Pierre Boulez returning to Southern California for rare performance


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For classical music fans in Southern California, Pierre Boulez is something of a rare and mythical musician. His most recent appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic was in 2003, when he conducted concerts in the orchestra’s first season in the brand-new Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Fans of the French maestro will get an opportunity to see him conduct and speak in person when he arrives in San Diego in April to participate in the Kyoto Prize Symposium. Boulez, 84, received the 2009 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy.


The concert will take place on April 22 at 3:30 p.m. at the University of San Diego’s Shiley Theatre. Admission is free but you must register in advance at the Kyoto Prize website. The seating capacity for the theater is about 700.

Boulez will conduct a performance of his own composition, ‘Sur Incises,’ with a nine-piece ensemble, according to a spokeswoman for the event. The ensemble includes piano, harp and various percussion.

The conductor-composer will alternate between conducting and speaking to the audience about the piece.

Japan’s Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy is handed out on an annual basis, but musicians are only selected for the honor once every four years. Other musicians who have received the prize include Nikolaus Harnoncourt (2005), György Ligeti (2001), Iannis Xenakis (1997) and Witold Lutoslawski (1993).

You can check out Boulez conducting (and talking about) ‘Sur Incises’ in the above YouTube clip.

-- David Ng

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