Inon Barnatan
Inon Barnatan. Courtesy La Jolla Music Society

The La Jolla Music Society announced Thursday that celebrated Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan will be the fourth music director of SummerFest, the popular annual celebration of classical chamber music.

Barnatan, 38, will take over the role in 2019 following current Music Director Cho-Liang Lin’s final season. It will be the festival’s first season in residence at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, which is under construction in La Jolla.

“From the first time I attended, SummerFest instantly became one of my favorite festivals in the world,” said Barnatan. “La Jolla is such an inspiringly beautiful spot, and the feeling that was created by the great musicians, audience, leadership and staff provided a sense of a real musical family, which for me is at the core of what chamber music is all about.”

Barnatan, who the New York Times has called “one of the most admired pianists of his generation,” is known as a champion of new classical music and an inventive programmer of musical events.

His responsibilities will include selecting the artists, repertoire, programmatic themes, lecturers,
composers, commissions and educational initiatives for the annual SummerFest

“We are excited to welcome Inon Barnatan, one of the world’s finest pianists and chamber
musicians, to carry on the great artistic legacy of La Jolla Music Society’s previous SummerFest
directors,” said Leah Rosenthal, director of artistic planning and education for the music society,

Barnatan made his SummerFest debut in 2012, and has played the festival many times since. He has performed extensively with many of the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony and Royal Stockholm Symphony Orchestra

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.