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Regret is useless, and yet...

I make a big deal out of the Mainly Mozart festival because it actually is a big deal

Wolfgang A. Mozart
Wolfgang A. Mozart

Every year I make a big deal of the upcoming Mainly Mozart Festival, and I do this because it actually is a big deal. I had been writing about classical music for about five years when I finally went to my first Mainly Mozart concert experience. I was flabbergasted by what happened in that concert. The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra is simply the best the of the best. There is no argument. I began regretting the years of the festival I had missed.

I moved to San Diego in 1991 to attend college. That was the third year of the Mainly Mozart Festival. I began hearing about the festival not too long after, as I worked at both The Wherehouse and Tower Records on Sports Arena Boulevard. For 23 years I missed the festival. It was always over before I realized it had happened — and I was a Mozart fan.

Movie

Amadeus *

thumbnail

Through the overlush production and the underlush direction (by Milos Forman), you can still see the makings of a potent historical fiction: potent enough, that is, to stir up curiosity about how much of it is true and to put down protests about how much of it isn't. The rivalry between the traditionalist court composer Antonio Salieri and the free-lance innovator Mozart -- a one-sided rivalry, really, with Salieri driven by envy of talent, and revulsion at personal temperament, into the most melodramatic sort of chicanery -- has almost as universal an application as author Peter Shaffer means it to have: mediocrity is everywhere, and its best hope to escape detection is to stamp out anything better. But the particulars of this case tend, as particulars will, to obscure the application; and though most people by definition should have an easier time identifying with Salieri, the dramatic sympathy piles up all the other way. "Chastity, industry, and humility" — the bartering items Salieri is ready to offer to God in exchange for musical immortality — do not sound anywhere near as much fun as the bouts of partygoing that seem to take up the bulk of Mozart's time, in between jotting down those masterpieces that come to his head fully formed. The notion of "genius" as some sort of genetic lottery prize (rather than as that no-fun definition of Carlyle's, the transcendent capacity for taking pains) will help to make Mozart a hero for our time, if only to provide a handy excuse for packing it up whenever work bogs down. (Nothing pushes the conflict further toward oversimplification than the portrayal of Mozart, by Tom Hulce, as a sort of Mickey Rooney <em>circa</em> 1939, complete with barnyard laugh.) And it will be easy to forget that Salieri, for all his obliging concessions of his own mediocrity and of the absolute genius of his rival, is at least as far above the general run as Mozart is above him. With F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Berridge, and Jeffrey Jones.

Find showtimes

Having come of age in the 80s, I was severely seduced by the movie Amadeus, and Mozart was the pinnacle of my musical experiences. I had purchased scores of his music, mostly choral works, and listened to endless hours of piano concertos, operas, symphonies, et cetera.

Regret is a useless emotion in many ways, but I couldn’t help feeling a certain sense of loss after that first Mainly Mozart concert. I haven’t missed one since.

This year the festival runs June 1-24 and the theme is Brave New World: From Rebel to Entrepreneur. This is year three in a six-year journey through Mozart’s life and music as established by Mainly Mozart music director Michael Francis.

The meat and potatoes of the festival are the festival orchestra concerts at the Balboa Theatre, the first of which is June 9. However, the most interesting concert of the festival might be the very next day, June 10.

Past Event

Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra with Derek Paravicini

  • Sunday, June 10, 2018, 7 p.m.
  • Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Avenue, San Diego
  • $15 - $88

Derek Paravicini has been featured multiple times on 60 Minutes and other national news shows due to his extraordinary skills as a pianist. Derek was born blind and severely autistic, to the point where he cannot dress or feed himself, yet he can play every song he’s ever heard in any key and in any style. He is a confirmed musical savant.

Video:

Derek Paravicini on 60 Minutes

The Mainly Mozart Festival has commissioned a piece of music for piano and orchestra for Derek which will receive its world premiere on June 10 at the Balboa Theatre. The concert will also feature members of the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra playing side by side with the festival orchestra, and LA Philharmonic concertmaster Martin Chalifour will solo with the orchestra in Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending.

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Wolfgang A. Mozart
Wolfgang A. Mozart

Every year I make a big deal of the upcoming Mainly Mozart Festival, and I do this because it actually is a big deal. I had been writing about classical music for about five years when I finally went to my first Mainly Mozart concert experience. I was flabbergasted by what happened in that concert. The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra is simply the best the of the best. There is no argument. I began regretting the years of the festival I had missed.

I moved to San Diego in 1991 to attend college. That was the third year of the Mainly Mozart Festival. I began hearing about the festival not too long after, as I worked at both The Wherehouse and Tower Records on Sports Arena Boulevard. For 23 years I missed the festival. It was always over before I realized it had happened — and I was a Mozart fan.

Movie

Amadeus *

thumbnail

Through the overlush production and the underlush direction (by Milos Forman), you can still see the makings of a potent historical fiction: potent enough, that is, to stir up curiosity about how much of it is true and to put down protests about how much of it isn't. The rivalry between the traditionalist court composer Antonio Salieri and the free-lance innovator Mozart -- a one-sided rivalry, really, with Salieri driven by envy of talent, and revulsion at personal temperament, into the most melodramatic sort of chicanery -- has almost as universal an application as author Peter Shaffer means it to have: mediocrity is everywhere, and its best hope to escape detection is to stamp out anything better. But the particulars of this case tend, as particulars will, to obscure the application; and though most people by definition should have an easier time identifying with Salieri, the dramatic sympathy piles up all the other way. "Chastity, industry, and humility" — the bartering items Salieri is ready to offer to God in exchange for musical immortality — do not sound anywhere near as much fun as the bouts of partygoing that seem to take up the bulk of Mozart's time, in between jotting down those masterpieces that come to his head fully formed. The notion of "genius" as some sort of genetic lottery prize (rather than as that no-fun definition of Carlyle's, the transcendent capacity for taking pains) will help to make Mozart a hero for our time, if only to provide a handy excuse for packing it up whenever work bogs down. (Nothing pushes the conflict further toward oversimplification than the portrayal of Mozart, by Tom Hulce, as a sort of Mickey Rooney <em>circa</em> 1939, complete with barnyard laugh.) And it will be easy to forget that Salieri, for all his obliging concessions of his own mediocrity and of the absolute genius of his rival, is at least as far above the general run as Mozart is above him. With F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Berridge, and Jeffrey Jones.

Find showtimes

Having come of age in the 80s, I was severely seduced by the movie Amadeus, and Mozart was the pinnacle of my musical experiences. I had purchased scores of his music, mostly choral works, and listened to endless hours of piano concertos, operas, symphonies, et cetera.

Regret is a useless emotion in many ways, but I couldn’t help feeling a certain sense of loss after that first Mainly Mozart concert. I haven’t missed one since.

This year the festival runs June 1-24 and the theme is Brave New World: From Rebel to Entrepreneur. This is year three in a six-year journey through Mozart’s life and music as established by Mainly Mozart music director Michael Francis.

The meat and potatoes of the festival are the festival orchestra concerts at the Balboa Theatre, the first of which is June 9. However, the most interesting concert of the festival might be the very next day, June 10.

Past Event

Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra with Derek Paravicini

  • Sunday, June 10, 2018, 7 p.m.
  • Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Avenue, San Diego
  • $15 - $88

Derek Paravicini has been featured multiple times on 60 Minutes and other national news shows due to his extraordinary skills as a pianist. Derek was born blind and severely autistic, to the point where he cannot dress or feed himself, yet he can play every song he’s ever heard in any key and in any style. He is a confirmed musical savant.

Video:

Derek Paravicini on 60 Minutes

The Mainly Mozart Festival has commissioned a piece of music for piano and orchestra for Derek which will receive its world premiere on June 10 at the Balboa Theatre. The concert will also feature members of the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra playing side by side with the festival orchestra, and LA Philharmonic concertmaster Martin Chalifour will solo with the orchestra in Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending.

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