Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

La Jolla Music Society Prepares To Open New Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center

 April 4, 2019 at 12:10 PM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh. Sometimes what starts out as an unwelcome change can become a fantastic opportunity and that's just what happened to the La Jolla music society, which is celebrating the grand opening of its new home this weekend. The classical music organization which hosts the popular Summerfest series lost a place to play when the Museum of Contemporary Art close the Sherwood Auditorium two years ago, but that led to a dream come true for the music society, the construction of a state of the art venue called the Conrad Previs Performing Arts Center in the heart of La Jolla village. Joining me is Enon Barna town. He's the new music director of the La Jolla music society. Summerfest in Enon. Welcome to the program and show the young Lynn Jimmy Lin, who directed Summerfest for 18 years. He's back to perform opening night at the new Conrad Previs Performing Arts Center and Jimmy, welcome. Thank you so much. Let me start with you, Jimmy, because they'll Hawaiian music society use the Sherwood Auditorium for years, but it's been operating without a permanent home really since it was founded more than 50 years ago. Speaker 1: 01:11 What does it mean for the society to have a permanent space? It means a lot on so many fronts. First of all, having a home is very important and having a state of the art, a really beautiful looking, beautiful sounding hall, we'll just add that much more depth to every concert experience for both the musicians and for the audience. And in fact, you know, show what auditorium, uh, served us very well for decades, but it was never a satisfactory venue and I was really in a tough spot in that I wanted the audience to come in here, summer fest concerts. But I also wanted to drum up some support for eventually a new home. So to the media, to the press, to the patrons. I cannot exactly trash show what auditorium, but it was really far from ideal in an acoustical environment. And also it had a lot of noisy elements like the air conditioning system and a rather inadequate backstage, but we put up with it. Speaker 1: 02:16 But, so I didn't really, you know, bad mouth the hall, but at the same time we knew that we were suffering musically. And I think in terms of the sheer enjoyment level. And so finally, when Sherwood was the shutter, that gave us the opening for a really, you know, a whole new chapter and this is the result. Now, can you describe what this new center is like for us, please? Oh, it's, you know, I, I walked in there for the first time yesterday, um, or the first time that we was not under construction where we're actually ready. And it is almost indescribable how wonderful it is to walk into a new hall, uh, like that. Because first of all, acoustically, it sounds so good in there. You can hear so well, so clearly from everywhere in the hall and on stage. Um, there's a, um, a warmth and a bloom to the sound and, and, uh, and an intimacy to the space where you feel everybody is connected to what's happening on stage. Speaker 1: 03:17 Uh, and that's really what we try to do as performers. And of course we're talking about just, uh, the main hall. But there, there's another, uh, a theater there that I'm much more flexible black box type theater and a beautiful courtyard and all these ancillary rooms. So it's, it's as a, as a facility, it's quite remarkable. The main hall is, is called the baker bomb hall and then there's a smaller one called theJ and you envision the smaller one being used a lot during summer fast. Absolutely. And I think it's one of those things that it's, it's, in some ways it was, it's hard to think about how to use a space before you've been in the space. And now that I've been in the space, the, the, the mind reels in terms of possibilities. But yes, it's um, it would enable us to explore what it means to have different concert experiences, what the concert experiences can be in different spaces. Speaker 1: 04:18 Now you'll both be performing opening night in a special convening of past and present Summerfest music directors. Did the local and music society decided to bring you both together, do you think? Uh, I think it's very special. Not only eat on and I will play together, but also David Finkel Woo Han and atrial Jamar, the founding music director of summer fest, we will all congregate for the very first time on the one roof in performance. And I think it's a very rare and very special occasion. And it's also pretty star studded. You can have special guests on opening night. Yes. I mean there's some, some incredible people, a Hilary Hahn and we have little buck who's incredible dancer, hip hop ballet, all the styles that he brings together. He was championed by your, your mind and, and I'm really excited. I'm going to get to, to do something with him. Speaker 1: 05:14 Jake rights and Shimabukuro the Ukulele. Johnny game of course. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of, a lot of people that I'm, I'm very excited to share a stage with this opening weekend. The Conrad is being presented as a performance space for other arts groups as well, not just as a classical music venue. So who else is going to be performing during opening weekend? Lean on the night after on Saturday night we have seal coming and doing a special concert that is completely in our lists are all sold out and then the next day the hot sardines are coming and doing a special evening is also incredible. So, so I think showcasing the variety of what can be done in this venue is something that they, they, they did incredibly well and not only opening weekend, I mean, what, what's planned for uh, for the next few months and then for, for Summerfest really showcases what you can do when you have a home. Speaker 1: 06:13 Now Jimmy, the new Conrad constant $82 million, the La Jolla music society will only use it for about a third of the year. So that means the music society is taking a leap of faith that they can book the rest of the year and have this new space remain solvent. How risky do you think that is for the society? Well, $82 million. Yes, that's a lot. For sure. For sure. And, and with the design of any concert halls, that's always a leap of faith isn't going to turn out well. Is it going to turn out functional as he non-attest to just a couple of minutes ago acoustically the place is stunning. It's great. It's a success, no question about it. It's a really great investment. But I think apart from the musical aspect and the the enjoyment level aspect, this hopefully will serve as a cultural center for all of San Diego. You know, it's very important for a community to rally around a new place that really is beautiful and meaningful. Speaker 1: 07:11 And we talked about that special space at the J. I can just imagine a lot of kids, you know, one day attending a particular program, you know, a less formal maybe, you know even puppet shows and other things that we can, we can lend to the community and invite people in. I know San Diego Opera has been interested. It has been talking to La Jolla music society about possibly collaborating, using that space for some a chamber operas, so hopefully it's going to be used by a lot of people for generations to come. I've been speaking with the Non Barnett is the new music director of the La Jolla music society, summer fast and former summer fest director Jamie Lynn. Tickets for tomorrow night's opening at the Conrad Previs Performing Arts Center are practically sold out, but a free open house will be held on April 27th I want to thank you so much. Thank you both. Thank you for having us. Thank you. That wonderful blue here. The Conrad Previs Foundation is a KPBS funder, and you can watch the opening night festivities at the Conrad Tomorrow night on KPBS evening edition, starting at five on Kpbs TV, and you're listening to KPBS mid day edition.

On Friday La Jolla Music Society opens its new $82 million music venue, the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. The grand opening will include a series of concerts and other festivities. GUESTS: Inon Barnatan, music director, SummerFest; Cho-Liang "Jimmy" Lin, former music director, SummerFest