How do audiences learn to appreciate contemporary art, music and performance — especially pieces that are conceptual, dissonant or abstract?

The other day we posted a snippet from a New York Times profile of local conductor Steve Schick’s philosophy about integrating new, contemporary works into concerts with classical standard pieces with the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, which he conducts.

I asked you: “What do you think of Schick’s philosophy about mixing new works and traditional symphony pieces?”

I wanted to pull out a really interesting response from reader Anna Daniels. She referred to a piece the ensemble performed a couple of years ago.

Steve Schick and the LJ Symphony and Chorus have been one of the greatest best things in our cultural community. I am eager to know what is happening in the world of “classical music.”
Schick has stretched my mind and ears and musical sensibility. The concert which paid homage to Darwin and Lincoln was such a surprise, so amazing. Schick challenges us, and I am there to listen – and take my friends.
… What do I know- but he seems a percussionist at heart and always coaxes something fresh and new from music we think we know. … Steve Schick and the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus always taste like more. I’m hanging with them.

Here’s a UCSD-TV piece about the piece Daniels referred to in her comment. The La Jolla Symphony and Chorus performed the West Coast premiere of composer Evan Ziporyn’s “Frog’s Eye,” with Tijuana-based dance troupe Lux Boreal a couple of years ago:

What about you? Who in San Diego — a conductor, a curator, a writer — do you trust to lead you into performances or exhibitions that you otherwise wouldn’t immediately appreciate?

Leave us a note below or on Facebook.

I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531.

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Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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