Launching the First California Festival

Oct 24, 2023

Back at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park in San Diego, Rafael Payare leads the San Diego Symphony’s three fall programs as part of the inaugural “California Festival: A Celebration of New Music.” Created by the San Diego Symphony in collaboration with both the LA Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony, the festival represents a new, statewide music initiative to showcase the most compelling and forward-looking music of the past five years.

For their first festival concert on November 4, Payare conducts the world premiere of Juan Colomer’s A Casual Walk to Extinction; the West Coast premiere of Billy Childs’s Diaspora (Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra), an SDS co-commission, with Steven Banks as soloist; and Texu Kim’s Zzan!!, which means “cheers” in Korean and casts drinking glasses as percussion instruments. These new and recent works share the program with Strauss and Mozart, featuring soprano Liv Redpath.

Next, Payare and the SDS pair Carlos Simon’s Wake Up with The Ring Without Words, Lorin Maazel’s symphonic synthesis of Wagner’s Ring cycle, in a multimedia production featuring original video projections (Nov 10 & 11). Their final festival program complements the world premiere of Vladimir Tarnopolsky’s Danse Macabre, another SDS commission, with three 20th-century masterworks: Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras (Nov 17 & 18).