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Friday, Aug. , 2006 | On the 20th opening night of La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest at Copley Symphony Hall last Friday, the Los Angeles conductor Jeffrey Kahane led newly assured musicians from the San Diego Symphony through a largely familiar and rewarding program.

Many listeners have felt the need to be patient with our orchestra as it grew up. Clearly that time is passing. The brass section no longer seems thin. The strings are able now to merge as a single voice. In Beethoven’s ever demanding Triple Concerto, Chee-Yun, Alisa Weilerstein and Jonathan Biss managed masterful subtleties. An ovation from a full house rewarded the performance of Martinu’s Sinfonietta La Jolla, commissioned in 1950 by the Music Society’s predecessor, Musical Arts Society of La Jolla.

SummerFest concerts are a bold venture forward for the San Diego musical arts, led by Christopher Beach and Cho-Liang Lin and modeled after the Santa Fe (NM) Chamber Music Festival. It’s no longer a stretch to read Andre Previn’s blurb in the SummerFest program, calling it “a destination for the world’s finest ensemble players.” SummerFest continues through Aug. 20 with concerts at Sherwood Auditorium and the Stephen and Mary Birch North Park Theatre. If you can’t take San Diego pride in SummerFest, you are not among those who care for classical music.

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