Articles in Press

[Scene Magazine] Scandinavian Orchestral Cuisine, with a Twist

April 14, 2017

This weekend's Santa Barbara Sympohny program features the Scandinavian fare of Norwegian composer Grieg's Piano Concerto, played by Russian-born pianist Lilya Zilberstein

Estonia, once a northwesterly corner of the Soviet Union, is just a short boat trip across the Baltic Sea from Finland, which is two geographical Scandinavian "fingers" of land from Norway. This northern corridor, and its classical music riches, defines the agenda for the mostly Nordic program for this weekend's Santa Barbara Symphony concert, a mostly Scandinavian musical menu equipped with some intriguing points of reference and commonality--musically, geographically and otherwise.


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[Noozhawk] Symphony Forecasts Two Sunny ‘Seasons’

March 16, 2017

The Santa Barbara Symphony, conducted by Maestro Nir Kabaretti, plays this month's concerts at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 18, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18, in the Granada Theater. Internationally celebrated violinist Philippe Quint will solo in a pair of concerted works.

For reasons which will be immediately made clear, the concerts will bear the motto, "The ‘Seasons’ of Vivaldi and Piazzolla."

The program contains three works:

» The first four concertos from Antonio Vivaldi's Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (1723), known as "The Four Seasons."

» Astor Piazolla's four-movement quasi violin concerto, The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (1964-1970), arranged for orchestra by Leonid Desyatnikov.

» Franz Josef Haydn's Symphony No. 101 in D-Major, "The Clock" (1793-1794).

Having provided this list, I have just about come to the end of my usefulness. Vivaldi and Haydn do not stand in need of promotion, and possess a luminous transparency that makes a mockery of any scholarly exigesis.


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[Independent] Schubert, Copland, and a New Clarinet Concerto on Sunday, February 12

February 17, 2017

This thoroughly satisfying program revealed the Santa Barbara Symphony at its strongest, offering both refined, powerful renditions of two important works from the standard repertoire and a West Coast premiere of a sparkling new concerto for clarinet by composer Jonathan Leshnoff, a favorite of maestro Nir Kabaretti’s. The opener, the Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 (“Unfinished”) by Franz Schubert, contains some of the most masterful writing in the history of orchestral composition. Even without a full complement of four movements, Schubert’s “Unfinished” makes a bold and paradoxically complete statement. Kabaretti coaxed a relaxed yet deliberate performance from his musicians, and the second movement, in particular, flowed with an inexorable momentum that showed what Schubert was capable of adding to the legacy of Beethoven.


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[Voice Magazine] Nikkudim: Points of Light Clarinet Concerto

February 10, 2017

A musical narrative never before heard on the west coast will be soulfully breathed into a solo clarinet and full orchestra when the Santa Barbara Symphony performs the West Coast Premiere of American composer Jonathan Leshnoff's new Clarinet Concerto, Nikkudim, with their own Principal Clarinet Donald Foster as soloist. The concert pair will take place on Saturday, February 11th at 8pm and Sunday, February 12th at 3pm in the Granada Theatre.

Don Foster has been the Principal Clarinet  with the Santa Barbara Symphony for 19 years, and has performed his share of the standard concerto for the instrument with our orchestra and the Pasadena Symphony, where he also serves as Principal. But it's rare to have the opportunity to perform the West Coast premiere of a major new work for clarinet. It is a co-commission with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which gave the world premiere on April 14, 2016 with that orchestra's Principal Clarinet Ricardo Morales as soloist.


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[Scene Magazine] Giving the Clarinet Some Orchestral Love

February 10, 2017

SB Symphony Premieres Clarinet Concerto By Young Composer Jonathan Leshnoff

When last it convened, two weeks back, the Santa Barbara Symphony was busy entertaining an all-ages crowd to the tune and classic visuals of Disney’s “Fantasia,” with its idealistic blend of animation and classical music jukebox hit parade. This weekend’s model of a program is of another ilk entirely, a program in which the Austrian-American symphonic imprint of Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony and Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 play second fiddle, in a sense, to the main event of the package—the West Coast Premiere of noted and notably lyrical composer Jonathan Leshnoff’s new Clarinet Concerto.

From an organizational perspective, which casts positive light on our orchestra, the new piece was made possible by a co-commission from the Santa Barbara Symphony and one of America’s, and the world’s, great ensembles, the Philadelphia Orchestra. The symphony’s own considerable principal clarinetist, Donald Foster—no stranger to the soloist spotlight at the Granada Theatre—will do the soloist honors for the new Leshnoff work.


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[Scene Magazine] Orchestral Hits in Living Color

January 27, 2017

For first concert of new year, the Santa Barbara Symphony performs scores from the classic Disney Film 'Fantasia,' with live orchestral backing to the on-screen film excerpts

To report that there will be Mickey Mouse conditions at this weekend’s convening of the Santa Barbara Symphony is both a matter of truth, and potential cultural excitement of the sound and sight kind. For the first concert program of the New Year, the Symphony is showcasing the musical component of the classical musicfueled Disney animated classic “Fantasia,” with live, orchestral accompaniment to excerpts from the film. That this all takes place in vintage movie palace The Granada Theatre, dating back to the end of the silent era of the late ’20s, adds to the charm and historical fiber of the occasion.

Made in 1940, and featuring music of Elgar, selected moments from the ballet work of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” and Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker,” and — the Mickey Mouse moment — Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Fantasia” is a unique landmark in popular cinema, a rare meeting of high and mass culture. Public awareness of the riches and the deep heritage of classical music was, and continues to be, greatly enhanced by Disney’s grand gesture.


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