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Concerts in San Diego: Inside Classical Music in San Diego

June 20, 2023

Concerts in San Diego: Inside Classical Music in San Diego

When 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.

Where Can I Listen to Classical Music in San Diego?

Whether you’re looking for a small intimate venue or a majestic symphony hall, this vibrant city provides an array of choices for listeners to experience and be moved by the power and beauty of classical music:

  • Those interested in attending a classical music concert in San Diego can explore different venues such as the Copley Symphony Hall, Balboa Theatre, San Diego Opera House and Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Center at Mission Valley. 
  • You can also find many classical music performers such as the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera and La Jolla Music Society presenting concerts throughout the year. 
  • Finally, if you prefer to listen or watch classical performances from the comfort of your own home, there are many radio stations offering free streaming services and digital channels broadcasting live performances. 

Experience this enriching art form with all San Diego has to offer!

And if you’re a true classical music enthusiast, take some time to learn how to play yourself! Sign up for music lessons and start enjoying this beautiful genre today. Learn more by watching the video below: 

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).


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).


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.


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.

Where to Find Classic Music in Downtown San Diego

It’s no secret that San Diego is a bustling metropolitan area with plenty to do. From its world-famous beaches to its rich cultural history, there is always something new and exciting to explore. 

But if you’re looking for an evening of classic music and culture, look no further than downtown San Diego! Here, we will discuss where to find classical music in the heart of America’s Finest City. 

Classical Music Concerts in San Diego

One of the best places to experience classical music in downtown San Diego is at The Shell. Located in the heart of Balboa Park, this outdoor venue offers a unique setting for concerts and performances from some of the world’s top orchestras and performing artists. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing evening under the stars or an energetic performance from one of your favorite classical composers, you can find it here. 

From time to time, The Shell also hosts special events such as children’s concerts and movie nights featuring classic films like Fantasia or The Wizard of Oz accompanied by a live orchestra. These events are perfect for families who want to introduce their kids t