Santa Barbara Symphony News

[Scene Magazine] American stories

May 15, 2015

The Santa Barbara Symphony's season finale features a grand version of Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess' and a world premiere by LA composer Dan Redfeld

For the proverbial "season finale," this weekend at the Granada Theatre the Santa Barbara Symphony has opted to draw its energies from close to home, staking a claim in the American domain in the still Euro-centric world of orchestral culture. For a main event, maestro Nir Kabaretti leads his ensemble through the George Gershwin classic "Porgy and Bess," with a collaborative outreach to the Santa Barbara Choral Society and guest soloists in vocal roles. American composer Howard Hanson's Symphony No. 2 "Romantic" works its way naturally into the all-American mix, as a purely orchestral showcase.

And even closer to home, the one fresh piece on the program comes to us via Los Angeles — and, by cultural extension, from Hollywood — in the form of a world premiere by composer Dan Redfeld. The versatile composer/conductor/pianist has worked in film and other entertainment-worldly contexts, has conducted the LA Opera, and produced a steady flow of "concert music," including his ink-still-wet Arioso for Oboe, Percussion & Strings, to be unveiled this weekend at the Granada Theatre. To add another American element, Mr. Redfeld's work pays homage to the tragedy of 9/11, a connection he discussed in a recent interview.

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[Independent] SB Symphony Finale: Porgy and Bess

May 14, 2015

Gershwin, a Symphony, and a World Premiere

Few works by American composers have enjoyed the splendid afterlife of George and Ira Gershwin’s “folk opera,” Porgy and Bess. Controversial from the moment it premiered in 1935, this fantasy on African-American themes is set on Catfish Row, a poor district of Charleston, South Carolina, that’s home to fishermen, drug dealers, and murderers. The action swings back and forth across the water as the characters come and go from Catfish to Kittiwah, a fictional island off the coast of Charleston.

When the Santa Barbara Symphony moves into the Granada this weekend, Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17, for its final concert of the season, the players will be in fine company, as the Santa Barbara Choral Society and high-profile vocal soloists Laquita Mitchell and Michael Sumuel will be joining them for the Gershwin. Expect to hear the greatest of all seasonal theme songs, the magnificent “Summertime,” rendered with the taste, beauty, and sheer sonic heft that a full orchestra with a chorus can provide.

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Santa Barbara Symphony Education Programs Hit High Note in 2015

May 12, 2015

The Santa Barbara Symphony is harnessing centuries of classical music to develop local youth into 21st-century leaders.

The symphony’s education programs, now designated as the Santa Barbara Symphony Music Education Center, uses a sequential set of programs to take students from their first effort experimenting with an instrument through performing at a high level in its Youth Symphony. The symphony’s Music Education Center reached a record 5,046 students this school year.

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The 35th Santa Barbara Half-Marathon

May 11, 2015


Click here to register for the race

The 35th Santa Barbara Half-Marathon will benefit the Santa Barbara Symphony's Music Education Center!

For more information, please visit

Junior Strings and Youth Symphony Spring 2015 Concerts

April 20, 2015

The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony and Junior Strings would like to invite you to their Spring Concerts!

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[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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