Articles in Press

[Independent] Santa Barbara Symphony’s Season Opener

October 19, 2016

'Rapture,’ Then ‘Joy’ with Beethoven’s 9th

“Rapture”, a short symphonic composition by contemporary composer Christopher Rouse, followed the orchestra’s rendition of the national anthem signaling that the 2016-17 season had begun. No one took a knee during either work. While Rouse identifies “Rapture” as his most unabashedly tonal composition, there’s nothing polite about it. Like Beethoven’s “Joy”, Rouse’s “Rapture” imagines a universal ecstasy that’s based in humanistic rather than religious sentiment. At a mere 13 minutes in length, “Rapture” is necessarily a ride on the ecstasy express, arriving at its destination flushed with the thrill of its own continuous acceleration.

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[Scene Magazine] Ode to a Musical Monument, and a New Season

October 15, 2016

To open its 64th season the Santa Barbara Symphony calls on the heroic sweep of Beethoven's iconic Ninth Symphony, abetted and fleshed out by several local choral groups

The Symphony is back in town. Lest there be anyquestion about that, note the big, bold, Beethoven-ian opening splash at the Granada Theatre this weekend, as the Santa Barbara Symphony kicks off its 64th season. Joining the orchestral forces, with maestro Nir Kabaretti now entering his 11th season at the helm, is a wealth of voices to amp up the "Ode to Joy" component of the masterwork--a massive choral conglomerate made up of the Santa Barbara Choral Society, Quire of Voyces, and choirs from Westmont, UCSB and San Marcos High School.

As testament to the historical continuity of the Symphony, this weekend's mezzo-soprano soloist Nina Yoshida Nelsen traces her musical training to roots in the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. She met and married her husband (horn player Jeff Nelsen who is performing this weekend) in Santa Barbara.

On a concert bill opening with Christopher Rouse's Rapture, this weekend's program makes for a suitable grand entrance to the 2016-17 season. 

Highlights of that season include a double piano concerto program in November, "Disney Fantasia Live in Concert" (January 28 and 29), and later next year, pairings of Vivaldi and Piazzolla and Grieg and Sibelius and a nod to Paris to close, in May.

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[Voice Magazine] Ode to Joy - Following the Ninth with the Maestro

October 07, 2016

Conductor Nir Kabaretti has been following Beethoven's Ninth Symphony all his life, but particularly since conducting the world famous masterpiece in Buenos Aires eight years ago for the first time. The unforgettable message of hope in the last movement, Friedrich Schiller's Ode to Joy, has inspired peoples around the globe with its dynamic incantation, Alle Menschen werden Bruder (All men become brothers) and will again next weekend when a massive chorus serves up the Symphony's first concert pair of the 2016-17 season.

The chorus, made up of the Santa Barbara Choral Society, Quire of Voyces, choirs from Westmonth College, UCSB and San Marcos High School will join the Santa Barbara Symphony and Kabaretti (who will be conducting the work for the fourth time since Buenos Aires) at the Granada Theatre for two performances on Saturday, October 15th at 8pm and Sunday, October 16th at 3pm. Vocal soloists, all well known to the community, will include soprano Jeanine De Bique, mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen, tenor Benjamin Brecher, and bass DeAndre Simmons. The program, whihc will have no intermission, will open with Christopher Rouse's short but ecstatic work for large orchestra, Rapture, composed in 2000.

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[Yardi corporate blog] Behind the Music Santa Barbara Youth Symphony

May 22, 2016

Three years ago, Yardi caught up with Amy Williams, Director of Education and Community Engagement at Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. The program has grown a lot since then, reaching even more of the city’s youth with interdisciplinary art and the fun of a kid-centered community.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in participation,” says Williams. “Three years ago, we reached 4,500 students and this year we’re anticipating 5,300. Concerts for Young People has 2,800 students now. That filled up in record time. We’re offering the same things but we’re seeing a huge shift of kids wanting to play great music and make new friends.”

The friendships and sense of community draw most students through the doors, and keep them coming back year after year.

Williams recalls one particularly heartwarming encounter: “This year, one of my high school students was excited, noisily coming into rehearsal. I said, ‘You’re very excited to be here.’ And he says, ‘Well, Amy, I belong here.’ I feel that’s the heart of it. We are where students feel they belong. The demographic in Santa Barbara has all sorts of languages, all sorts of backgrounds, but when they walk into classes and workshops they feel like they belong, by teachers and their peers. I feel very strongly about that and I’m very proud of the program.”

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[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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