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Letter: Explore the future with Matthew Aucoin

Dear listeners,

This year’s January festival is an invitation to think creatively and listen deeply. What lies in store for us, for our society, for our planet? What is happening in our atmosphere, our economy, our education system? And if the omens don’t look good to us, what can we citizens of this young millennium do about it?

Every so often, musicians and other artists catch a whiff of what’s around the corner, a little clue carried on a cosmic wind. And sometimes composers manage to put these premonitions into music. “Hearing the Future” is a celebration of those mysterious musical prophecies, past and present. From Beethoven’s revolutionary rhetoric to the electronically-processed warning cry of Steve Reich’s Its Gonna Rain, the music in this festival has in common an investigative spirit, an attitude of honest inquiry. Our goal is not to offer answers; rather, our goal is to ask the right questions, and let those questions inspire your thinking.

Our festival features a vast, dazzlingly diverse array of music. You’ll hear the orchestral music of Berlioz and Liszt, which both amazed and baffled 19th-century audiences. You’ll hear the bass-baritone Davóne Tines sing timeless spirituals as a plea for peace in a time of deep racial tensions here in America. You’ll hear the gifted New Zealander composer Celeste Oram’s operatic concoction He Pūtōrino Mākutu (A Magic Flute), a unique fusion of Maori music and Mozartian opera. And you’ll hear an orchestral concert structured in a very 21st-century way: as a playlist, made up of many excerpts of some of my favorite music from across the repertoire.

This is also a truly city-wide festival: the Symphony has partnered with numerous San Diego organizations, from museums to puppet theaters to dance companies, and the work of San Diego artists is featured front and center. We’re thrilled that so many San Diegans want to explore the future with us. And we hope you will, too!


Musically yours,

Matthew Aucoin

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