San Diego Summer Pops Targets Special Interests

In an attempt to target the particular musical tastes of its pops patrons, the San Diego Symphony's 1990 SummerPops is divided into five series. Besides the main series of six weeks of standard pops offerings, this summer's 12-week season, which started June 20 and goes through Sept. 10, features four specialized series: great classical composers, "Russian Romantics," selections from Broadway musicals and a Big Band series.

According to executive director Wesley Brustad--who planned SummerPops '90, held at Hospitality Point on Mission Bay--the significant revisions were made in response to the varied programming interests of last year's pops patrons, who answered an extensive end-of-the-season questionnaire.

The changes seem to have been successful--SummerPops '90 has passed the $1 million mark in ticket sales. Brustad says that box office income from the 12-week summer season matches that generated by the 24-week classical season.

The 1990 season-opening concert, an all-Ravel program, featured Canadian conductor Boris Brott. The program was the first week of generic pops offerings, a series that will continue every other week.

Another innovation includes a dance floor, which will be set up for patrons at the Sunday evening Big Band performances.

Among the guest conductors this summer are Lalo Schifrin, popular composer and music director of the Glendale Symphony; Norman Leyden, music director of the Seattle Symphony Pops, and Kate Tamarkin, newly appointed associate conductor of the Dallas Symphony. Harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler will be the featured soloist July 18-21, although the season promises fewer guest soloists than last.

If the Symphony has its way, this will be its final year at the Mission Bay site, which is plagued by airplane noise. Construction of a new outdoor pops venue on San Diego Bay next to Seaport Village, called Embarcadero Marina Park South, is still being negotiated with the San Diego Unified Port District, but the orchestra has received approval to proceed with plans for the site.

The advantages of the proposed new site include a minimum seating of 4,000, contrasted with 3,200 at Hospitality Point (home to SummerPops since 1983), and its proximity to the San Diego Convention Center and major downtown tourist hotels.

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