[Montecito Journal] The Power of the Piano

November 17, 2016

Nir Kabaretti is a big fan of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto #1, calling the famed work "probably the most perfect piano piece imaginable, because it has everything virtuosic, including heroic piano writing, but at the same time is extremely accessible" -- so much so that some of the passages "you can hear on cell phones as ring tones."

"Tchaikovsky captured pretty much everything audiences love: incredibly difficult and fast passages for the pianist, beautiful lines and melodies for the orchestra," said the music director of the Santa Barbara Symphony, which will perform the piece on this weekend's program. "There are extremely romantic and warm phrases combined with breathtaking portions for pianist, where he has to play octaves and even more difficult passages."

Read more »

Santa Barbara Symphony to Present Piano Masterpieces, Including Mozart’s Double Concerto and Works

November 14, 2016

Performances at the Granada Theatre on November 19 & 20 will feature acclaimed German soloist Markus Groh & Symphony Principal Natasha Kislenko.

Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Nir Kabaretti, will perform two of the world’s most cherished piano masterworks with the help of German-born virtuoso Markus Groh at the Granada Theatre on November 19 and 20. Mr. Groh will join Symphony Principal Natasha Kislenko for Mozart’s exquisite Concerto for Two Pianos before tackling Tchaikovsky’s famed Piano Concerto No 1. Ms. Kislenko will be the featured soloist for Manuel de Falla’s lush and arresting Nights in the Gardens of Spain to open both concerts. Performances will take place at 8 pm on Saturday, November 19, and at 3 pm on Sunday, November 20. Tickets are now available.

Read more »

Santa Barbara Youth Symphony & Junior Orchestra Will Present Free Concerts November 12 & 13

November 08, 2016

Santa Barbara, CA — Two Santa Barbara Symphony youth ensembles featuring orchestral musicians from throughout the region will present free concerts in Santa Barbara on November 12 and 13. The Junior Orchestra, which features young musicians from Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria, will perform at 3 pm on Saturday, November 12, in the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall. The Youth Symphony, whose accomplished members hail from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, will perform works by Brahms, Mussorgsky, and others at 4 pm on Sunday, November 13, in the Lobero Theatre.

Read more »

[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.

Read more »

Santa Barbara Symphony Begins Season with New Musician Agreement

October 18, 2016

Union members ratify three-year labor contract, paving the way for long-term artistic and fiscal growth, say Symphony officials.

Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara Symphony and its unionized musicians have agreed on a new labor contract. The American Federation of Musicians Local 308, which represents the Symphony’s 76 performers, voted to approve the deal following negotiations over the summer. The union ratification was announced Friday.

“With difficult labor negotiations plaguing the industry in recent years, it is both remarkable and telling that we came to an understanding so quickly and collegially,” said Santa Barbara Symphony Board President Arthur Swalley. “We regard our musicians as family and hold them in high esteem. We are very proud of the manner in which the process unfolded.”

Read more »

[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.

Read more »