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Bonnie Wright bids adieu to Fresh Sound

24 year concert series will end November 19

Percussion icon Steve Schick was the first Fresh Sound artist; he’ll also be the last.
Percussion icon Steve Schick was the first Fresh Sound artist; he’ll also be the last.

Farewell to Fresh Sound : New music champion and concert impresario Bonnie Wright bids adieu to her Fresh Sound series with a farewell show featuring award-winning percussionist Steven Schick on November 19 at Liberty Station.

Past Event

Fresh Sound: Steven Schick

Wright’s contribution to the San Diego musical landscape is, frankly, immeasurable. She specialized in bringing non-mainstream talent (frequently from New York) to our town, including acts from the free improvisation world and contemporary classical scene that would not otherwise have had an opportunity here. Over the years, she presented soprano saxophone giant Steve Lacy, trombonist George Lewis, and pianists Aruan Ortiz, Vickie Chow, and Matthew Shipp. She even showcased the solo bagpipe player Matt Welch — more than once.

Fresh Sound concerts were events unlike anything else being produced in the country, let alone in San Diego. The Reader caught up with Wright over the phone to ask one burning question: why stop now? “In a sense, it was a matter of numbers,” she replied. “I’ve presented 224 concerts over 24 years. I’m 83 now, and eight times three is 24. I thought that the stars and numbers were in alignment. You know, this is a lot of work, and eventually, everything must come to an end. It just seemed like the time was right. Another factor is that I’m not running off to New York every year anymore, and that’s where I found a lot of the musicians I wanted to bring to San Diego.”

Steve Schick, the percussion icon who Wright chose to close the series, has actually been in San Diego for quite some time, but in a poetic closing of a circle, he happened to be the very first Fresh Sound artist to perform when Wright set up shop in February 1997. Her dad’s building in Banker’s Hill became available, and she set up her first concert venue under the aegis of Spruce Street Forum. She would go on to present events at Sushi, Space 4 Art, Bread & Salt, and most recently, Liberty Station, upstairs in the San Diego Dance Theater. Schick, who is a professor at UCSD, is also the Music Director and conductor of the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra. He will be performing a solo percussion concert featuring works by Frederick Rzewski, Roger Reynolds, and Eric Griswold.

How have people responded to the news of Fresh Sound’s ending? “Well, for one thing, I already received 110 reservations and the venue only seats 125 people. Many people have expressed beautiful sentiments when they reserved their seats,” Wright said.

Wright often put up the musicians coming to her series in her Mission Hills home. “That was one of the best things, getting to know them and becoming friends. I like having friends.” Now that she’s closing shop, there is time to ponder her future. “Well, I won’t be a concert presenter anymore. It’s been a long time anyway, because of covid. But I will miss the work” — even though “I used to worry a lot about enough people showing up to make it worthwhile for the musicians, who were usually coming from far away. That was the biggest stress, but there was nothing I could do about it.”

Looking back, does Fresh Sound feel like a success? “In terms of sharing top quality music with the people of San Diego, yes, I think it’s been successful. I think that’s why people have been so kind to me when I announced that the series was ending.”

As for what’s next, “I don’t know. I’m hoping that something will come to me. This is a very bittersweet experience. That’s the problem: finding out what to do next.”

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Percussion icon Steve Schick was the first Fresh Sound artist; he’ll also be the last.
Percussion icon Steve Schick was the first Fresh Sound artist; he’ll also be the last.

Farewell to Fresh Sound : New music champion and concert impresario Bonnie Wright bids adieu to her Fresh Sound series with a farewell show featuring award-winning percussionist Steven Schick on November 19 at Liberty Station.

Past Event

Fresh Sound: Steven Schick

Wright’s contribution to the San Diego musical landscape is, frankly, immeasurable. She specialized in bringing non-mainstream talent (frequently from New York) to our town, including acts from the free improvisation world and contemporary classical scene that would not otherwise have had an opportunity here. Over the years, she presented soprano saxophone giant Steve Lacy, trombonist George Lewis, and pianists Aruan Ortiz, Vickie Chow, and Matthew Shipp. She even showcased the solo bagpipe player Matt Welch — more than once.

Fresh Sound concerts were events unlike anything else being produced in the country, let alone in San Diego. The Reader caught up with Wright over the phone to ask one burning question: why stop now? “In a sense, it was a matter of numbers,” she replied. “I’ve presented 224 concerts over 24 years. I’m 83 now, and eight times three is 24. I thought that the stars and numbers were in alignment. You know, this is a lot of work, and eventually, everything must come to an end. It just seemed like the time was right. Another factor is that I’m not running off to New York every year anymore, and that’s where I found a lot of the musicians I wanted to bring to San Diego.”

Steve Schick, the percussion icon who Wright chose to close the series, has actually been in San Diego for quite some time, but in a poetic closing of a circle, he happened to be the very first Fresh Sound artist to perform when Wright set up shop in February 1997. Her dad’s building in Banker’s Hill became available, and she set up her first concert venue under the aegis of Spruce Street Forum. She would go on to present events at Sushi, Space 4 Art, Bread & Salt, and most recently, Liberty Station, upstairs in the San Diego Dance Theater. Schick, who is a professor at UCSD, is also the Music Director and conductor of the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra. He will be performing a solo percussion concert featuring works by Frederick Rzewski, Roger Reynolds, and Eric Griswold.

How have people responded to the news of Fresh Sound’s ending? “Well, for one thing, I already received 110 reservations and the venue only seats 125 people. Many people have expressed beautiful sentiments when they reserved their seats,” Wright said.

Wright often put up the musicians coming to her series in her Mission Hills home. “That was one of the best things, getting to know them and becoming friends. I like having friends.” Now that she’s closing shop, there is time to ponder her future. “Well, I won’t be a concert presenter anymore. It’s been a long time anyway, because of covid. But I will miss the work” — even though “I used to worry a lot about enough people showing up to make it worthwhile for the musicians, who were usually coming from far away. That was the biggest stress, but there was nothing I could do about it.”

Looking back, does Fresh Sound feel like a success? “In terms of sharing top quality music with the people of San Diego, yes, I think it’s been successful. I think that’s why people have been so kind to me when I announced that the series was ending.”

As for what’s next, “I don’t know. I’m hoping that something will come to me. This is a very bittersweet experience. That’s the problem: finding out what to do next.”

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