Santa Barbara Symphony News

Cabrillo High School Student Wins International Trombone Competition in Spain

September 09, 2015

Cabrillo High musician is a member of the S.B. Youth Symphony 

Santa Barbara, CA — Cabrillo High School senior Connor Rowe recently took top honors in the Gilberto Gagliardi Tenor Trombone Competition in Valencia, Spain. The contest was one of several that took place as part of the 2015 International Trombone Festival held between July 8 and 11 in Valencia. The 17-year-old Lompoc resident was awarded a Schilke large-bore trombone for his winning performance.


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Violins galore!

August 19, 2015

Last Saturday, the Santa Barbara Symphony's Music Van violins made a special appearance at the Santa Barbara Bowl in conjunction with electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling's performance. Audience members got to try their hand at playing a violin with help from Music Van docents and staff members. We loved seeing people of all ages, experience levels, musicians and non-musicians alike stop by our table and experience the joy and excitement of the Music Van!

Special thanks to the Santa Barbara Bowl for this wonderful partnership. Check out some of our photos.


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Music Van at the Santa Barbara Bowl August 15th

August 04, 2015

Electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling, is coming to the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday, August 15 at 7:00 PM. Special guest Lights will open the show. The Santa Barbara Bowl has invited the Santa Barbara Symphony's Music Van to be at the concert as part of the Santa Barbara Bowl's education outreach. The Santa Barbara Symphony is excited for this partnership, and for the opportunity to expose audience members to the world of classical instruments. Our Music Van docents and staff members will be on site with violins for everyone to try out!

The show will support Lindsey’s critically acclaimed sophomore album Shatter Me, which according to Neilson, was the #1 and #2 best-selling Electronic album in 2014.  Released on April 29, 2014 via Lindsey’s own label Lindseystomp Records, Shatter Me debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart, #1 on the iTunes Album Chart, and spent an impressive 21 weeks straight at the #1 spot on the Billboard Classical Album Chart.


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Santa Barbara Symphony’s New Leader Plans Innovative Solutions to Looming Challenges

June 24, 2015

Seeking solutions to some of the most serious challenges in its 63-year history, the Santa Barbara Symphony has turned to newly-appointed executive director, David Pratt, to help fashion a new business model.

Pratt, an out-going native of Australia with an international track record of success, was selected as its new executive director at a time when the majority of symphonies across the U.S. are being faced with complex financial difficulties. These have been caused primarily by a combination of the economic downturn, an aging season-ticket and donor base, and competition from the Internet and other entertainment sources.

“There is no doubt that for us, like most other symphonies, it can’t be business as usual anymore,” said Pratt, who led major marketing missions throughout the world for various Australian and U.S. music and film organizations before serving as the executive director for the Savannah Philharmonic in Georgia for the past five years. “But, Santa Barbara is a special city, with a high level of culture, and I am confident that we can meet these challenges head-on. We plan to continue to provide the beautiful classical music productions this symphony is known for, but we will need to create some innovative new programs as well. I’m excited to get started.”

The Santa Barbara community has long been one of the most supportive on the West Coast, but Pratt and the symphony Board of Directors now must figure out how to reach out to the next generation, one that grew up listening to the Beatles and rock music. Bringing the baby boomers into the classical world at a time when finances are still tight for many is not going to be a simple task, but Pratt is enthusiastic about the possibilities.

“We’re already working on a number of potential new programs to reach out into the community, because we believe there are many people here who would quickly get hooked on classical musical if they were more exposed to it,” he said. “For example, we will expand our collaboration in the 2015-16 season partnering with The Ensemble Theatre Co. for Mendelssohn’s incidental music to Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of our November concert, and there is a fabulous collaboration with the State Street Ballet, Choral Society and the Center for the Performing Arts presenting Carmina Burana as our season opener in October."

In the longer term, Pratt said he is also working on the timing of providing one major concert that will be free to the public. The symphony already has an entire suite of education programs available to area students and it plans to continue and expand those, while widening its musical repertoire.

“We’ll be offering concerts not just for core classical lovers, but for those who enjoy more mainstream music, such as popular film sound tracks,” he said. “Our challenge will be to achieve just the right balancing act, to please our primary supporters and the orchestra musicians, while attracting new fans. It’s really important that we get that balance right.”

Pratt, who grew up in Sydney, Australia, and attended the University of Melbourne, previously served as senior event manager of the G’Day USA Festival, where he created and managed a series of arts, cultural and music events in several U.S. cities. He also held a senior management position with Australia’s largest orchestra, the Sydney Symphony, and he managed several fundraising events for the Sydney Opera House. He served for seven years as the Australian Film Commissioner in Los Angeles, promoting Australia’s film and TV production sector.

“I feel very fortunate to be in Santa Barbara,” he said. “It is an extraordinary community in that it supports such a wide array of incredible cultural offerings and that’s exciting. Part of what we plan to do is to understand exactly what this community wants, and then provide it in a way that people know they don’t have to leave town to get world-class entertainment.”


[Independent] Review: Santa Barbara Symphony’s Porgy and Bess

May 20, 2015

As maestro Nir Kabaretti enters his second decade with the Santa Barbara Symphony, the time feels right not so much for retrospection as for celebration. Last Saturday night, the symphony’s executive director, David Pratt, announced from the Granada stage that Kabaretti has signed a contract to conduct the orchestra for at least another three years, and that’s very good news. His blend of personal warmth, intellectual rigor, and consummate musicianship has moved the organization forward on a number of fronts throughout his tenure, and thus the next three-year stint — or decade for that matter — promises to be a rich one.


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[Noozhawk] Santa Barbara Symphony’s Season Finale an All-American Affair

May 17, 2015

The Santa Barbara Symphony’s season-closer will be an all-American affair, with a program consisting of Dan Redfeld’s Arioso for Oboe, Strings & Percussion, Howard Hanson’s Symphony No. 2, Opus 30, “Romantic” (1930) and the concert version of George Gershwin’s only opera, Porgy and Bess (1935), with a libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin.

Redfeld began his study of music at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and finished it at UCLA. He works mainly in film — chiefly short films, to date — and in the musical theater. He wrote the music for a popular adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, which ran on Broadway in 2001.


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