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Chambers of music

Laguna Beach Music Festival broadens to include jazz and
‘new classical,’ in addition to traditional chamber music.

January 12, 2007|By Candice Baker

Five years of harmonic convergence will culminate in next week's fifth annual Laguna Beach Music Festival.

Recent years have brought something new into the week-long musical confab, formerly known as the Laguna Beach Chamber Music Festival.

"It still fits, of course," said founder Lucinda Prewitt of the former title. "But to many people, it's intimidating, and they only think of traditional classical music, and we're not that — we've been doing a crossover for the past couple years. This year it is all the new sounds of classical and some jazz."

The 2007 festival, to be held from Jan. 15 to 21, will feature the Ahn Trio, comprised of Julliard-trained Korean sisters with a new, more contemporary approach to their music.

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Their guest artists will include the David Benoit Trio, pianist/composer Fernando Otero and new works composed by Benoit, Otero, Paul Chihara and Nguyên Lê.

These world premieres — along with master classes, a salon-style reception, a symposium and three concerts — will introduce Lagunans to a newer style of classical music, Prewitt says.

The artists have all either worked together previously or always wanted to work with each other, Prewitt said. This creates a naturally collaborative, celebratory atmosphere that permeates into the music itself.

"To me, a festival is something you can't find anywhere else," Prewitt said.

Admission to many of the events will be complimentary, with concert ticket costs kept to a minimum, Prewitt said.

"We feel strongly about having some free events, and keeping ticket prices low," she said.

The Laguna Beach Live! event is also presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, which helped organize the first festival in 2003.

"They wanted to spread out and come to Laguna, and I wanted to do a festival, so it was perfect," Prewitt said.

"For them, they get new people, and we get some great help. They help with programming, production, marketing and some other aspects of the festival."

Festival events will be held at and are sponsored by a variety of venues, from the Hotel Laguna to the Laguna Art Museum.

"This week wouldn't happen without Hotel Laguna or the other lodging establishments," Prewitt said. "It's really a whole-Laguna event."

Also notable this year is that the event was moved from April to January, to ensure that students would be in school during the festival.

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