Santa Barbara Symphony News

[Casa Magazine] A Family Feud & Midsummer Night Dreams

November 20, 2015

From its icy opening chord, Prokofiev’s music to the ballet Romeo and Juliet perfectly describes the deadly confrontation between the play’s Capulet and Montague families that will ultimately engulf its two lovers, while Felix Mendelssohn’s incidental music to the bard’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream sparkles with puckish mirth and merriment. Composers, choreographers, visual artists, poets, even prizefighters have been inspired by William Shakespeare’s magical use of the English language for 300 years and counting. The Santa Barbara Symphony, in collaboration with actors from Ensemble Theatre Company, celebrated the playwright’s genius with a program titled Shakespeare Set To Music last weekend at the Granada Theatre. It was a feast of bard-inspired music that included a Suite by Sir William Walton from his film score for As You Like It; conductor Nir Kabaretti’s personal selection of seven scenes from Prokofiev’s monumental ballet, Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64; and from a teenage Felix Mendelssohn, the immortal melodies from his Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21 and 61 that have become universally recognized as a musical signature for the play ever since. The homage in sound and word delighted Saturday night’s audience.

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[Scene Magazine] William, it was really something

November 15, 2015

Symphony brings Shakespeare (and actors) to The Granada

If music be the food of love, said Orsino in "Twelfth Night," play on. Expect an evening of love, then, with Santa Barbara Symphony's "Shakespeare Set to Music," three selections of Bard-inspired classical works conducted by Nir Kabaretti, who originated and designed the program. There are two chances to hear this romantic concert, tomorrow night and on Sunday, at The Granada Theatre.

The three works are a Suite from William Walton's score for "As You Like It," the "Romeo and Juliet" Suite for ballet by Prokofiev, and Mendelssohn's incidental music for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" featuring the unforgettable "Wedding March." You might just feel inspired to tie the knot or renew your vows right after.

These are three very different pieces, but what is making the evening more special is the collaboration with actors from Ensemble Theatre Company, who will perform some of Shakespeare's poetry during the Mendelssohn work, as it was written to be performed alongside the play. This makes the third collaboration between Executive Artist Director Jonathan Fox's Ensemble company and the Symphony, after music featured in Ensemble's "Amadeus," and actors reading Schumann's love letters during the Symphony's Valentine's Day concert.

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[Noozhawk] Santa Barbara Symphony’s Renditions of Melodies of Shakespeare Will Grace The Granada

November 13, 2015

The upcoming pair of concerts by the Santa Barbara Symphony — at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, both in The Granada Theater — bear the title Shakespeare Set to Music. 

As the title hints, the program reflects three great composers — William Walton, Sergei Prokofiev and Felix Mendelssohn — responding in music to the words of the greatest dramatic poet in the English language, William Shakespeare.

Since it would be kind of perverse to celebrate Shakespeare's language without offering any examples of it, the Symphony, conducted by Music Director Nir Kabaretti, will be collaborating with the Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) to treat audiences to a sprinkling of Shakespeare's verbal magic in the last work performed.

The program consists of the suite from Sir William Walton's score for the 1936 film of As You Like It; the Suite from Prokofiev's 1936 ballet, Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 and a suite of Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream, Opera 21 & 61 (1826 & 1843).

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Q&A with Maestro Nir Kabaretti

November 06, 2015

Q. This being your 10th anniversary season with the Santa Barbara Symphony, can you share some of your favorite moments of the past decade here?

A. I am extremely excited about this season, which in many ways reflects the Symphony’s last decade of great music-making. Among other things, this means collaborations with other art organizations, staples of the symphonic repertoire alongside lesser-known works, American composers, and fantastic soloists, including from our own orchestra. Stellar musical moments of the last 10 years have included sharing the stage with Lang Lang, Hélène Grimaud, Lynn Harrell, and Anne Akiko Meyers; fully staged productions of Stravinsky’s Firebird and Copland’s Appalachian Spring with State Street Ballet; performances of Beethoven’s Ninth and Mahler’s “Resurrection” symphonies with the Santa Barbara Choral Society and Quire of Voyces – there are just too many to mention!

Q. The Symphony is coming off a spectacularly successful production of Carmina Burana, also involving State Street Ballet, the Santa Barbara Choral Society, and the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts. Can you speak to some of the difficulties inherent in such a large undertaking? 

A. To begin with, the piece is so large in terms of orchestra size there was insufficient space in the pit for all our musicians, so we had to position a few on stage, reducing the space for dancing ever so slightly. We also needed to be clear on the musical version, including the pronunciation of the Latin (we opted for German Latin owing to the Bavarian origin of the poems). And with the orchestra in the pit, the chorus at the back of the stage, and the dancers between them, it was a bit difficult to synchronize the ensembles given the distances involved.

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Santa Barbara Youth Symphony to Present Free Concert on November 22

November 06, 2015

Ensemble’s first outing of the season will take place at the Lobero Theatre and include works by Debussy, Mendelssohn, Reinecke, and Schumann.

Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, whose accomplished members hail from throughout the region, will present a free concert at the Lobero Theatre on November 22. Featuring movements from Debussy’s Petite Suite, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, Reinecke’s Flute Concerto, and Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, the performance will begin at 4 pm. The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 East Canon Perdido Street in Santa Barbara.

Consisting of some 70 musicians ages 12 to 18 from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony is the capstone program of the Santa Barbara Symphony’s award-winning Music Education Center, which organizes outreach activities for area children of all ages. The ensemble is led by Music Director Andy Radford, principal bassoonist of the Santa Barbara Symphony, and members are selected through audition. The November 22 performance will feature solo turns by violinist Francis Pan and flutist Ilana Shapiro, both 15-year-old residents of Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Van Visits Monroe School

October 23, 2015

Students get up close and musical with orchestral instruments

Third-grade students at Monroe Elementary School in Santa Barbara got up close and musical with an assortment of orchestral instruments courtesy of the Santa Barbara Symphony’s award-winning Music Van this week. 

A total of 47 students from two classes took part in a pair of sessions that included demonstrations and hands-on learning with volunteers and Santa Barbara Symphony Principal Bassoonist Andy Radford.

Participants were able to play a wide selection of donated brass, woodwind, percussion, and string instruments.

“The clarinet was my favorite because it’s fun to play and I like the way it sounds,” said Noah Arndt, age 8. 

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