Summer Concert Series

The Norton Simon Museum’s Summer Concert Series returns this July. Featuring musical performances held in the Museum’s theater on select Saturday evenings at 5:00 p.m., performances are free with Museum admission and no reservations are required. 


Stickers for ensured seating are distributed in the Main Entrance gallery starting at 4:00 p.m. Members enjoy early seating between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m.; general admission seating begins at 4:45 p.m. 

California String Quartet          


Late Romanticism
California String Quartet
Saturday, July 14, 5:00–6:00 p.m.

Composers Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré, two leading representatives of Late Romanticism, were teacher and pupil linked by the same musical ideals. Both Saint-Saëns and Fauré, with the fire of youth or in their full maturity, produced tender, luminous works. Confronted with Wagnerian mists, they brightened the French musical landscape. 

         
 Marlon Martinez, photograph by Shayne Gray      

The Investigation of Perception: Ellsworth Kelly and Jazz
Marlon Martinez and the Jazz Marlonius Quartet
Saturday, July 21, 5:00–6:00 p.m.

Ellsworth Kelly sought to capture the essence of everyday life in his art, “choosing things out there in the world and presenting them.” His pursuit in the visual arts holds true to the intentions of the New York jazz musician of the 1960s. Join bassist Marlon Martinez and the Jazz Marlonius Quartet as they explore the musical trends of the jazz scene during Kelly’s life in New York. With a blend of 1960s jazz classics and Martinez’s original compositions, the Jazz Marlonius Quartet embraces the progressive nature of Kelly and his jazz contemporaries, with art that captures a chaotic, active and emotional world through the senses. 

         
Robert Thies      

Debussy: The Painter of Sound
Robert Thies
Saturday, August 4, 5:00–6:00 p.m.

By all accounts, Claude Debussy was highly influenced by painting and sculpture. He appreciated not only his French compatriot Impressionist painters but also had a special affinity for the work of Turner, Whistler, the Japanese artist Hokusai and sculptor Camille Claudel. In this program, pianist Robert Thies explores Debussy’s connections to various paintings and artists affected his musical creations and the evocative titles he assigned to them.

         
 Odeum Guitar Duo      

Baroque, Classical and Romantic Traditions of Two Guitars
Odeum Guitar Duo
Saturday, August 11, 5:00–6:00 p.m.

The Odeum Guitar Duo returns to the Museum to perform works by J. S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Antonio Soler, Wolfgang A. Mozart and Johann K. Mertz. This concert rounds out a decade of performances by the guitar ensemble at the Museum. Various musical epochs are expressed in a unique way by the driving intensity, varying shades of tonal colors and subtly adjusted volume levels of the two vintage Spanish classical guitars, which serve to bring to the listener enjoyable experiences of the emotional content inherent within the musical masterpieces.

         
 Absolute Focus      

I See You, I Hear You: Santoor, Tabla, Raga
Kamaljeet and Jas Ahluwalia (Absolute Focus)
Saturday, August 25, 5:00–6:00 p.m.

Kamaljeet Ahluwalia plays the santoor, an exquisite hammered dulcimer from Kashmir. Jas Ahluwalia plays the tabla, a pair of North Indian drums that produce a vast range of sounds. Together, this husband-and-wife duo draws upon Indian classical music to walk an innovative path that simultaneously explores sublime ragas and intricate rhythmic patterns. Their concert brings a 21st-century perspective to the emotional themes (rasa) visualized in ragamala paintings.