Concerts in San Diego: Inside the Classical Music Scene

Classical Concert Guide In San DiegoWhen most people think of San Diego, they think of surf and sunshine. But as a resident of the city, you know there’s also a thriving classical music scene. You can make Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Rachmaninoff, and the other great composers in history a part of your daily life by going to one of the many classical concerts in San Diego and listening to classical radio.

Live Classical Music in San Diego

There’s nothing like the thrill of feeling the music of a professional orchestra vibrate through your body. Fortunately, you live in a big city with a rich appreciation for culture, so there are a lot of venues to find classical concerts in San Diego! Here are the top spots to hear the works of Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Liszt, and other classical legends:

  • La Jolla Symphony and Chorus: Based in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in San Diego, the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus has brought classical and contemporary music to San Diego for more than five decades. This non-profit organization is made up of volunteer musicians, including professionals, students, and teachers. Concerts are performed at the Mandeville Auditorium on the University of California-San Diego campus (9500 Gilman Drive).

  • Camarada: This chamber music group is known for its creative interpretations of both classical works and forgotten pieces. The group focuses on Spanish and Latin music, including classic tango. The Camarada concert series includes shows at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park  (1439 El Prado, Plaza de Panama) and the Bread and Salt Art Gallery in Barrio Logan (1955 Julian Avenue). It also hosts classical chamber music recitals in private homes as part of its Saturday evening Cabernet Concert Series.

  • San Diego Symphony: The San Diego Symphony is one of the most distinguished orchestras in the United States, and you have plenty of chances to listen live, as it plays more than 100 concerts every year. In the summer, it also presents an outdoor concert series called Summer Pops at the Embarcadero Marina Park South (206 Marina Park Way).

  • SummerFest: The La Jolla Music Society hosts SummerFest each year, showcasing both local and international classical musicians. Concerts are held in La Jolla at St. James By-the-Sea (743 Prospect Street), The Auditorium at The Scripps Research Institute (10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive), and MCASD Sherwood Auditorium (700 Prospect Street).

Classical Music Radio Stations in San Diego

Can’t make it to one of the classical concerts in town this weekend? Don’t worry – you can still get some cultural enrichment by tuning in to one of the classical radio stations in San Diego:

  • XLNC1 104.9 FM: This is the only full-time classical music and opera radio station broadcasting in San Diego. It also offers live-streaming music on its website and posts its minute-to-minute schedule online.

  • KPBS: You can listen to Brahms, Vivaldi, and Handel on KPBS by heading to its website, where you can stream its various radio programs. This public radio affiliate is licensed to San Diego State University.

There are always new developments in the SD classical music scene, so keep an eye on all of the websites linked above, plus event listing pages like the San Diego Reader and the Department of Music Concert Calendar provided by UCSD. Keep your radio or computer tuned to classical music stations and use this guide to make sure you attend as many classical concerts in San Diego as possible. Have fun exploring the scene!


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 Photo by Damien

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