Matthew Aucoin. Courtesy San Diego Symphonyt

The San Diego Symphony announced Monday its fourth annual January festival will be called “Hearing the Future” and focus on the innovative symphonic music being created today.

The festival will also explore the way music from the past — from Haydn, Beethoven and Berlioz to the creators of African-American spirituals — engaged with the most urgent issues of their time.

The symphony noted that musicans have an “uncanny ability to sense what’s just around the corner,” with the first chords of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony to The Clash’s “London Calling” defining a new era.

The festival will run January 9-27 and be curated by composer-conductor Matthew Aucoin, the artist-in-residence at the Los Angeles Opera. Highlights include

  • The first concerts conducted by incoming Music Director Rafael Payare on Jan. 10-13
  • “Were You There,” bass-baritone Davóne Tines’s meditation on the lives lost in America due to racial injustice on Jan. 13
  • A participatory performance of Cornelius Cardew’s radical choral piece “The Great Learning” at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego on Jan. 17
  • Concerts conducted by Michael Francis that explore the revolutionary works of young Romantic composers on Jan. 18-20
  • A concert of music by high-school age composers from the “Young Artists in Harmony” program on Jan. 23 presented by Art of Élan
  • Concerts conducted by Aucoin that will take the form of a “playlist” of dozens of short pieces and excerpts from orchestral music from the past, present and predicting the future, Jan. 24-27

“Artists can sometimes sniff what’s coming on the wind, or what’s bubbling in our cultural subconscious, long before the rest of us sense it. And that can help all of us gain perspective on the world we live in,” said Aucoin.

Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer said the annual festival is designed to engage the local music community and make San Diego a destination for out-of-town visitors in January.

Tickets for the different events are on sale at the symphony, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and other participating concert venues.

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Chris Jennewein

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