Santa Barbara Symphony News

S.B. Symphony Director David Pratt Named Queensland Symphony Chief Executive

July 07, 2016

Santa Barbara, CA — David Pratt, who spearheaded a remarkable turnaround as executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony, positioning the organization for a new era of fiscal well being, has been appointed chief executive of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane, Australia. He will assume his new position in September.

Named executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in December 2014, Mr. Pratt began serving in his current role the following March. Under his leadership the organization overcame a significant budget shortfall and has posted impressive institutional gains. Annual giving and single-ticket sales are up 12 and 20 percent, respectively, and subscription sales are on the rise.

“David’s organizational talent and energy have had a transformative influence on the Santa Barbara Symphony,” said Board President Arthur Swalley. “In his short time with us, he has refocused our efforts on key strategic metrics, including cost-effective marketing, development processes, financial controls, and expanded education programming. We are grateful for the critical work he has accomplished. Our Symphony is now in excellent shape with great potential moving forward.”

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[Yardi corporate blog] Behind the Music Santa Barbara Youth Symphony

May 22, 2016

Three years ago, Yardi caught up with Amy Williams, Director of Education and Community Engagement at Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. The program has grown a lot since then, reaching even more of the city’s youth with interdisciplinary art and the fun of a kid-centered community.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in participation,” says Williams. “Three years ago, we reached 4,500 students and this year we’re anticipating 5,300. Concerts for Young People has 2,800 students now. That filled up in record time. We’re offering the same things but we’re seeing a huge shift of kids wanting to play great music and make new friends.”

The friendships and sense of community draw most students through the doors, and keep them coming back year after year.

Williams recalls one particularly heartwarming encounter: “This year, one of my high school students was excited, noisily coming into rehearsal. I said, ‘You’re very excited to be here.’ And he says, ‘Well, Amy, I belong here.’ I feel that’s the heart of it. We are where students feel they belong. The demographic in Santa Barbara has all sorts of languages, all sorts of backgrounds, but when they walk into classes and workshops they feel like they belong, by teachers and their peers. I feel very strongly about that and I’m very proud of the program.”

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[Noozhawk] Symphony Season to Close With Two German Powerhouses and a Local Hero

May 14, 2016

The Santa Barbara Symphony will bring their 2015-16 season to a tuneful and ultimately majestic conclusion with concerts at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at The Granada Theater. Maestro Nir Kabaretti will conduct, with celebrated guitar virtuoso, Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, as guest soloist.

The program will consist of Carl Maria von Weber’s “Overture” to his opera Der Freischütz, Op. 77 (1821); the late, great Elmer Bernstein’s Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, “For Two Christophers” (1999); and Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major, “Romantic” (1878-1880).

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[Scene Magazine] Globally-traveled Guitar Concerto with a Local Legacy

May 13, 2016

Acclaimed Spanish-born guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas is guest soloist with the Santa Barbara Symphony

To close out its 63rd season this weekend at the Granada Theatre, the Santa Barbara Symphony looks backward, and inward, while also making a forward-thinking gesture. On a program which features the old worldly graces of Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischutz Overture and Anton Bruckner's "Romantic" Symphony No. 4 as grand symphonic finale, the real centerpiece of the concert is Elmer Bernstein's much-respected marvel, the Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra.

Penned in 1999 and dedicated to American classical guitar virtuoso Christopher Parkening, the widely-acclaimed Spanish-born guitarist Pablo Sainz Villegas will do honors on this respected entry in the slender ranks of popular guitar concertos.

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Free ‘Hands On!’ Music Festival Will Encourage Participants to Explore, Listen, and Play

April 25, 2016

Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony invites community members of all ages to experiment with orchestral instruments, dance on a massive keyboard, and enjoy other musical fun at the first-ever “Hands On!” Music Festival, a free celebration in front of the Lobero Theatre on May 22. The event also will include music-oriented crafts with Santa Barbara Museum of Art staff, entertaining musical software, a photo booth, and a short program featuring instrumentalists from the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Junior Orchestra.

Activities will take place from noon to 4 pm, followed by the final concert of the 2015-16 season by the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony in the Lobero Theatre. Admission to the performance also is free.

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“Instrument Art” - Silent Auction

April 25, 2016

Santa Barbara Youth Symphony is excited to host the 1st Annual Hands On Music Festival on the steps of the Lobero Theatre on Sunday, May 22nd from 12 to 4pm. During this free event, the community is invited to “test drive” the instruments from the Music Van and enjoy several fun, music-related activities. Members of the Junior Orchestra will perform a few pieces, and visitors may sign-up to sit onstage and get an inside look at an orchestra rehearsal. At 4pm following the festival, we invite you inside the theatre to enjoy a free concert by the Youth Symphony.

As a special addition to this day, Youth Symphony members decorated, redesigned and gave new life to old instruments! Their work was nothing short of amazing, and these fantastic pieces of art will be available in a silent auction benefiting the Santa Barbara Symphony Music Education Center. The silent auction will start May 3rd at 9am and end on May 22nd at 4pm at the Hands On Music Festival. If you have any questions regarding the event or silent auction, please contact Amy Williams at 805-898-8785 or We look forward to seeing you and thank you for your support of the Symphony’s Music Education Center.

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