Mostly Mozart of San Diego made national headlines in 2020 when the organization responded to the COVID-19 shutdown by introducing drive-in classical music concerts.
“It’s strange because I think being the first to produce classical music live for the public, people see us as risk takers,” said Nancy Laturno, CEO and co-founder of Mainly Mozart. “We were risk takers, but we were very careful about bringing the public back inside. A lot of people thought we’d be back at the Balboa Theater last fall. But this summer, we maintain our commitment to outdoor concerts.
The Mainly Mozart All-Star Orchestra Festival will be held at the Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park, starting tonight and running through Saturday, June 18. Tonight the festival opens with Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, featuring Boris Allakhverdyan of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Beethoven’s Symphony. Number 4.
In 2016, a year after Mainly Mozart’s musical director Michael Francis joined the nonprofit, he launched the festival’s six-year journey exploring Mozart’s life and work. In 2019, the fourth year covered the personal and professional experience of the composer in Vienna.
“The pandemic has turned that upside down,” Laturno said. “This year ends the interrupted journey of six years, with Mozart’s Requiem as the last concert. The San Diego Master Chorale joins us in this.
“The concert shell and structure we create each year in Del Mar is a huge undertaking. Adding singers on stage and finding the right organ to use on the outside are huge challenges. Our Director of Operations, Katie McBride -Muzquiz, is a magician!
The magic created on the illuminated stage allows musicians to work even more magic. As in the past, the orchestra is made up of concertmasters and soloists from across the country.
This summer, the festival will feature notable soloists such as violinist Augustin Hadelich, pianist Gilles Vonsattel and cellist Maximilian Hornung performing pieces by Mozart, Saint-Saëns and many more.
“Michael Francis is an extraordinary programmer,” said Laturno. “And then he adds richness to it with his stage narration. He surprised me more than once and made me cry.
Mendelssohn and Hadelich
On Tuesday, Hadelich will perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.
“Mostly Mozart is a wonderful ensemble to play with as a soloist,” said the violinist, speaking from a stop on the tour in Frankfurt, Germany.
“Every member is so excellent and responsive. Because a lot of the orchestra members are used to being in charge, there’s an energy that keeps it alive. They are all musicians with whom I really like to play.
Winner of a 2016 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo, Hadelich was born in Italy to a German farming family. At 15, his promise as a violinist was shattered when he was seriously injured in a fire. After almost two years of rehabilitation, Hadelich resumed his studies and became a professional violinist.
When not touring, he is based near New Haven, Connecticut, where he teaches a handful of students at the Yale School of Music. He and his wife, Suxiao Yang, have a 2-year-old toddler.
Mendelssohn’s Concerto is one of the composer’s most performed and most popular pieces. According to Hadelich, it is also a groundbreaking masterpiece and one of Mendelssohn’s least appreciated works.
“The right way was to have the orchestra do some introductory music at the start,” said the violinist, who considers the concerto one of the most delicate and difficult works to perform. “But the violin immediately begins the piece. It’s a very fast-paced game that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
“In contrast, the second theme is calm, tender and blissful. The last movement is light and transparent. Mendelssohn wanted the play to be a thrilling ride. It is and it’s really exhilarating at the end.
Mainly Mozart All-Star Orchestra Festival presents The Virtuoso & Don Giovanni, with Augustin Hadelich
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The festival runs today until June 18.
Where: Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park, 14989 Via de la Valle, Del Mar
Tickets: $60 for a group of up to four people in seats in section B (general admission); $120 for a party of up to four in Section A. VIP seating is available for $500 for a table for four or $1,000 for a VIP table for four in a prime location. Two seats at a VIP table for four people cost $300 and $600 respectively.
Call: (619) 239-0100
On line: mainly mozart.org