Symphony News

Q&A with Maestro Nir Kabaretti

November 06, 2015

Q. This being your 10th anniversary season with the Santa Barbara Symphony, can you share some of your favorite moments of the past decade here?

A. I am extremely excited about this season, which in many ways reflects the Symphony’s last decade of great music-making. Among other things, this means collaborations with other art organizations, staples of the symphonic repertoire alongside lesser-known works, American composers, and fantastic soloists, including from our own orchestra. Stellar musical moments of the last 10 years have included sharing the stage with Lang Lang, Hélène Grimaud, Lynn Harrell, and Anne Akiko Meyers; fully staged productions of Stravinsky’s Firebird and Copland’s Appalachian Spring with State Street Ballet; performances of Beethoven’s Ninth and Mahler’s “Resurrection” symphonies with the Santa Barbara Choral Society and Quire of Voyces – there are just too many to mention!

Q. The Symphony is coming off a spectacularly successful production of Carmina Burana, also involving State Street Ballet, the Santa Barbara Choral Society, and the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts. Can you speak to some of the difficulties inherent in such a large undertaking? 

A. To begin with, the piece is so large in terms of orchestra size there was insufficient space in the pit for all our musicians, so we had to position a few on stage, reducing the space for dancing ever so slightly. We also needed to be clear on the musical version, including the pronunciation of the Latin (we opted for German Latin owing to the Bavarian origin of the poems). And with the orchestra in the pit, the chorus at the back of the stage, and the dancers between them, it was a bit difficult to synchronize the ensembles given the distances involved.

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Santa Barbara Youth Symphony to Present Free Concert on November 22

November 06, 2015

Ensemble’s first outing of the season will take place at the Lobero Theatre and include works by Debussy, Mendelssohn, Reinecke, and Schumann.

Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, whose accomplished members hail from throughout the region, will present a free concert at the Lobero Theatre on November 22. Featuring movements from Debussy’s Petite Suite, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, Reinecke’s Flute Concerto, and Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, the performance will begin at 4 pm. The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 East Canon Perdido Street in Santa Barbara.

Consisting of some 70 musicians ages 12 to 18 from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony is the capstone program of the Santa Barbara Symphony’s award-winning Music Education Center, which organizes outreach activities for area children of all ages. The ensemble is led by Music Director Andy Radford, principal bassoonist of the Santa Barbara Symphony, and members are selected through audition. The November 22 performance will feature solo turns by violinist Francis Pan and flutist Ilana Shapiro, both 15-year-old residents of Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Van Visits Monroe School

October 23, 2015

Students get up close and musical with orchestral instruments

Third-grade students at Monroe Elementary School in Santa Barbara got up close and musical with an assortment of orchestral instruments courtesy of the Santa Barbara Symphony’s award-winning Music Van this week. 

A total of 47 students from two classes took part in a pair of sessions that included demonstrations and hands-on learning with volunteers and Santa Barbara Symphony Principal Bassoonist Andy Radford.

Participants were able to play a wide selection of donated brass, woodwind, percussion, and string instruments.

“The clarinet was my favorite because it’s fun to play and I like the way it sounds,” said Noah Arndt, age 8. 

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Santa Barbara Symphony to Present ‘Shakespeare Set to Music’

October 22, 2015

Featuring Ensemble Theatre Company artists, Bard-themed concerts will take place November 14 and 15 at the Granada Theatre.

Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara Symphony, in collaboration with the acclaimed Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC), will present a musical and theatrical tribute to William Shakespeare at the historic Granada Theatre on November 14 and 15. Featuring the full Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Nir Kabaretti, “Shakespeare Set to Music” will include the Suite from William Walton’s lush film score for As You Like It, Prokofiev’s unforgettable Romeo and Juliet Suite, and Mendelssohn’s vivid incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its instantly recognizable Wedding March. The latter work will accompany scenes from the play featuring ETC artists. Performances will take place at 8 pm on Saturday, November 15, and at 3 pm on Sunday, November 15. Tickets are now available.

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[Independent] ‘Carmina Burana’ at the Granada

October 21, 2015

Ballet, Choir, and Symphony Present a Masterpiece

In the land described in the book The Hyborian Age by author Robert E. Howard, a Cimmerian boy, born on the battlefield to a blacksmith, arose to conquer, swearing to a deity called Crom. Conan, as he was named, eventually claimed vengeance on the evil sorcerer Thulsa Doom, infiltrating the Temple of Set as the cult indulged in cannibalistic orgy.

Ironically, just as pulp fiction writer Howard wove his tale in the 1930s of Conan — later to be portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger on the big screen — Carl Orff, music educator and composer, discovered the medieval sultry poem manuscript Carmina Burana, later to be turned into a 25-song epic masterpiece. Both Conan and Carmina Burana deal with themes of fate, merrymaking, love, warfare, religious worship, and satire. Musically, Orff’s Carmina Burana shares threads of Verdi’s Requiem and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, and later in the 1982 film of Conan the Barbarian, film composer Basil Poledouris’s music score shares the epic choir and medieval soundscape inspired by Carmina Burana.

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[Scene Magazine] A ‘Carmina Burana’-powered launch

October 16, 2015

Santa Barbara Symphony kicks off the season with a program centered around Carl Orff's 'Carmina Burana,' and a collaborative enterprise with local performing arts groups

October, traditionally a culturally dense month as various arts groups launch their seasons, has been a big period for Symphonic splashes. Following the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra's recent "Firebird"-themed gala season opener, the Santa Barbara Symphony gets in the game and ups the ante with an ambitious program centered on Carl Orff's epic, sublime and wild "Carmina Burana," in an unusually inter-organizational collaborative show also featuring the State Street Ballet, the Santa Barbara Chorale Society and guest vocal soloists.

This season, the orchestra's 63rd, will also be the tenth season with maestro Nir Kabaretti at the helm. The Israeli-born conductor, who splits his time between Italy and Santa Barbara and regularly works in Europe, with a specialty in opera, has been a great boon to the symphony since taking over the position from previous conductor, the adventurous Gisele Ben-Dor, in 2006. Under his watch, the symphony made the auspicious move from the Arlington Theatre to the acoustically-superior Granada Theatre.

We recently checked in with the maestro, on the eve of the Orff performance, and his own season number ten.

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