May 27, 2018

The Topanga Symphony Summer Concert, August 24



The Topanga Symphony Summer Concert, August 24

Composer John Boatner's work will be featured by the Topanga Symphony Summer Concert on Aug. 24.

The free summer concert of the Topanga Symphony will be a combination of the best of classical music by Beethoven and Schumann and the world premiere of a cello composition, “Cello Ludens,” written by John Boatner, especially composed for the Topanga Symphony and its amazingly talented Topanga Symphony music director, conductor and cellist extraordinaire, Jerome Kessler.

Barry Brisk, who often takes the baton when Kessler performs, will conduct. Brisk, a long-time violist with the Topanga Symphony, is the conductor and music director of the Beach Cities Symphony.

Since the first concert in the summer of 1982, Kessler has made every effort to present concerts that feature both the traditional classics and contemporary compositions.

Kessler and Boatner met when they were students at Columbia University in New York.

“In 1962,” Kessler recalled, “he invited me to assemble and conduct a chamber orchestra for a concert at a church where he was organist. About a year ago, we re-connected. Upon learning about the Topanga Symphony, John was enthused to compose a piece that we could play here. Reflective of his sense of humor, ‘Cello Ludens’ (the cello wants to play) was written by the composer with tongue firmly planted in cheek.”

Boatner has performed more than 35 of his compositions in the United States, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria. He has been a professional musician since 1949 when he played musical recitals as a pianist and organist. He now lives and works near Seattle, WA, as a freelance musician.

The premiere of his newest work for cello and orchestra promises to be an experience to remember, presented to a Topanga audience eager to enjoy.

The concert will begin with a classical piece from the Romantic era written in 1841, “Overture, Scherzo & Finale,” by German composer Robert Schumann. It will conclude with one of the most famous and well-recognized works by Beethoven, “Symphony #5 in C minor.”

The four-note motif of this famous symphony that begins and plays throughout this piece, (ti-ti-ti-taa) is heard around the world from cartoons to concert halls. The motif has many coincidences within its musical charm.

In Morse Code, dot-dot-dot-dash, symbolizes the letter “V” and the roman numeral for the number 5 is “V.” Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was referred to as “The Victory Symphony” in World War II. Among the very young and the very old, hearing this music evokes a familiarity that is comforting.

The program takes place on Sunday, August 24, at 7:30 p.m., at the Topanga Community House, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga CA 90290.


Whether it is performing a new work or a classic piece of music, the Topanga Symphony concerts are always a fantastic experience that brings the music to the audience in a very intimate and personal way. The Topanga Community Club generously provides the space for these musicians to present their art to the community. Bring a friend and come to see and hear this concert for a memorable evening.

The Topanga Symphony is funded in part by Friends of the Topanga Symphony and grants from the LA County Arts Commission. For more information or to donate to keep the music playing: