In all the frenzy of being Summerfest '88 artistic director, Heiichiro Ohyama says he still will find time to perform at the festival, which opens Saturday in La Jolla and continues through Aug. 30.
"I'm playing in several works--Faure's Second Piano Quartet, a Dvorak string quintet, a Beethoven string trio, a Mozart string quartet and Brahms' Piano Quartet (Opus 25)," Ohyama said.
Summerfest '88 is the third summer festival of the La Jolla Chamber Music Society.
Ohyama, a violist and conductor and principal of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was interviewed by phone from his Baldwin Hills home. He emphasized that "the most enjoyable part of running the festival is being able to play in it."
The steady but unexplosive growth of the La Jolla summer series--masterminded by Ohyama and executive director Geoffrey Brooks after several summers in which the society imported chamber music to the San Diego area--is a quiet success story.
The first festival, in 1986, operated within a tight $105,000 budget, Brooks said from the society's offices in downtown La Jolla.
"Today, with some expansion of our programs, the budget for 1988 will be only $150,000.
"The important numbers are the deficit, however. Each year, we've been able to keep the deficit down to about $65,000, an amount we consider manageable. And, each summer, we have paid it off through fund-raising activities."
Ohyama's emphasis is on continuity. He points out how many of the players from previous summers will be back in 1988: pianists Jeffrey Kahane, Edith Orloff and David Golub, cellists Ronald Leonard, Gary Hoffman and Ralph Kirshbaum and violinist Andres, among others.
The opening public event of Summerfest '88 is an 8 p.m. Saturday concert in Sherwood Hall at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art. Seven subsequent concerts take place through Aug. 30. Information: (619) 459-3724.
KUNIN--YES, SHE CAN: Sylvia Kunin once described her ongoing work with young people and music: "Life builds in a process of re-enchantment." Today, Kunin, who turned 75 recently, says she still believes that motto, while acknowledging that "after a few setbacks, I've found my energy again."
Kunin doesn't want to talk about the setbacks. Nor does she want to look backward, as the founder (in 1955) of Young Musicians Foundation, to the heyday of that organization. About YMF, she says simply, "I am proud to be the founder."
What she continues to be voluble about is the 16-year-old educational project called Musical Encounters, a television series she first created in Hawaii, where she and her husband, Al Eben, had gone to retire in 1972.
The premise of Musical Encounter Productions, says Kunin, is simple: "We want to bring together young people and music."
The way in which the programs do that--there are now available 17 separate, half-hour programs, labeled variously, "The Cello Show," "The Percussion Show," etc.--is by causing interactions between very young--often elementary-school age--players and very young listeners. The musicians perform, the audience asks questions.
"It's not education by rote and it's not concerts for youngsters," Kunin explains, "It's just kids communicating with each other."
"They're wonderful shows," says Stephen Kulczycki, vice president of programming at KCET, "and I'm a great fan of Sylvia, a wonderful, obsessive person." Kulczycki says KCET has already aired several series of Musical Encounters. The next series is scheduled for the week of Sept. 19-23 at 11:30 a.m. daily.