A billboard promoting Rafael Payare and the symphony’s “new era of music.” Image from symphony twitter feed

Exciting performances over the weekend give classical musical lovers thrilling reasons to celebrate the arrival of Rafael Payare as the new music director of the San Diego Symphony.

Standing ovations greeted the brilliant young maestro’s inauguration as he guided the orchestra through the emotional ranges of Gustav Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 5 in performances on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Mahler’s brilliant composition, from its lone trumpet call through five complex movements of tragedy and triumph, provided a wonderful beginning for what promises to be a splendid symphony season.

On this opening weekend, Payare also presented a concert of new music by California composer Mason BatesAlternative Energy. The work–tracing hundreds of years of the history of technology and climate change– from Henry Ford’s first car in Michigan to a futuristic Icelandic rainforest—-was happily received as the audience waited for Payare’s Mahler.

The San Diego Symphony has now pulled it all together for the coming season, which is described as a “new era of music.” There are engaging prelude talks from dynamic presenter Nuvi Mehta, compelling video on two big screens, and musicians who seem passionately delighted in their work.

Payare will be on the podium for concerts in the remaining weeks of October and November, then into February and the spring of 2020. The large, happy audiences are sure to be back for more. The full year’s symphony program may be found at SanDiegoSymphony.com.

Barry Jagoda was an award-winning journalist at NBC News and CBS News, who later served in the White House as an assistant for President Jimmy Carter.

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