The Laguna Beach Music Festival, a collaboration between Laguna Beach Live and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, is celebrating its tenth anniversary with an expanded repertoire under the artistic direction of violinist Joshua Bell, a Grammy winner, Avery Fisher Prize recipient and Musical American’s 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year.
Also featuring double bass player and composer Edgar Meyer, pianist Sam Haywood, a return engagement by the Calder Quartet (last here in 2003) and a first-time appearance by the Calidore Quartet, the festival kicks-off on Sunday, Feb.5. with a free concert at the Laguna College of Art and Design. It’s the Laguna Beach debut of the prodigious Calidore, comprised of students from the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles and Grand Prize winners of the 2011 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition ($7,500.00) and the Gold Medal ($3000.00) in the Senior String Division.
“Every year the music festival brings in emerging artists such as the Calidore Quartet to be paired with established musicians like the Calder Quartet who already have been here and who are on top of their game,” said Festival director Sandy Robertson. This year the festival is bigger than last year, and by moving major concerts from the Artists Theater to the Laguna Playhouse it gained more scheduling flexibility, she explained. And, even though the repertoire has been expanded from three to four concerts at the Playhouse this year, two have been sold out for weeks now, Robertson added. (The festival will also feature special events and free concerts. See sidebar and www.lagunabeachmusicfestival.com )
This year, the festival honors Ed Halvajian (1935-2009), an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and early proponent and supporter of bringing music to Laguna Beach. He also served as president and chair of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.
While previous festivals had been largely skewed toward classical/chamber music, this year’s offering will include generous doses of jazz, contemporary and perhaps blue grass, largely due to Edgar Meyer, who is not only a virtuoso on the double bass but a composer in command of guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, the piano and the viola da gamba, a Renaissance/Baroque stringed instrument. In another contemporary vein, the Calder Quartet will join forces with Mikel Jollett (lead singer,The Airborne Toxic Event) in a concert at the Sage Hill School in Newport Coast.
Dean Corey, executive director of the Philharmonic Society might join The Music Table again, a series of informal, happy-hour meetings between music professionals and members of the public established by Robertson last year. He will also participate in “Music Breaks,” small piano recitals in the lobby of the Hotel Laguna featuring local musicians. “The performances will be works in progress making it fun and exciting to bring music into the community like that,” he said. Corey is scheduled to perform on Feb. 8 at 3 p.m.
Altogether Robertson, also a former associate director of the PSoOC, estimates 2000 festival visitors this year. “Having Joshua Bell as artistic director, our roster of master musicians paired with young artists and generous gifts from patrons allowed us to kick things up a notch this year,” she said.
Laguna Beach Music Festival Schedule of Concerts/Events:
Artists: Joshua Bell, violin guest artistic director; Edgar Meyer, double bass; Sam Haywood, piano; Calder Quartet; Calidore Quartet
Sunday, Feb. 5
Calidore Quartet free concert. 3 p.m. at Laguna College of Art and Design, 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd.
Monday, Feb. 6
Opening Night Salon with Edgar Meyer, Calder Quartet, and Calidore Quartet, 6:30 p.m. at Hotel Laguna, 425 S. Coast Hwy. LB. Tickets $60. 949-553-2422.
Tuesday, Feb. 7
5 p.m. Meet the Artists and Composer. Mini concert with Edgar Meyer and the Caliadore Quartet at Aliso Creek Inn, 31106 Coast Hwy. Free.
7 p.m. Calder Quartet with Mikel Jollett (lead singer,The Airborne Toxic Event,) at Sage Hill School, 20402 Newport Coast Dr. Free.
Wednesday, Feb. 8
Private Salon w. Joshua Bell, 7 p.m. Sold out. Concert, dinner at private residence.
2 p.m Drumming and Self-Expression for kids, ages 6-12, at Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club, 1085 Laguna Canyon Rd. Free.
6:30 p.m. Calder Quartet in Concert for one hour at Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive. Free.
Wednesday, Feb.8, through Friday, Feb.10
3 p.m. Music Break. Piano recitals by surprise guests in the lobby of Hotel Laguna, 425 S.Coast Hwy.Free.
4 p.m. Music Table. No host happy hour with discussion of music topics. Meet artists, festival organizers and special guests at Hotel Laguna. Free.
Thursday, Feb. 9
The Genius of Edgar Meyer, solo recital, 8 p.m. Laguna Playhouse, 607 Laguna Canyon Rd.
Friday, Feb. 10
10 a.m. Festival artists in concert, open program at the SusiQ Senior Center, 380 3rd St. Free.
The Festival Fest, 5 p.m. dinner at Claes Ovation, Joshua Bell Concert, 5 p.m. Hotel Laguna. Sold out.
Meet Joshua Bell, accompanied by Sam Haywood, Edgar Meyer, Eric Byers and Jonathan Moerschel 8 p.m. at Laguna Playhouse, 607 Laguna Canyon Rd. Sold out.
Saturday, Feb. 11
11a.m. Open Rehearsal, open program at Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd. Free.
Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer, Calder Quartet, 8 p.m. at Laguna Playhouse, 607 Laguna Canyon Rd. Sold out.
Sunday, Feb. 12
Tenth Anniversary Concert with Edgar Meyer, Calder Quartet, and Calidore Quartet, 3 p.m. at Laguna Playhouse, 607 Laguna Canyon Rd.
Festival concert tickets are on sale now at Laguna Playhouse, or online at www.LagunaBeachMusicFestival.com. Tickets cost $40, $35 or $100 for the VIP package (includes prime seating, reserved parking, complimentary champagne at intermission). Information: www.LagunaBeachMusicFestival.com