48th Annual Summer Music Festival Focuses on Music Without Borders

Scott Yoo leads elite orchestra, chamber music, and crossover performances in thematic programs that explore composers’ national identities.

This July 17-29, 2018, Music Director Scott Yoo will lead a group of more than 50 visiting artists gathered from top orchestras and chamber ensembles from the United States and abroad in curated performances in scenic venues all over picturesque San Luis Obispo County. Yoo, conductor and violinist, also serves as Artistic Director of the Mexico City Philharmonic and the host of a PBS travel/music show in development called Now Hear This. Yoo curates and designs the festival’s programming, which this year focuses on the theme “Music Without Borders,” with an in- depth examination of composers who wrote music away from their native countries.

Yoo explained the theme, “As I’ve become immersed in my position [as Artistic Director] in Mexico City, learning a new language and navigating a new country and culture, I began to think about how composers through history have adapted because of the borders imposed on them. Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart all traveled extensively and their work was shaped by those border-crossings. The more I thought about it, the more this topic started to expand, and this summer’s festival includes all the borders of all kinds, including genre, national identity, politics, gender, and even technology. I hope that this timely theme will inspire our colleagues and our audiences to think about these pieces in new ways.”

The Festival’s programming is made up of 30 events in 19 different venues. Types of events include:

  • Notable Encounters – short-format explorations of individual pieces of music which are equal parts interactive performance and education. Repertoire explored includes Amy Beach’s Piano Quintet in F-sharp minor, op. 67; Max Bruch’s Piano Quintet in G minor; and Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for Horn, Trumpet, & Trombone.
  • Orchestra – conducted by music director Scott Yoo and featuring soloists such as pianist Anna Polonsky, and mandolinist Joseph Brent. The Festival Mozaic Orchestra is comprised of performers from top ensembles around the United States, including Anton Rist, principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Robert deMaine, principal cello of the LA Philharmonic, Dennis Kim, concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic, and others.
  • Chamber Music – intimate performances of works familiar and unfamiliar in venues perfect for chamber music. The Festival’s chamber artists include performers like violinist Nicholas Tavani of the Aeolus String Quartet, violist Maurycy Banaszek of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, cellist Jonah Kim of Ensemble San Francisco, hornist Jeffrey Fair of the Seattle Symphony, and many more.
  • Midday Mini-Concerts – “pay what you wish” concerts lasting no longer than one hour that showcase Festival artists in a laid-back performance environment. These concerts will feature string quartets, violinist Nina Fan of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, UnClassical artists 9 Horses, and a family concert featuring pianist John Novacek performing the Francis Poulenc incidental music to the children’s story of Babar the Elephant.

The music of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven will be played alongside Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Elgar, and many more. Listeners can also enjoy Barber, Jennifer Higdon, Guillaume Connesson, and a host of other musical masters in charismatic venues such as Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Serra Chapel in wine country, and the state-of-the-art Cuesta College Cultural and Performing Arts Center. (See season-at-a-glance on following pages or click here to view full brochure.)

San Luis Obispo County (or SLO, as the locals call it) has a pleasing mix of farm-to-table bistros, art galleries, boutique shopping, hiking trails and seaside activities, and of course, wine tasting. It is into this comfortable, captivating ambiance that the musicians of FESTIVAL MOZAIC will bring their international-caliber artistry, celebrating the works of composers both familiar and out-of-the-ordinary. With 30 events in 19 different venues, the Festival offers something for every kind of music lover and provides a welcoming and authentic SLO experience offering the best in culinary, coastal and cultural life.

The festival has a strong tradition of presenting emerging artists early in their careers alongside well-respected professionals. This summer’s festival will feature players from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, and a host of other top ensembles across the country. (See complete artists list on following pages).

Subscription Tickets are on sale through April 15. Individual tickets on sale April 16. Tickets may be ordered online at or by calling (805) 781-3009 / (877) 881-8899.

About Festival Mozaic - Festival Mozaic founded in 1971 as the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival) is a celebration of the art of music that takes place year-round in varied venues across San Luis Obispo County. The Festival presents an orchestra gathered from professionals across the world, chamber music concerts, guest artists and ensembles, and programs by classical crossover artists. For more information, please visit

The 2018 Season brochure features “Music Without Borders,” an original work of art by San Luis Obispo artist Marcie Hawthorne. The artwork will be featured in commemorative Festival posters and the original painting will be sold in auction during the Summer Festival.

For a complete list of Festival Mozaic events click here