Music Society breaks ground for Conrad expansion
by BLAKE BUNCH
Published - 02/11/17 - 09:09 AM | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayo Kevin Faulconer addresses attendees at the Feb. 1 groundbreaking. PHOTO BY BLAKE BUNCH
Mayo Kevin Faulconer addresses attendees at the Feb. 1 groundbreaking. PHOTO BY BLAKE BUNCH
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There was quite an impressive turnout for the groundbreaking ceremony at the new Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, which will be located at 7600 Fay Avenue for years to come. In attendance were Mayor Kevin Faulconer, District 1 Councilmember Barbara Bry, Irwin Jacobs and several other prominent La Jollans. The $76 million project, of which about $62 million has already been raised, is slated for a grand opening around January of 2019.

The 49,000-square-foot facility was designed by Boston-based Epstein Joslin Architects, and will boast a 500-seat concert hall, 140-seat flexible use space, rehearsal rooms, a large open courtyard and offices for the La Jolla Music Society.

“The Conrad will be a home for creativity and imagination that will allow La Jolla Music Society to reach broader audiences through both expanded educational and artistic offerings,” said Kristin Lancino, president and artistic director of La Jolla Music Society. “In addition to being a beautiful arts center for world-class performers, The Conrad will also be a community resource available to all San Diegans to book for performance, community and private events.” 

Mayor Kevin Faulconer seemed to be in good spirits, exclaiming “This is what San Diego is all about – progress. We love the arts here.”

The $62 million that has been raised for the project is composed of contributions from: Conrad Prebys and Debbie Turner, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, the Beyster family, Silvija and Brian Devine, Joy Frieman, Gary and Jean Shekhter, Clara Wu and Joseph Tsai, Rita and Richard Atkinson, and John and Raffaella Belanich.

“When these projects start out, funding remains private for a certain period of time,” said Lancino. “Although funding began in 2013, now we are just getting into the phase in which the public can become involved. Now, we are holding a ‘seat auction’ as part of or public campaign.”

The late Conrad Prebys’ business partner, Debbie Turner, spoke of the man who has done so much for La Jolla, and San Diego at large.

“Conrad’s love of the arts extended from his extensive knowledge of music as a child,” said Turner at the groundbreaking. “I know that he would be tremendously pleased that this project is moving forward, for he wished to extend music and the arts to everyone. This world-class performance center will ultimately be one of the best in the country – and even the world.”

In the meantime, the La Jolla Music Society will continue to produce performances throughout the San Diego area. These events will be hosted at: The Sherwood Auditorium (through March 2017), Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall, La Jolla Presbyterian Church, Jacobs Music Center Copley Symphony hall, Spreckels Theatre, Balboa Theatre, The Auditorium at the Scripps Research Institute, and several others. The annual Summerfest 2017 will be held at UCSD Department of Music’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall and Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall.

Lancino mentioned that there has been “an enthusiastic reaction from the public thus far. For the work we aim to do, it is highly important to engage the public. The new Conrad will function as it always has, as a beacon for community and culture.”

As mentioned previously, the Conrad will be opening “sometime in 2019,” but the LJMS will gain occupancy in the fall of that year. At this point, they could spend several weeks to months tuning the concert halls to ensure that all the spaces are musically sound.

“The event was a pretty joyous moment for us,” said Lancino. “It’s taken a steady amount of work, planning, and passion to get this far. We’re almost there, we just need to continue the path we’ve set out on, in adherence with Conrad’s vision, of course.”

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