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Events: Summerfest, Hershey Felder, MCASD TNT

La Jolla Music Society president/artistic director Christopher Beach with fes...

Above: La Jolla Music Society president/artistic director Christopher Beach with festival music director Cho-Liang Lin.

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A renown classical music festival begins and celebrates 25 years in business, Hershey Felder returns to the Old Globe as Leonard Bernstein, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego opens a pop-up shop.


Valerie Scher is an arts journalist who has covered San Diego's classical music scene for more than 25 years.

Liz Bradshaw is the curator at The Loft at UCSD and has worked in the music industry for many years.

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This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: The sounds of summer in San Diego will be especially sweet this weekend. The annual Summer Fest of classical music gets under way, along with pop rock and suffer music events around town. In addition there's a big wine tasting festival up in Rancho Bernardo. Joining me for the weekend preview are my guests, Valerie Scher an arts journalist who's covered San Diego's arts music scene for more than 25 years. Hello.

SCHER: Hello Maureen. I'm delighted to be here.

CAVANAUGH: And Liz Bradshaw joins you. She's curator at the loft at UCSD. Hello.

BRADSHAW: Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: Let's start with you salary and Summer Fest. San Diego's summer of classical music festival and it's celebrating it's 25th anniversary. For someone who has never been to Summer Fest, what happens there?

SCHER: Where does one start? Describing Summer Fest at Summer Fest, you have the chance to attend concert, lectures, rehearsals, reception, parties. The musicians stay at the homes of Summer Fest supporters instead of in hotels, and there really is a special feeling of chumminess. It's a summer festival that emphasizes the collaborative nature of music, as well as the enjoyment that it brings. Most of the musicians are from outside San Diego, some are famous, others not, some are well establish indeed their careers, others are up and coming musicians, and almost all of the performances take place in the La Jolla auditorium in San Diego. The music society has been known to put chairs on stage on accommodate the over flow. It has a nice intimate feeling. The acoustics may be a little dry, but in terms of side lines, I don't think there is a bad seat in the house.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Valerie, in terms of how Summer Fest is viewed both nationally and internationally, give us some sense of that.

SCHER: Summer Fest is certainly one of the musical highlights of the year in San Diego. I'm sure you're aware, we are fortunate to have a variety of music festivals am I'm also very fond of mainly Mozart festival. I admire that as well, which happens earlier in the summer. But Summer Fest is sort of in its own category because of the number of chamber music concerts, the activities that surround them, and the fact that musicians stay in people's homes. You asked about its national status, I would say that Summer Fest is highly regarded. There is no question of that. It compares favorably with other major festivals like Santa Fe. Santa Fe is older. It was founded back in 1972. So it's considerably older than Summer Fest. And it's also bigger. It's interesting to note that a number of musicians who perform at Summer Fest also perform at Santa Fe. It's kind of like a virtues onic game of musical chairs.

CAVANAUGH: I must and ask you, there are always named artists coming to Summer Fest. Who are some of the highlights this year?

SCHER: All kinds of appealing musicians. I suppose among the best known this year are violinists Gil Shaham, and Midori, the Tokyo spring quartet, the Kalichstein-Loredo-Robinson Trio, then pianist Olga kern, and the Assad brothers who play the guitar. And someone who's crucial, violinist Cho Liang Lin, otherwise known as Jimmy, and he is the Summer Fest music director. He not only does a tremendous amount to put together the programs and figure out what pieces the musicians will perform, he also performs in about half the concerts. Don't ask me how he does it. I do not know how he keeps up.

CAVANAUGH: Valerie, finally, I must and you, what's the financial health of Summer Fest? What is its future in your opinion?

SCHER: I think Summer Fest is doing quite well. We are living in extremely difficult times. I do believe that this is as close as we will come in our lifetimes to experiencing something like the great depression of the 1930s, and this has affected the arts as well. How could it not? But Summer Fest is carefully managed. It is under the auspices of the La Jolla music society, which is an extremely reputable organization headed by Christopher beach. I do believe there is another support from people who feel strongly about the arts in general and Summer Fest in particular so that the festival will keep going. I have been going since the very beginning, since the first concert in August of 1986. And my feeling is it will be here for many summers to come.

CAVANAUGH: Well, the 25th Summer Fest festival began last night. It continues through August 26th at the Sherwood auditorium at the museum of contemporary art in La Jolla. Liz, wine country! The wine country festival is this weekend. Tell us about this festival.

BRADSHAW: This is actually -- it's the first annual San Diego wine country festival. It's being held at Bernardo winery in Rancho Bernardo east of the 15, and it's being put on and produced by the San Diego County vintners' association this Saturday. And it's basically come about as a portal for the growing increasing number of wineries and wine makers in San Diego County to make themselves known and to showcase what they do. And let people know that they are here. If you're looking just to go out and do a bit of wine tasting one afternoon, you don't have to drive up to Temecula or the long-haul up to Napa.

CAVANAUGH: How many wineries are going to be represented?

BRADSHAW: 20 wineries that are represented, but what I recently discovered is that last year an ordinance was passed in the City of San Diego that's allowing smaller produces to open tasting rooms in the county. And so what we've seen since last August, I believe, is the number of people who are making wine, opening their doors to the public, has grown to around 50 wineries at the minute which is really, really exciting, and brought along with that is until known the tradition in San Diego has been Italian style, old style wine making, and you're getting some of the newer wine making crowd coming down from Napa and Sonoma with new technologies and shaking things up in the area.

CAVANAUGH: When people go to the wine festival up in Rancho Bernardo this weekend, can they have some food too?

BRADSHAW: The Bernardo winery has a restaurant, cheese plates for sale. And what would be any event in San Diego without a food truck? So super Q food truck is going to be there. And there's going to be some local Spanish music, olives, Greek food, and it's going to be fun and nice and outside and sunny.

CAVANAUGH: I think I saw this as pretty reasonably priced isn't it?

BRADSHAW: I think so. It's $20 to get into the festival. For that, you get a souvenir glass and ten tastings. And if you're the designated drive, it's okay.

CAVANAUGH: The wine festival is this Saturday in Rancho Bernardo. Valor, Hershey Felder back with a new show, one man show about music, he's really made a living on these shows hasn't he?

SCHER: He certainly has. Even Felder has been surprised by his success. He once told me the reason he started these shows is he had a desire to bring classical music to a broader approximately. He thought his show about George Gershwin would be what he called a nice fun program. And he never imagined it would be a cottage industry. Well, that's what it has become. We have had Hershey Felder starring in shows about Gershwin, Chopin, bait even, and now Leonard Berstein.

CAVANAUGH: Give us a reminder about the importance of Berstein's career.

SCHER: He died in 1990 at the age of 72. And he had a huge impact on music. He wasn't just a musician. He was also a phenomenon. He was a one- man bundle of intellect, emotion, talent and relentless ambition. He was a composer, pianist, conductor, author, lecturer and political activist. And he was never satisfied. He always wanted more. That was his blessing and his curse. If he felt he should have achieved even more, especially as a composer. He wasn't content with west side story, and all the other scores he wrote. Toward the end of his life when he was dying of cancer, he wanted apparently to make a bargain with God so that he could write that one big, definitive American work.

CAVANAUGH: Wow! What a dramatic story. No wonder it's going to be at The Old Globe. Now, do you enjoy Felder's shows, Valerie?

SCHER: I do. Of I enjoy the way he inhabits these roles, the way he becomes these famous musicians. He can be very persuasive and entertaining. He calls himself an illusionist. Okay.

CAVANAUGH: Hershey Felder at The Old Globe, playing Leonard Berstein. Running through August 28th. Valerie, the San Diego symphony summer pops. Two performances this weekend. On Friday, theatre fans get a real treat of Broadway a Tony winners will be on display. But on Sunday, Burt back rack, does he still put on a good live performance?

SCHER: Well, Burt Bacharach is a showman at heart. It doesn't matter how old he is, as long as he is able, the show will go on, that's the kind of musician he is.

CAVANAUGH: And what about Broadway's Tony winners? What kinds of music will we be hearing during that show?

SCHER: This is an extremely popular show, and it returns in various incarnations, it seems, year after year. This time we're going to have excerpts from such shows as wicked, phantom of the opera, guys and dolls, west side story, thank you again Leonard Berstein.

CAVANAUGH: Ah, ha. The San Diego symphony summer pop it is series continues with Broadway's stone Tony winners on Friday and solid, and Burt Bacharach on Sunday at the embarcadero park. Liz, TNT at ASD is back. What did I just say?

BRADSHAW: It's back. The Thursday night thing

CAVANAUGH: Remind listeners what TNT is.

BRADSHAW: It's just a brilliant opportunity to go down to the San Diego museum of contemporary art, explore both venues that they have, either side of Ketner boulevard there. And enjoy the exhibits, live music, DJs, food, the old cocktail. And each TNT specifically relates to an exhibit at the museum, and it provides the opportunity to have a less formal museum outing. This one is themed Emerge.

CAVANAUGH: And the museum has a new pop up shop. What is that?

BRADSHAW: It does. It's called the product porch, which I love. Upon I cannot wait to see it. It's a six-month retail experiment by the museum. So it's a destination for new design and creative retail. It's a class action between the museum and design retailers brook Hudson Thomas, and blare descent, and it will offer you purchase accessories, design, and things from emerging artists all over the world.

CAVANAUGH: And there's a hair place right?

BRADSHAW: How fantastic is that! If you haven't had time before you go down there, to get ready, you can make a B line for the pop up hair studio and get your do done there.

CAVANAUGH: And if you haven't had a enough by the time it end, there's a post party as well.

BRADSHAW: There is. This is a big night. There's a post party at the W in San Diego. Specialty cocktails, you'll be able to have a conversation and a chat with you like with the folks behind the pop up. Everyone that attends the after party is going to be entered into a competition to get some great goodies.

CAVANAUGH: All right. TNT, the Thursday night thing, is of course tonight at the downtown location of the museum of contemporary art, San Diego. I didn't think we were going to have time to get this in. But there is a summer party at surf Indian? ; is that right?


CAVANAUGH: Surf Indian gallery on Saturday.

BRADSHAW: Full disclosure, it's probably hands down one of my personal favorite places to go in San Diego. It's located on mission boulevard in Pacific Beach, it's owned by a local PB surfer and very, very nice guy, Chris rule. He opened this gallery a couple of years ago to highlight the art of surfing and regularly features internationally renowned artists across all mediums, fine art, photography, surf board, resin, graphic design, and always skate and surf board art in there too. In addition, two doors down they spill over into a wonderfully stocked boutique with some of the most interesting designed and progressive surf boards and art driven small batch products that really reflect his individual approach.

CAVANAUGH: And there's a CD release party.

BRADSHAW: Yes, the red fox cells will be playing. It's to celebrate the new release of their EP. And they're going to be performing along with three additional musicians from the area too.

CAVANAUGH: And how you can take a breath. I have been speaking with arts journalist Valerie sheer, and Liz Bradshaw, curator at the loft at UCSD. Thank you both very much.

BRADSHAW: Thank you Maureen.

SCHER: Thank you.


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