Articles in Press

[Scene Magazine] Symphonic Out and In with the Old and New

December 27, 2013


As the year and the holidays draw to a close, one of Santa Barbara's long-running traditions has been a ripe chance to hear the Santa Barbara Symphony letting its hair and its "serious music" agenda down. For more than 20 years, the Symphony has put on the ritzy and accessible New Year's Eve Pops concert gala, which takes place early enough to allow revelers to proceed to midnight-geared parties, and a giddy, glitzy affair with pinches of serious musical intent in the mix.

This is also a rare occasion when fine and upstanding Santa Barbara citizens can be seen in public, donning silly hats and wielding noisemakers, sometimes naughtily and at unsanctioned moments in the performance. This year's show, well stocked with show tunes, movie music, classical repertoire morsels and more, also includes segments of ballroom dancing, courtesy of members of the Santa Barbara Ballet.

When it comes to the specialty of conducting pops concerts, Robert Bernhardt has his credentials well in order, and knows how to make them work. The conductor emeritus of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Mr. Bernhardt has long been the Principal Pops Conductor of the respected Louisville Orchestra, and has frequently commandeered the Pops baton for that luxury liner of the Pops world, the Boston Pops.

We checked in with Mr. Bernhardt as he was on the job in Edmonton, Alberta, last week, to talk Santa Barbara, the Pops universe, and the definitive finale of the 2013 concert year in town.

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[News-Press] Three shades of Mozart

December 02, 2013

More than being one of the indisputable pillars of western classical music, and an impish movie character coursey of "Amadeus," Mozart--theman, the musical riches of the catalogue, the very word--amounts to a comforting and challenging place in culture, always worth a return visit. Santa Barbara Symphony audiences got a chance to pay a visit to that place over the weekend, as Mozart's complex musical message was ushered into the Granada theatre. A full and diverse, all-Mozartean menu was brought to the fore, and in a fine, well-tended form, by celebrated guest conductor Matthias Bamert.

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Symphony’s Music Van Strikes a Chord with Students at Adams Elementary

November 27, 2013

On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Van visited Adams School in Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara Symphony Education Programs, which serve more than 4,500 local students each year, have begun “Music Van” visits to local primary schools. The Music Van, staffed by volunteers and filled with dozens of orchestral instruments, is a mobile workshop giving kids their first exposure to the classical music art form.

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[Independent] Matthias Bamert Conducted an All-Mozart Program Saturday, November 23

November 26, 2013

After the Santa Barbara Symphony’s radical season opener last month featuring guest percussionist Ted Atkatz, it is easy to read November’s all-Mozart program as a conservative counterweight. If ever there was a tried and true repertoire to come home to, it’s Mozart’s Serenade No. 13, “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” and Symphony No. 25. Every movement of these two works belongs in Mozart’s “greatest hits” list — consonant, heavenly; this is the stuff of goodness and light. Yet, it is also music that deserves a careful listening, if for no other reason than that we think we know it so well.

Fortunately, guest conductor Matthias Bamert was at hand to help us listen anew. The Swiss-born conductor and composer, who got his start assisting George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, brought special expertise to bear. Having not only extensively conducted Mozart, but many symphonies of his contemporaries, Bamert understands exactly how the master’s genius was a part of, and apart from, his time.

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[Casa Magazine] Weaving Mozart’s music

November 22, 2013

Swiss conductor Matthias Bamert, who will conduct an all-Mozart program with the Santa Barbara Symphony this weekend at the Granada Theatre, is an expert in the music of the Classic Period. Haydn and Mozart come immediately to mind as the giants of that era, but there were more. For many years the conductor of the London Mozart Players, Bamert recorded dozens of CD's with the orchestra including a 20 disk set called the Contemporaries of Mozart which helped the public discover the diverse and often brilliant composers of the era.

The experience gave Maestro Bamert a unique opportunity to study and compose Mozart to the others. "It was so interesting because we could then put Mozart into context," he explained. "We could judge, or try to understand the music of Mozart against the music of his contemporaries. After recording this series, I do think I understand Mozart better."

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[Scene Magazine] In perfect symphony

November 22, 2013

Forthcoming SB Symphony Season is A Master Work of Community Collaboration

When the Santa Barbara Symphony launches its all-mozart evening under the baton of guest conductor, Matthias Bamert, at the Granada on Saturday evening, the performance will represent a culmination of years of work by a team of dedicated and often unsung individuals.

By typically featuring seven pairs of concerts, with each pair producing its unique program, pulling the season together is no small undertaking for the Santa Barbara Symphony.

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