September feels as though it is taking forever. It feels that way every year. Football starts, school starts, summer ends, and I’m still waiting for the symphony season to begin.
This year the San Diego Symphony opens its season on October 8, 8 p.m., with the annual Opus Gala. In each the previous three seasons the Opus Gala has featured an international piano soloist. In 2013 the star was Lang Lang, 2014 was Lola Astanova, and 2015 was Yuja Wang.
"Every Home Should Have One"
Patti Austin on Soultrain, 1981
Pianists are out and singers are in for 2016. These aren’t just any singers. Patti Austin is a jazz and pop singer who was featured in the award winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom and Michael Feinstein is best known for his work on reviving the “Great American Songbook.”
I’m a little puzzled because I thought the pops season ended with Tchaikovsky at the beginning of September. Tradition has it that the Opus Gala is the start of the Jacobs Masterworks season but tradition appears to have been dismissed this year.
The Opus Gala is also a stand-alone concert this year. In years gone by the gala contained a unique 90-minute program that fell on the Saturday between Masterworks concerts. Is this new gala approach a big deal? Probably not.
It feels as though the symphony is trying to expand the appeal of the Opus Gala to a broader demographic. The concert is, after all, a fundraiser, so the more people interested in going the better.
The levels of participation are $30-$80 for a ticket to the concert, $250 for a ticket and the afterparty at the University Club, and $1250 for the gala dinner before the concert.
To my mind, the season will start on October 12 when violinist Gil Shaham visits with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Maestro Ling and the symphony will be giving Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 a go.
If I were to name a composer that is consistently excellent with Ling and the San Diegans, it would be Brahms. And now we wait...