Press Releases

Pictures at an Exhibition

December 31, 2018

The Santa Barbara Symphony Presents Pictures at an Exhibition, a Multisensory Performance Combining Music, Animation & Film

Kicking off the New Year in celebratory fashion, the Santa Barbara Symphony presents a one-of-a-kind, multimedia performance on January 19 & 20

The Santa Barbara Symphony continues its 65th Anniversary season by kicking off the New Year with two performances of Pictures at an Exhibition, on January 19 at 8:00 pm and January 20 at 3:00 pm at The Granada Theatre. Maestro Nir Kabaretti will lead the Santa Barbara Symphony in a one-of-a-kind multimedia presentation of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, featuring an animated film created by students and graduates at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Additionally, the symphony will perform Brahams' Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, featuring concertmaster Jessica Guideri and principal cellist, Trevor Handy.

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New Year’s Eve Pops

November 29, 2018

Ring in the New Year with Santa Barbara Symphony’s Motown Take on New Year’s Eve Pops!

Under the baton of guest conductor Bob Bernhardt, vocalists join the Santa Barbara Symphony to perform classic Motown hits in “Dancing in the Streets: The Music of Motown and More”

The Santa Barbara Symphony continues its beloved tradition of New Year’s Eve Pops, this year featuring the magic of the music from Motown, with  Dancing in the Streets: The Music of Motown and More, A Symphonic Tribute to Motown on Monday, December 31st from 8:30 -10:30 pm, at the historic Granada Theatre.

Bob Bernhardt returns as guest conductor for this festive New Year’s Eve tradition.  This year the musical celebration also features the soulful vocals of three talented artists, American Idol finalist Michael Lynche; Broadway veteran Chester Gregory, who has starred on Broadway as Berry Gordy in Motown the Musical, and toured nationally with Dreamgirls and Sister Act;  and New York City-based vocalist and songwriter Shayna Steele. Alongside the Santa Barbara Symphony, these talented vocalists will perform authentic arrangements and popular favorites including Dancing in the Street, Let’s Groove Tonight and Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours, channeling all the great Motown artists like Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder and more!

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Rite of Spring

November 02, 2018

The Santa Barbara Symphony Welcomes Actor Christopher Lloyd, State Street Ballet & Ensemble Theatre Company for an Unforgettable Performance

On November 17 & 18, performing arts powerhouses join forces to present A Soldiers Tale 
The evening closes with the Symphony performing legendary The Rite of Spring

Santa Barbara, CA. (October, 2018) –  The Santa Barbara Symphony continues its landmark 65th season with Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, on Saturday, November 17 at 8:00 pm, and Sunday, November 18 at 3:00 pm at The Granada Theatre.  Paired with this dramatic piece, the Symphony will perform A Soldier’s Tale, with legendary actor Christopher Lloyd, who will narrate alongside dancers from State Street Ballet and actors from Ensemble Theatre Company.

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Santa Barbara Symphony Kicks Off 65th Anniversary Season with The Symphony Ball

July 24, 2018

Anne Smith Towbes and Janet Garufis, Santa Barbara, CA— To celebrate its 65th anniversary, the Santa Barbara Symphony will host The Symphony Ball, on Friday, October 19 at the Hilton Beachfront Resort, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and a silent auction.  

“Let us take you back to the era of “Supper Clubs” with Broadway star and host Lisa Vroman, Maestro Nir Kabaretti and members of the Santa Barbara Symphony as we kick off the 65th Anniversary Season with an evening filled with music, dancing, and culinary experiences,” said Kevin Marvin, executive director. 

Long-time Symphony patrons, new classical music lovers, and all community members are welcome and encouraged to join the anniversary celebration. As guests arrive, the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony will welcome them, followed by dinner and dancing under the stars in the hotel’s Plaza del Sol. Unique items will be included in both the silent and live auctions, including a trip to Israel to attend a Music Festival led by Maestro Nir Kabaretti. 

The Honorary Ball Committee, led by Anne Smith Towbes and Janet Garufis, includes Dan and Meg Burnham, Brooks and Kate Firestone, Patricia Gregory, Joan and Geoff Rutkowski, Gillian Launie, Ed and Sue Birch, Elizabeth Gabler, Susan Worster, and Hiroko Benko. The Symphony Ball is sponsored by Robert C. Dohmen, Dan and Meg Burnham, Brooks and Kate Firestone, Patricia Gregory for the Baker Foundation, Montecito Bank & Trust, Rick and Regina Roney, and Bryant & Sons, Ltd. More sponsors will be announced in mid-August. 

The Santa Barbara Symphony was established in 1953 to bring live classical music performances to the region. Today, under the leadership of Maestro Nir Kabaretti, concerts are performed and produced flawlessly. The Santa Barbara community will continue to see the benefits of the creative Symphony programing, a strong presence in the community and in the schools, and the talents of the musicians.

The 2018-2019 season opens in October with The Symphony Ball on Friday, October 19, and performances of “Rhapsody in Blue” on Saturday and Sunday October 20-21. Subscriptions to the 65th anniversary season are available and provide the best seats at the best price. Purchase tickets to The Symphony Ball and the upcoming season online 24/7 at or by phone at 805.898.9386. 

Pictured:  Honorary Committee Co-Chairs Anne Smith Towbes and Janet Garufis.

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Kate Kurlas to Lead Santa Barbara Symphony Marketing and Sales Team as Vice President of Marketing

July 18, 2018

Santa Barbara, CA— Kate Kurlas, an award-winning executive with more than a decade of marketing, sales and operations experience will join the Santa Barbara Symphony and lead the marketing and sales team and strategic revenue initiatives. 

“Not only is Kate a local Santa Barbaran who knows the community and culture, she is an expert in target marketing and brand positioning which will greatly benefit the Symphony organization and our audiences,” said Kevin Marvin, executive director. “As a leader, I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a solid group of highly-experienced and creative management team members and to work side-by-side to implement the new strategic vision for the community. In August, Kate joins the Santa Barbara Symphony as a key member of this special team and I look forward to accomplishing great things together.” 

Prior to joining the Symphony, Kate worked at The Granada Theatre in various leadership roles. Most recently, she was director of marketing and sales and previously as director of operations. She is a graduate of UCSB where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, and an associate’s degree in commercial arts from Santa Barbara City College. She is in the current class of Emerging Leaders, a leadership program through Leading From Within to empower and elevate the next generation of nonprofit leaders. She dedicates her volunteer time to Santa Barbara Beautiful as the 2nd vice president on the board of directors.

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Blaine Inafuku, formerly of Seattle Symphony, appointed as new Director of Artistic Administration

July 10, 2018

SANTA BARBARA, CA—The Santa Barbara Symphony continues to strengthen the vision and enhance the value of the organization to Santa Barbara residents and visitors. Blaine Inafuku joins the team at the Santa Barbara Symphony as Director of Artistic Administration on July 2, 2018.  Under the leadership of the Symphony’s Artistic and Music Director Nir Kabaretti and the Artistic Advisory Committee, Inafuku will play a key role in the crafting and implementation of the organization’s artistic vision. Inafuku’s primary focus will include curating innovative new artistic programming that meets the needs of the community with critical responsibilities in the planning and administration of the orchestra operations, budget, orchestra personnel, and production management.

Joining the senior management team on July 2, Inafuku comes to the Santa Barbara Symphony with more than 10 years of artistic and operations management experience with some of the industry’s top ensembles, including the Seattle Symphony, the former Chicago Chamber Musicians and the Chicago Symphony. A classically trained percussionist, Inafuku’s extensive knowledge of the classical repertoire will serve Santa Barbara Symphony in bringing creative, meaningful programming to the community. He has a strong background in production planning and internal operations of small and large ensembles and has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Chicago Lyric Opera, Seattle Symphony, among others, and abroad with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Blaine earned a Master of Music degree from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois; a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois; and holds a Professional Performance Certificate from Lynn Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida.

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