Rafale Payare
Conductor Rafael Payare. Photo credit: Courtesy, San Diego Symphony

Classical music companies from three of California’s largest cities, including San Diego, have joined forces for the fall launch of an ambitious undertaking, the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music.

The San Diego Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony aim to offer a statewide showcase for “today’s most compelling and forward-looking voices in performances of works written within the past five years,” according to a news release.

The two-week festival of music from around the world is set for Nov. 3-19.

The California Festival was conceived by San Diego Symphony Music Director Rafael Payare, the philharmonic Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel and San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen.

More than 50 organizations and ensembles from throughout the state, including symphony orchestras, chamber music groups, jazz ensembles, choirs and more, all performing new music, will take part. Performances are set to take place in concert halls, educational institutions, auditoriums, clubs and alternative spaces.

The festival website, established by the three partners, will highlight the participants and composers, while also attempting to “provide a broader context for new music in California.” 

While the festival will be grounded in live performances, the organizers also plan to offer a platform for other artists “to invite aesthetic invention” in multidisciplinary work, with music at its center.

Another goal, with inclusivity and diversity in mind, and as each participating organization curates its own program or project under the festival umbrella, is to make the festival “as eclectic, exciting and kaleidoscopic as it is insightful and thought-provoking.”

Music directors Dudamel, Payare and Salonen in a joint statement, said:

“Today, California – a state with the economic power of a country, the ecological diversity of a continent, and the cultural diversity of the planet – represents a powerful vision for classical music,” adding that the festival makes it possible to “celebrate the sheer magnitude of California’s contributions to classical music and to dream of new ways that we can work together to express our deep appreciation for the environment, communities and technological innovation that make this state so deeply unique.” 

The San Diego Symphony performs at Copley Symphony Hall at Jacobs Music Center in downtown San Diego and the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, while the Los Angeles Philharmonic offers performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and  The Ford.

The full roster of participants and sites will be announced later this year, officials said.

Jonathan Moscone, executive director of the California Arts Council, called the state’s musical organizations “integral to the spirit and the fabric of the Golden State.”

“We applaud the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Diego and San Francisco symphonies, and the countless other participating organizations for their joint vision in sharing with the world the inclusivity and innovation that people from across the world continue to seek here in California,” he said.