Jahja Ling Brings the Works of Mahler Back to San Diego

Explore a Night at the Symphony

Conductor Jahja Ling

Photo by San Diego Symphony

The incredible Jahja Ling conducts Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 in A minor: Tragic at the Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall from April 29-30. The masterpiece by Mahler, performed without intermission, showcases the joy and beauty of human life.

Previously, Tragic was played by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Ling during the 2008-09 season, in which they recorded for a CD, released in 2012. Jung-Ho Pak conducted the symphony in 1999 and Walter Hendl guest-conducted during the 1983-84 season.

Written in the beginning of the 20th century, Mahler conveys the beauty of life with this symphony using only instrumentals. This beautiful symphony, which is the sixth out of Mahler's ten symphonies, was written at his summer home in central Austria. In the summer of 1903, he sketched the first two movements and in the following summer, sketched the final two movements. His orchestration was complete by the spring of 1905 and premiered the new symphony at a festival of new music in Essen in spring of 1906. After the Sixth Symphony was published, Mahler continued to reflect on and revise it until his death five years later. 

Ling is a world renowned conductor who was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is the first and only conductor of Hokchiu Chinese descent who directs a major orchestra in the United States. His journey in music started when he began to play the piano at age 4. While living in Jakarta, he studied at the Yayasan Pendidikan Musik (or Music Educating Foundation). When it was time to go off to college, he was awarded a Rockefeller award scholarship and studied at The Juilliard School. At Juilliard, he successfully completed his master's degree and studied piano with pianist Mieczyslaw Munz and conducting with conductor John Nelson. He then went on to receive a doctor of musical arts degree, where he studied orchestral conducting at the Yale School of Music under the instruction of Otto-Werner Mueller. He also completed a conducting fellowship at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute. 

He previously conducted in many major symphony orchestras in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. In 2013, Ling conducted the San Diego Symphony Orchestra for a sold-out concert at the prestigious Carnegie Hall with soloist Lang Lang. Jahja Ling has also lent his incredible talents as a guest conductor to the Adelaide Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Hangzhou Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic of London, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and more. Ling has served as music director of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra since their 2004-05 season. This current season is his fourteenth and final season with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in 2016-17.

Copley Symphony Hall was originally built in 1929 as The Fox Theatre, showing primarily movies. In 1984, the property became part of the San Diego Symphony Association. In its time, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra has had many renowned conductors serve as music directors. Conductors like Earl Bernard Murray, David Atherton and Yoav Talmi have all made their way to the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Just a few years ago, the lobbies, backstage areas, Grosvenor Family Musicians' Center, and the Symphony administrative officers were renovated and the venue was given the name Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center. 

There is not a strict dress code for performances, but patrons typically wear business casual attire. The show will last for approximately 90 minutes, with the show started at 8pm on both nights. Tickets start at $20 but go up depending on where you would like to sit. Tickets and seat availability can be found on the San Diego Symphony website.

The Jacobs Music Center's ticket office can be contacted at (619) 235-0804.