While San Diegans were celebrating Mardi Gras in the streets of the Gaslamp District, Art of Élan staged its own fete in another quarter of downtown at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Surrounded by Jennifer Steenkamp’s massive video installation “Madame Curie,” Art of Élan Co-Artistic Director Kate Hatmaker and company played a chamber music concert as mesmerizing as Steenkamp’s undulating flowers . . .

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Of budding young piano virtuosos there is surely no shortage. The number of promising performers who understand how to program creatively, however, remains distressingly small. Hélène Grimaud’s stunning Thursday (Dec. 1) recital for the La Jolla Music Society could easily serve as a master class in insightful programming . . .

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No one has exercised a more profound influence on the character and direction of music at UC San Diego than composer Roger Reynolds. So it was fitting that the university fete its Pulitzer Prize winning resident composer on his 80th birthday with a concert . . .

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