“Mainly Mozart” Celebrates 22nd Season In San Diego

     In the world of classical music Lincoln Center’s “Mostly Mozart” Festival is well-known but the similarly named “Mainly Mozart,” a pride of San Diego, has an orchestra of highly regarded players and visiting soloists just as accomplished and passionate. ORxchestra and John Lill 1155 (1)

     “Mainly Mozart” has just ended its 22nd Summer Festival playing before large audiences and featuring such guest celebrity soloists as pianist Andrew Von Oeyen and violinist Sarah Chang and Mezzo-Soprano Frederica Von Stade. The founding conductor and artistic director of the Festival is David Atherton who has led the London Sinfonietta, the San Diego Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic and guest conducted dozens of the major orchestras world-wide. DA Particular (1)

     Each of this summer’s eight evening programs focused on works of Mozart but paired with another master composer, including Dvorak, Brahms, Copland, all presented in downtown San Diego’s splendidly restored and revitalized Balboa Theater. BalboaExteriornew (1)

     On Saturday night, June 19th, before a packed house, the magnificent violinist James Ehnes delivered a never to be forgotten performance in the difficult and rewarding Beethoven Violin Concerto in D. Ehnes was thrilling in his soloist rendition, particularly the 24 minute opening movement, so long that it took a musical genius to keep the audience focused and deeply engaged. The Festival Orchestra knew they were participating in a great symphony presentation. At the end the audience stood en-mass, clapping with more than a few bravos heard from the crowd. Ehnes has been described as “a modern day Joshua Heifitz,” and this captivating performance justified such an historic comparison. james_ehnes (1)

     Also on the program was Beethoven’s short “Overture to Prometheus” and two lovely Mozart works, the charming and diverting “Serenata Notturna,” which passes for what the conductor might have considered “lighter” music and the great Symphony 38, “Prague.”

     And at the intermission, on this the Festival’s final night, and as the audience filed out at the conclusion one could hear appreciative murmurs along with “I’m definitely re-subscribing for next year!” Echoing this sentiment we will certainly put “Mainly Mozart” on the calendar for its 23rd season in June, 2011.

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