What's Happening at the Symphony

What's Your Music: Jahja Ling

We often ask you to Find Your Music with the San Diego Symphony, but now we're flipping the question and asking some of our musicians, guest artists and Symphony staff members: What's YOUR music? 

Here we asked Music Conductor Laureate Jahja Ling to share his music with us -- his concert recommendations and the concerts he will be conducting later this season.

1. Which concert in this season at San Diego Symphony would you recommend to someone who has never been to the Symphony?

The Discovery concert with new Music Director Designate Rafael Payare on Thursday Jan 10, 2019, featuring Mozart - Overture to Don Giovanni, Strauss - Don Juan, and Mussorgsky -  Pictures at an Exhibition.

 2. Why did you choose that concert as their first concert?

The program features Mozart’s and Strauss’ view of the life of Don Juan. They each bring their own vivid expressions even though the composers lived in different centuries. “Pictures at an Exhibition” features the stories of paintings expressed through Mussorgsky’s music and expertly orchestrated by Ravel. I believe new concert goers will enjoy and appreciate the interpretation of these pieces performed by SDSO under the direction of its new music director, Maestro Payare.

 3. What concert do you want to attend in the 2018-19 season at San Diego Symphony?

The concert of January 11 or 12 conducted by Rafael Payare and featuring cellist Alisa Weilerstein (who happens to be Payare’s wife). 

 4. What excites you about your choice?   

I am excited to attend the concert led by SDSO’s new music director Rafael Payare as I have never seen him conduct. I am eager to witness Rafael and Alisa’s collaboration as musicians and as a couple. I have known Alisa since she was 10 years old when she played under my direction with Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and now she has become one of the top major artists of our time. Also, because the program is so diverse and challenging it should have profound impact on all listeners. 

5. Tell us about “your music” at the San Diego Symphony.

April 12-13, I will conduct the 4th Symphony of my beloved composer Brahms and a great Overture of Weber “Der Freischutz” - opening with the horn chorale and ending with its dramatic foretelling the story of the opera.  

The amazing young Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki will perform Chopin Concerto no. 2.  

On Sunday April 14 Joshua Bell will play Bruch Violin Concerto which was the first orchestra piece I ever heard live when I was 12 years old in Jakarta. Joshua performed his first major orchestra appearance with The Cleveland Orchestra under my direction when he was 17 years old and since then we have collaborated in many occasions. He was also one of the soloists who performed in our orchestra’s first international tour to China in 2013.  

On May 3- 5 I will conduct a program featuring Copley Symphony Hall’s pipe organ. The versatile young organist Chelsea Chen and our orchestra will the glorious Saint Saens Organ Symphony and Poulenc Organ Concerto.  

This music and its content should stir the souls of the listeners to its core.


Find Your Music with the San Diego Symphony's 2018-19 season and check back for more in our latest #WhatsYourMusic series.

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