Musical connections

Laguna Beach Music Festival will showcase known masters in music with emerging stars. Several new events are added this year.

January 27, 2011|By Ashley Breeding,
  • Kayhan Kalhor.
Kayhan Kalhor. (Coastline Pilot )

Editor's note: This removes "at USC" from after the Colburn School Conservatory of Music.

The theme of the ninth annual Laguna Beach Music Festival is intercultural composition, when renowned composers and musicians from across the nation band together with emerging artists in an eclectic string of performances.

Hosted by Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the festival will take place Feb. 7 to 13 in downtown Laguna and will feature 11 new guest musicians, including string quartet Brooklyn Rider, kamancheh player and Persian music master Kayhan Kalhor, and master of the shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) Kojiro Umezaki, of UC Irvine.

"Brooklyn Rider has collaborated extensively with Umezaki, a fellow veteran of the Yo-Yo Ma Silk Road Ensemble, as well as with Kalhor, to create the unique blend of cultural music," said event manager Sandy Robertson. "This year's performances will take chamber music in an exciting new direction."


Other performers include bassist Robin Kesselman and members of The Colburn School Conservatory of Music, including violinists Elicia Silverstein and Kelsey Blumenthal, violist Christopher Zack and cellist Mindy Park, who will join the masters in various performances throughout the week at local galleries, restaurants and private homes.

"The beauty of this festival is that it fuses the top quality performers with emerging artists," Robertson said. "It's a great mentoring opportunity for these rising stars."

The festival will also add an array of new free events to the mix this year, Robertson said, including a "Music Table" happy hour where musicians can gather to discuss a variety of music-related topics; a Young Composers Workshop at Sage Hill School, where composers will share their insights about music hybridity with aspiring young musicians; and "Introducing Brooklyn Rider: Music from the new New York," at Laguna Art Museum, where the Brooklyn-based quartet will play music and discuss the burgeoning art and music scene in their hometown.

Also new to the event is Music Festival Restaurant Week, where local restaurants, including House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer, Claes and Sundried Tomato, will offer special deals and sampler plates to festival-goers.

Artful Violins, an extension of the music festival to benefit visual art education, showcases a series of violins embellished by local artists. The sculpted, painted and bronzed works of art will be exhibited through Laguna and sold online at the conclusion of the festival.

"There is a lot of exciting new stuff happening this year," Robertson said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

There are two free events, and concerts range from $30 to $80 and higher.

If You Go

What: Laguna Beach Musical Festival

Where: Various locations in downtown Laguna

When: Feb. 7 to 13

Info: Costs vary per event. For a complete list of performances, workshops and participating restaurants, visit

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