Meet Jahja Ling: San Diego’s Guide to the Good Stuff for Music


San Diego is fortunate to have world-class conductor Jahja Ling leading the San Diego Symphony. But even after 10 years as the symphony’s music director, Jahja still finds his inspiration in the city itself.

Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony

Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony

“We have great music, great culture and museums, the beautiful ocean and beaches,” Jahja says. “It’s like an orchestra! Many different pieces that are good together.” So what spots most inspire this music legend? Check out some of Jahja’s favorite San Diego hangouts.

Best Spots from a Pre-Symphony Meal

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, the San Diego Symphony is in a prime location for pre-show dining. Here are a few of Jahja’s favorites that can be found just minutes from the symphony’s front door.

  • Bertrand at Mister A’s: With plenty of windows all along this 12th floor restaurant and a location perfectly situated atop a hill in downtown, Mister A’s gives you a view of the entire city along with exceptional fine dining.
  • Cucina Urbana: For high quality food with a cozy, neighborhood restaurant vibe, the creative Italian fare at Cucina Urbana is popular with many locals.
  • Downtown San Diego has restaurants featuring just about every type of cuisine. Jahja loves pho, Mexican, and Spanish tapas. Try Cafe Sevilla for a variety of tapas and sangria during a lively happy hour.

Jahja Ling’s Favorite Non-Symphonic Activities

Jahja knows that even the most ardent symphony lover visiting San Diego won’t spend his or her entire trip in Copley Symphony Hall, so why not get out and try a few other Jahja-approved San Diego activities!

  • The Old Globe: This famous theater company offers a popular summer Shakespeare Festival, in addition to many other productions year-round.
  • La Jolla Playhouse: Many New York theater goers never know that their favorite shows like Jersey Boys and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying began at this San Diego theater! You may be seeing the next Broadway hit before anyone else when you visit the La Jolla Playhouse.
  • Balboa Park’s museums: Jahja loves the variety of museums in Balboa Park. From contemporary art to a museum devoted to automobiles, there is something for everyone.

Ever wonder what San Diego would sound like if it were a musical instrument? Find out the answer and more from Jahja Ling at

This entry was posted in Arts & Culture, Insider Tips and tagged , , , , by Candice. Bookmark the permalink.

About Candice

Foodie, craft beer nerd, shopaholic, music geek, photographer and contemporary art fan could all be used to describe me. I’m a big proponent of highlighting San Diego’s hidden gems and local businesses and breaking stereotypes about our city. We’re more than just sunshine and beaches (though those are nice, too!). What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day? Eating and shopping around my favorite neighborhoods: Golden Hill, South Park, North Park, Little Italy and Hillcrest. Then popping into one of our great art museums and capping off the night with some live music and a a local beer at The Casbah. What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity? Does shopping count as an outdoor activity? Or checking out the public art around town, like at Chicano Park? I do love visiting the La Jolla tide pools in the summer and ice skating at the outdoor rinks that go up each winter. Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine? Let's get one thing straight here: San Diego craft beer goes with everything, not just burgers. Though it is really good with a burger. Latest music purchases for my iPod player are… I’m lucky to be married to a music journalist, so advance copies of the newest albums are constantly available to me for free. But I can’t seem to stop playing the new album by CHVRCHES, and San Diego band Rocket from the Crypt have been on repeat a lot lately. Follow Candice on Twitter @candicesd

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