Santa Barbara Symphony News

In Memoriam

May 07, 2014

Gloria J. Autry
1934 - 2014

Having joined the Santa Barbara Symphony only two years after its founding 61 years ago, violinist Gloria Autry passed away on Saturday, May 3, 2014, just two weeks before what would have been her last professional concert. She had announced her plans to retire at the end of this season. Her inimitable devotion to her musical family at the Symphony, as well as her innumerable other civic and musical contributions, makes her passing all the more deeply felt.

Maestro Nir Kabaretti has said on many occasions that Gloria always arrived at the rehearsals incredibly well prepared. She missed only one concert last year, following a fall that would have sidelined most professional musicians for months.

Gloria was ever smiling, never complaining and always offering other musicians and fellow Santa Barbarans her support, assistance and overwhelming generosity of spirit.

Gloria would most probably have wanted us to celebrate her life in music and remember her "glorious-ly" playing her violin. The same violin she played when she began with the Santa Barbara Symphony in 1955.

Gloria will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

[Casa Magazine] Got Rhythm?

April 18, 2014

One of the freshest Santa Barbara Symphony programs this season filled the Granada Theatre with energy during last weekend's Saturday night performance. The house was nearly full for Darius Milhaud's "The Creation of the World," written for 1920s jazz orchestra, followed by Aaron Copland's Clarinet Concerto, which uses only strings and harp as backup, but is also infused with jazz. After intermission, Beethoven's eternally exciting Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 brought the evening to a delightfully rhythmic close.

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Howard Jay Smith Joins Santa Barbara Symphony Planned Giving Committee

April 18, 2014

Howard Jay Smith has been named to the Santa Barbara Symphony Planned Giving Committee.

“I have been a lifelong fan of classical music,” said Smith.

The Santa Barbara Symphony maintains a permanent endowment fund to secure the orchestra’s artistic, cultural and educational programs for future seasons. As a committee member, Smith will help Director of Development Pamela Perkins-Dwyer ensure the symphony’s endowment stays healthy.

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[Independent] Clarinets and the Creation at the Granada

April 16, 2014

The French modernist composer Darius Milhaud gave as much to the American musical tradition as he took from it, as he was an important mentor to both Dave Brubeck and Burt Bachrach during the time he spent teaching composition at Mills College. Milhaud came to this country with an intense feeling for melody, and a taste for the polyphonic language of jazz. At Sunday’s concert by the Santa Barbara Symphony, Milhaud’s La Creation du Monde displayed both these qualities of melody and polyphony to great effect, with a relatively small and thoroughly string-free ensemble onstage executing the music, and a short animated film by Santa Barbara native Carolyn Chrisman projected above their heads to illustrate its narrative, which was originally told through ballet.

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[Noozhawk] Santa Barbara Symphony to Swing with an African ‘Genesis’

April 13, 2014

The Santa Barbara Symphony will play its April program twice, at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, in the Granada Theatre at 1214 State St.

The concerts will be conducted by Music Director Nir Kabaretti, with the participation of guest soloist Donald Foster on clarinet and the animation of Carolyn Chrisman.

We will hear three works: Darius Milhaud's 1923 ballet, La création du monde, Opus 81a (with Chrisman's animation), Aaron Copland's Concerto for Clarinet, Strings and Harp (1949) (with Foster) and Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A-Major, Opus 92 (1813).

It's always a good idea to have an organizing principle for a concert program, and the symphony has made much of the relationship between these works and jazz — too much, possibly.

Each of the works is a stand-alone masterpiece, and can be enjoyed by itself without any talking points. Those who listen to jazz on a regular basis will not mistake either the Clarinet Concerto or The Creation of the World for examples of the genre. Still, after a breathtakingly lyrical opening, the Copland does swing, while the Milhaud, whose ambience is decidedly more African than American, works a sea change on our only native idiom and hands it back to us in a steamy exotic disguise.

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[Casa Magazine] Clarinetist Donald Foster Rifts Benny Goodman and Beethoven

April 11, 2014

It's not often Beethoven is compared with Benny Goodman, but Santa Barbara Symphony Principal Clarinetist Donald Foster made a good point during a recent interview. The rhythmic originality of Beethoven's 7th Symphony is as dynamic and exciting as the jazz rhythms found in Aaron Copland's Clarinet Concerto, which was written for Goodman, and Darius Milhaud's The Creation of the World. All three works are on the Santa Barbara Symphony concert pair set for Saturday, April 12th at 8pm, and Sunday, April 13th at 3pm, in the Granada Theatre. Artistic and Music Director Nir Kabaretti will be on the podium. "What makes something jazzy is of course the rhythm." Foster explained. "The Beethoven, with its incessant rhythm was not necessarily a jazz foreshowing, but definitely was a rhythmic experiment."

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