Articles in Press

[Scene Magazine] Closing with a Grand Concerto and a Grand Cellist

May 16, 2014

Cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio solos in the Santa Barbara Symphony's season-closing program, with a Dvorak Concerto

If the name Sara Sant'Ambrogio rings a bell with classical music fans, it is most likely in her best-known context and co-brainchild, as one-third of the all-female chamber music sensation, the Eroica Trio. Going back to the early '90s, this impressive piano trio — which has played in Santa Barbara in years past — has dazzled critics and audiences alike, and effectively helped to break down stubborn gender barriers, while not incidentally also making no attempt to sidestep the feminine beauty factor of the participants.

This weekend, as part of the Santa Barbara Symphony's season-closing program, Ms. Sant'Ambrogio shifts roles when she appears as the spotlight-centered soloist, while working with a vastly larger ensemble. She will take on the beloved Dvorak Concert for Cello, in a diverse set of music, also including the piece "Akeda (The Sacrifice of Isaac)" by Noam Sheriff (a mentor of the orchestra's maestro Nir Kabaretti), and Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony to end the show, and an all-around fine season.

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[CASA Magazine] Cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio’s Dvořák

May 09, 2014

Grammy Award-Winning cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio comes from a distinguished musical family. "I always say it was either destiny or density that made me become a cellist," she told me from Nashville, during a recent conversation. "My grandparents were both professional musicians. The best man at my grandparents wedding was Joesph Gingold, the great violin pedagogue.

He played in a string quartete with my grandfather. And my grandmother was a phenomenal concert pianist, a protege of Arthur Rubinstein. My father played both violin and piano, but really didn't find his footing until he switched to the cello, an instrument neither of his parents played."

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[Montecito Journal] Coup De Grace: Aglow with Culture

May 08, 2014

We have friends with season symphony tickets, and it's not humanly possible for them to make every singel performance. So every now and then, we're offered their unused tickets.

I'm always ressitant to the idea of getting dressed up and heading downtown on a Saturday night. I'm not sure when going out for the evening began sounding like a chore, but it might've coincided with the popularity of the book, Being an Introvert is the New Black. I ask myself, "Why can't I just stay home with the terriers and listen to YouTube music videos?"

However, my husband loves going to the symphony. And every time I go, I end up loving it, too. So wer'e both very grateful for this nudge toward culture.

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[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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[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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