Santa Barbara Symphony News

[Noozhawk] Symphony Season to Close With Two German Powerhouses and a Local Hero

May 14, 2016

The Santa Barbara Symphony will bring their 2015-16 season to a tuneful and ultimately majestic conclusion with concerts at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at The Granada Theater. Maestro Nir Kabaretti will conduct, with celebrated guitar virtuoso, Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, as guest soloist.

The program will consist of Carl Maria von Weber’s “Overture” to his opera Der Freischütz, Op. 77 (1821); the late, great Elmer Bernstein’s Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, “For Two Christophers” (1999); and Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major, “Romantic” (1878-1880).

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[Scene Magazine] Globally-traveled Guitar Concerto with a Local Legacy

May 13, 2016

Acclaimed Spanish-born guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas is guest soloist with the Santa Barbara Symphony

To close out its 63rd season this weekend at the Granada Theatre, the Santa Barbara Symphony looks backward, and inward, while also making a forward-thinking gesture. On a program which features the old worldly graces of Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischutz Overture and Anton Bruckner's "Romantic" Symphony No. 4 as grand symphonic finale, the real centerpiece of the concert is Elmer Bernstein's much-respected marvel, the Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra.

Penned in 1999 and dedicated to American classical guitar virtuoso Christopher Parkening, the widely-acclaimed Spanish-born guitarist Pablo Sainz Villegas will do honors on this respected entry in the slender ranks of popular guitar concertos.

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Free ‘Hands On!’ Music Festival Will Encourage Participants to Explore, Listen, and Play

April 25, 2016

Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony invites community members of all ages to experiment with orchestral instruments, dance on a massive keyboard, and enjoy other musical fun at the first-ever “Hands On!” Music Festival, a free celebration in front of the Lobero Theatre on May 22. The event also will include music-oriented crafts with Santa Barbara Museum of Art staff, entertaining musical software, a photo booth, and a short program featuring instrumentalists from the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Junior Orchestra.

Activities will take place from noon to 4 pm, followed by the final concert of the 2015-16 season by the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony in the Lobero Theatre. Admission to the performance also is free.

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“Instrument Art” - Silent Auction

April 25, 2016

Santa Barbara Youth Symphony is excited to host the 1st Annual Hands On Music Festival on the steps of the Lobero Theatre on Sunday, May 22nd from 12 to 4pm. During this free event, the community is invited to “test drive” the instruments from the Music Van and enjoy several fun, music-related activities. Members of the Junior Orchestra will perform a few pieces, and visitors may sign-up to sit onstage and get an inside look at an orchestra rehearsal. At 4pm following the festival, we invite you inside the theatre to enjoy a free concert by the Youth Symphony.

As a special addition to this day, Youth Symphony members decorated, redesigned and gave new life to old instruments! Their work was nothing short of amazing, and these fantastic pieces of art will be available in a silent auction benefiting the Santa Barbara Symphony Music Education Center. The silent auction will start May 3rd at 9am and end on May 22nd at 4pm at the Hands On Music Festival. If you have any questions regarding the event or silent auction, please contact Amy Williams at 805-898-8785 or We look forward to seeing you and thank you for your support of the Symphony’s Music Education Center.

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In Memory of Maestro Ronald Ondrejka (1932-2016)

April 21, 2016

Former conductor of the Santa Barbara Symphony, died suddenly early in the morning of April 7, 2016 at his home in Carpinteria where he lived with his wife, Elise Unruh.

Ondrejka was born into a musical family in 1932 in Manhattan. His Italian-American mother was a pianist and piano teacher; his Czechoslovakian father was a concert violinist. After completing his undergraduate and graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music in 1954, Ondrejka went on to pursue a conducting career that put him on the podium of major symphony orchestras and brought him into close contact with the finest musicians in the world.

After military service touring Europe with the Seventh Army Symphony as violist and conductor, winning much praise for the ensemble wherever it traveled, he was on the conducting staff of Radio City Music Hall for three years. In 1961, he was a prize winner in the Royal Liverpool International Conducting Competition. With the recommendation and sponsorship of the American Symphony Orchestra League, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded Ondrejka a grant for advanced conducting study.

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Santa Barbara Symphony to Close out Season with Spanish Guitar Great Pablo Sáinz Villegas

April 20, 2016

May 14 and 15 performances will feature concerto by prolific film composer – and one-time local resident – Elmer Bernstein, as well as works by Weber, Bruckner

Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Nir Kabaretti, will conclude its 2015-16 season with a pair of exhilarating concerts featuring classical guitar virtuoso Pablo Sáinz Villegas at the historic Granada Theatre on May 14 and 15. Mr. Villegas will showcase his charismatic stage presence and formidable technique on Elmer Bernstein’s “superbly crafted and often inspired” (Gramophone) Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. Also including Weber’s rousing Der Freischütz Overture and Bruckner’s popular “Romantic” Symphony No. 4, the concerts will take place at 8 pm on Saturday, May 14, and at 3 pm on Sunday, May 15. Tickets are now available.

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