‘It’s About Time: A Festival of Rhythm. Sound. And Place’
Curated by Department of Music professor Steven Schick, UC San Diego plays important part in region-wide cultural festival
UC San Diego’s extensive influence in the music, art and literature scene throughout the entire region is on full display this month, with cross-border collaborations, up-close artist encounters and multiple, chest-pounding performances.
“It’s About Time: A Festival of Rhythm. Sound. And Place” explores the many ways music connects individuals to the world and nature, moving audiences from campus and the concert halls into the community at large. The Department of Music’s Steven Schick, who has long been uniting the regional music community as professor, conductor, music director and mentor, curated the San Diego Symphony-led festival, now in its third year.
“Over 30 exciting days, our festival shows how sound can convey emotion and deepen the connections among us all, and how it binds us to one another,” said Schick, a professor of music who holds the Reed Family Presidential Chair in Music. “We’ll get to show our guests a fertile and interconnected web of musical partners—musicians, audiences and institutions—that span all of San Diego.”
Launched Jan. 11 with the first of three “Percussion Lovefest” concerts, the festival highlights true collaboration for some of the top arts and music organizations in the region. In addition to the San Diego Symphony and UC San Diego, partners in the festival include the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, San Diego Opera, La Jolla Music Society, the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT), Athenaeum Music & Arts Library and Fresh Sound.
“This festival is about the rich world of rhythm and the way we hear musical time. It’s about listening to the sounds of the outside world, to our own heartbeats and to noises of contemporary life,” Schick said.
For UC San Diego, representation in the festival runs deep.
The Department of Music ensemble red fish blue fish, conducted by Schick, is featured in multiple festival performances, starting Jan. 16 in “Percussion: A Listener’s Guide” at Copley Symphony Hall, downtown. On Jan. 20, the group performs with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in a rhythm spectacle combining live percussion with dance, presented by the La Jolla Music Society.
Also Jan. 20, Schick will lead a walking, audio tour of The Stuart Collection at UC San Diego with director Mary Beebe. From Terry Allen’s “Trees” installation near the UC San Diego Library to the iconic “Sun God” sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle, the free tour will explore “the sculpture of sound,” ending at the 2017 installation by John Luther Adams, “The Wind Garden.”
On Jan. 31, ArtPower at UC San Diego presents French composer and percussionist Roland Auzet; on Feb. 2, the Department of Music presents Michael Pisaro’s “asleep, forest, melody, path.” A rich work scored for six specific sites in the region, famed percussionist and UC San Diego alumnus Greg Stuart returns to campus to lead this concert dubbed “a portrait of our city and the people who call it home.”
Themes of the border region—from Urrea and Terrazas’s performance, to multiple nights of “Tijuana Moods”—run deep in the festival. Collaborations literally straddle the border: On Jan. 27, a free concert held at International Friendship Park will bring 60 musicians together, performing the deeply moving “Inuksuit” on both sides of the border fence near the ocean. “Inuksuit” is written by John Luther Adams, whose “The Wind Garden” installation is the final spot on the Jan. 20 Stuart Collection walking tour.
“We’ll play the piece at the U.S.-Mexico border and hope to reveal not just the sonic landscape of the border, but also qualities of its cultural and social topography,” a San Diego Symphony said in a statement. “A binational group of Mexican and American percussionists will use the international language of sound to reflect a landscape of beautiful sounds, fascinating cultures and close neighbors.”
“It’s About Time” opened Jan. 11 and runs through Feb. 11 with the final concert presented by the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus. Schick will lead a pre-concert discussion, then conduct “Cross Winds,” written by Auzet.
Individual tickets for the entire festival and the complete schedule—including locations across the region—can be found at the “It’s About Time” website, with multiple shows offering free or reduced pricing for students.