consumption.
Featuring 13 San Diego performers in this festival reverses the society's policy of importing ensembles, to the neglect of local musicians. Since the society's board dissolved the La Jolla Chamber Orchestra after its 1982 fall concert, the organization has consistently avoided San Diego musicians in its regular programming.
Two of Summerfest's eight concerts will be performed by local musicians. Prominent performers such as San Diego Symphony concertmaster Andres Cardenes, San Diego State University pianist Karen Follingstad and symphony principal bassoon Dennis Michel will be featured in matinees Sunday and Aug. 10.
"These two concerts will give us the chance to showcase the fact that we have living right here in town some real world-class musicians," said Margaret Moores, festival artistic coordinator. While the San Diego players are, in effect, segregated in their matinee concerts--none will play on programs with the musicians brought in from places like Los Angeles and London--they did receive equal billing in festival publicity. Moores hopes that in future summer festivals the society will expand local participation, although the society is officially mute on next year's plans until Summerfest '86 is over.
Among the out-of-town performers known to local audiences are cellist Ralph Kirshbaum and violinists Gyorgy Pauk and Mirian Fried, who have performed concertos with the San Diego Symphony in recent seasons. Younger musicians on the international circuit include pianist Jeffrey Kahane, winner of the fourth Artur Rubinstein Piano Competition, and cellist Matt Haimovitz, the 16-year-old who recently won the coveted Avery Fischer Career Grant.
Moores said two alfresco dinners at UC San Diego Sculpture Garden and an ice cream social before the concert at St. James-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church are intended to sweeten this summer regimen of chamber music. "We hope to bring in people in the summer who might not go to our winter concerts because they are attracted by the festival atmosphere--the ice cream on the green and the outdoor dinners."
For the festival's major contributors--those who have donated $500 or more--a private recital and lavish dinner party will be given Aug. 8 at the Rancho Santa Fe residence of local arts benefactors Peggy and Peter Preuss.
Moores, a Del Mar resident who is a cellist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, is assisting the festival's general artistic director, Heiichiro Ohyama, by programming and organizing the Sunday matinee concerts.
This Sunday's 3 p.m. program at Sherwood Hall will feature a mix of neo-Romantic composers from Richard Strauss and Carl Nielsen to Arnold Bax and Serge Prokofiev. "Even though Arnold Bax is not exactly a household name, he is not a composer to be afraid of," Moores said. The Bax Fantasy Sonata for Viola and Harp is typical of the repertory she has selected to foil the traditional fare that will dominate the rest of the festival. "I chose pieces to complement Heiichiro's programming, which is mainly 19th-Century, except for this Saturday's all-Mozart program."
Moores had some qualms about her slightly offbeat programming, however, and added a Haydn Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano to her neo-Romantic Sunday matinee. The Aug. 10 matinee will feature Poulenc's Sextet for Piano and Woodwinds and the Brahms Clarinet Trio, in which Moores will perform with San Diegans David Peck and Edith Orloff.
When music society executive director Geoff Brooks announced Summerfest '86 in September, concerts were to be given across the county, from El Cajon's East County Performing Arts Center and the University of San Diego's Immaculata Chapel to the society's usual La Jolla locations. As planning came down to the wire, however, the society retrenched. All performances will be given either in UCSD's Mandeville Auditorium or La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art's Sherwood Hall, with the single exception of the Aug. 10 matinee performance in the St. James-by-the-Sea Church across the street from Sherwood Hall.
"San Diegans do not like to travel--they prefer to have their entertainment and cultural events brought to their own backyards," said Moores. "This is true of Fairbanks Ranch, true in East County, and true of La Jollans. Sherwood Hall is a central location, and people are accustomed to going there. Mandeville may not be aesthetically as nice for chamber music, but it spreads the festival out to the university community."
Tonight's 8 o'clock opening program will feature Faure's Piano Quartet; Tchaikovsky's Sextet, Op. 70, "Souvenir de Florence," and Bartok's Contrasts for Clarinet, Violin and Piano.