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San Diego Symphony’s ‘Hearing the Future’ Festival Marks Debut of Rafael Payare

Curated by MacArthur recipient Matthew Aucoin, the event showcases music, dance, visual arts and theater

A 2018 photo of Rafael Payare the new music director of the San Diego Symphony.

Credit: Courtesy of San Diego Symphony

Above: A 2018 photo of Rafael Payare the new music director of the San Diego Symphony.

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January used to be a slow month, a time to take a breath and catch up from the holidays. But now that the San Diego Symphony puts on an annual music festival, January is brimming with concerts, dance performances and art shows.

This year's festival - the fourth annual - is called "Hearing the Future." It explores how artists past and present create work reflective of their time, whether it's Hector Berlioz debuting his epic "Symphonie Fantastique" in 1830 or modern vocalist Davóne Tines putting a spotlight on racial injustice with "Were You There."

Curated by 2018 MacArthur Fellow Matthew Aucoin, the festival features collaborations with other local arts organizations including San Diego Dance Theater, Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, The Old Globe, Malashock Dance, Sandbox and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

Concertgoers will be able to see 90-year-old jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan at the Athenaeum one day, and experience plays by high school playwrights at The Old Globe on another. See a puppet opera about New Zealand's Maori peoples, or experience a modern dance interpretation of recent news headlines. (Find the "Hearing the Future" complete lineup here.)

But of all the upcoming events, the one with the biggest buzz is the debut of Rafael Payare, the symphony's new music director. He will conduct Mozart and Tchaikovsky on Jan. 10, and perform alongside his wife, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, Jan. 11 through 13.

On Midday Edition Friday, San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer explains why Aucoin was picked to curate the festival, and how the festival has evolved into a high-profile arts destination, even reaching the top spot in Conde Nast's "Best Places to Travel in January."

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