Articles in Press

[Independent] Angels in America

April 16, 2015

The Santa Barbara Symphony with Philippe Quint, violin. At the Granada Theatre, Saturday, April 11

This excellent concert showed the Santa Barbara Symphony at its best not only musically but also as a civic institution capable of responding to and acknowledging its audience. Before the music began, Sara Miller McCune made a rare appearance onstage alongside Maestro Nir Kabaretti to dedicate the program to her close friend, the late Léni Fé Bland. “I met Léni at the Santa Barbara Symphony,” said McCune, leaving the many friends and admirers of Fé Bland and the Symphony in the audience to consider the depth of feeling conveyed by McCune’s observation. McCune went on to describe Fé Bland’s impact on Santa Barbara as a “gift from the Old World to the New World,” calling attention to one aspect of the program that was devoted to works written by composers who emigrated to the United States.


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[News-Press] Local violinist’s new world triumph

April 11, 2015

When it comes to an inaugural performance with a symphony orchestra, seldom has a debut been as serendipitous as Montecito-raised Calyssa Davidson's first appearance with the Santa Barbara Symphony this weekend.

Currently on a fleeting visit to Santa Barbara from London, where the violinist is studying for a double master's degree at the Royal College of Music, Ms. Davidson has been invited to perform with the Santa Barbara Symphony as part of this weekend's "New World" program at the Granada Theatre.

The symphony's performances today and Sunday feature a program incorporating the work of three composers, Karen Tanaka, Erich Korngold and Antonin Dvor·k, and will be dedicated to the late philanthropist, Leni Fé Bland. Ms. Davidson's participation is particularly fitting given her connection with the local arts patron.


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[Scene Magazine] Exploring symphonic shores and worlds

April 10, 2015

This weekend's Santa Barbara Symphony program features Dvorak's "New World" Symphony and guest soloist, violinist Philippe Quint

For this weekend's installment in the ongoing Santa Barbara Symphony season, an ocean-crossing, geo-musical plot provides narrative logic. For the orchestra's main event in the concert, maestro Nir Kabaretti leads the ensemble in that beloved and healthy old warhorse, Dvorák's "New World" Symphony, an expression of affection the great 19th-century Czech composer felt for the world that was the America he lived in for a spell.

Opening the concert, the Tokyo-born Japanese-American composer Karen Tanaka's "Guardian Angel," written in 2000, for clarinet, harp, percussion and string orchestra, represents the realm of the living composer, with a Japanese perspective.

But perhaps the most intriguing work on the program comes equipped with a strong German-Hollywood connection. For the concerto portion of the concert, the respected Russian-born but long U.S.-based violinist Philippe Quint returns to Santa Barbara to play a piece he has helped to champion, the Violin Concerto No. 1 by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Korngold was part of a wave of gifted European composers drawn to the early stage of "sound pictures" in Hollywood, led there by the lure of high-paying and public-exposed composition work, and as an escape route from the brewing storm clouds of Nazi dread back home.


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[Montecito Journal] Quint and Korngold

April 09, 2015

When then Santa Barbara Symphony decided to pay tribute to America's influence on composers around the world with Korngold's Violin Concerto No. 1 as the centerpiece, Philippe Quint was the obvious choice for soloist. The oft-Grammy nominated Russian-American violinist has made the piece one of his repertoire staples and is on record as championing the concerto's brilliance. Quint talked via email about the Korngold, which sits between modern Japanese-American composer Karen Tanaka's "Guardian Angel" and Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 ("From the New World") on this weekend's concert at the Granada.


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[Independent] Violinist Chad Hoopes Gave Audiences an Impression of Spain

March 19, 2015

Cultures can be experienced and assessed directly, yet sometimes a more revealing approach is to listen for echoes from the outside. Sure, you will find caricatures and distortions, but you might also find a wisely naïve discernment of spirit. Santa Barbara Symphony’s program Impressions of Spain accordingly was weighted toward the aroma of Spain from nonnative sources: the Romantic imaginations of Frenchmen Édouard Lalo (1823-1892) and Jules Massenet (1842-1912) and Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908).


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[Scene Magazine] Triangulated German passions

February 13, 2015

The Santa Barbara Symphony joins forces with Ensemble Theatre Company to present the theatrical retelling of the famous love triangle involving Robert Schumann, his wife Clara, and Johannes Brahms

For the symphony-going public, it might be possible to soak in the eloquent mid-19th-century sounds of music by Robert Schumann, his wife Clara and Mr. Schumann's protégé Johannes Brahms, appreciating the concert purely for music's sake. But, of course, historically and contextually, there is more than meets the ear with this special Valentine's Day program, having to do with the dramatic tale of the Schumanns and young Mr. Brahms, and, after Robert's descent into madness and early death, a would-be love interest of Clara.

It's a love triangle thing, which can't help but put an extra-musical spin on the agenda.

This weekend's program features Santa Barbara-based and world-traveled pianist Natasha Kislenko, Ojai-based actor Peter Strauss and the debut guest conducting appearance of Steven Sloane, who comes well-equipped for the task, and with Southern California roots. Though now based in Berlin and having led the respected German Bochum Symphony for 20 years, in addition to a busy life as guest conductor and opera conductor, Mr. Sloane grew up in Los Angeles and went to UCLA. He spent a decade in Israel, where, in fact, he met the then up-and-coming Santa Barbara Symphony music director Nir Kabaretti.


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