Santa Barbara Symphony News

[Casa Magazine] Guest Conductor Bob Bernhardt - The Hollywood Connection

December 30, 2013

With party hats and noisemakers provided at the door, the upcoming Santa Barbara Symphony New Year's Eve Pops Concert at the Granada Theatre Tuesday night promises to be a blast--pun intended. It's the one concert of the year when the audience gets to make rowdy noises back at the orchsetra with their kazoos, and generally enjoy some mischief. Guest Conductor Bob Bernhardt returns to the podium for his third pops concert roustabout with locals, and he can't wait.

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[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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Santa Barbara Symphony, Musicians Union Ratify Three-Year Labor Contract

December 13, 2013

By Kelly Kapuan, Publicist

The Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra Association and the American Federation of Musicians-Local 308 are very pleased to announce that a new three-year collective bargaining agreement has been ratified, taking them through the 2015-16 season.

Several key concerns were addressed within the new agreement, including the negotiation of modest wage and travel increases commensurate with financial planning, while being reflective of the musicians' priorities. Important clarifications were also achieved regarding auditioning and hiring procedures, as well as calculations pertaining to overscale and doubling fees.

While electronic media remains a significant topic of discussion both locally and nationally, an agreement was reached to allow more flexibility, while staying within the union’s national policies.

“With many orchestras experiencing disruptions to their seasons and futures, we are proud to have come to a successful agreement such as this with good will and good spirit,” said David Grossman, executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony. “During negotiations, both sides supported a measured approach, recognizing the need to balance financial realities with the symphony’s goal of continued growth in artistic excellence. This new contract affirms our ongoing desire to work collaboratively toward the shared goal of elevating the Santa Barbara Symphony’s impact to our patrons, sponsors and the community at large.”

Donald Foster, chairman of the Musicians Committee of the SBSO, added: “From the start, a spirit of togetherness ensued, with both sides putting artistic quality, professional integrity and basic fiscal responsibility at the forefront. The musicians are confident that this three year agreement speaks volumes about how the Santa Barbara Symphony continues to stand out as one of the great California symphony orchestras."

[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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