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Dr. Daniel Gee Appointed Music Director of the
Santa Barbara Youth Symphony

The Santa Barbara Symphony is pleased to announce that Dr. Daniel Gee will be joining the organization as the Music Director of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony for the 2022/23 season. Gee is an Assistant Professor of Music at Westmont College, where he conducts the College Choir and Chamber Singers. The Symphony’s strategic partnership with Westmont College and the appointment of Gee exemplifies the impact that comes when Santa Barbara institutions collaborate.

“I could not be more thrilled at this opportunity to lead the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony and continue its legacy of investing in our community’s young musicians,” shared Gee. “Making music together is one of life’s greatest joys, and the challenges that our youth face today makes this all the more valuable. I am also glad to see Westmont’s strategic partnership with the Symphony continue to grow, as we continue our joint efforts to make an artistic and educational contribution to our community.”

The Santa Barbara Symphony’s music education programs are the only programs in the region tied to a professional symphony orchestra. Fostering collaboration, confidence, and community, the three Youth Ensembles serve students in grades 3 through 12 from beginner to advanced: Camerata Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony.

The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony has a 57-year history in the community and has produced notable alumni both in and out of music. Dr. Gee’s appointment is part of The Symphony’s effort to empower students to be their best through music. The programs offer quality musical mentorship and focused instruction, performance opportunities, and access to new experiences with The Symphony’s professional musicians and guest artists.

“I am so pleased to welcome Daniel as the new Music Director for the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony,” shared Dr. Nicholas Fuentes, Vice President of Community Education & Enrichment for the Santa Barbara Symphony. “With his background and experience, we’ll be taking the youth ensembles to new levels by providing educational opportunities that build bridges between musicians of every age. The addition of Daniel to our team adds vital support to our vision of providing a continuum of music education to young musicians of all skill levels in the local community.”

Actively and equally engaged in both choral and orchestral worlds, Dr. Gee has served as Assistant Conductor for the Long Beach Symphony, and Associate Conductor of Orange County’s Choral Arts Initiative. His breadth of conducting experience ranges from professional ensembles to church and community groups, to educational settings. His work abroad has included teaching and conducting masterclasses at the 2018 Simpósio de Música hosted by the Assemblies of God Denomination in São Paulo, Brazil, and performing with the USC Chamber Singers in the Baltics and Poland. He is grateful to include Jo-Michael Scheibe, Cristian Grases, Eckart Preu, and Michael Shasberger, among many others, as his conducting mentors. Gee first moved to Santa Barbara to attend Westmont College, received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, and recently returned to Santa Barbara two years ago to take on a role as faculty. His musical journey began in his public school music program in Temple City, CA, by learning and playing the cello.

“I am thrilled with the appointment of Daniel, he’s a great combination of musician and educator, and he has also assisted me in a few Symphony programs in the past,” shared Symphony Music & Artistic Director, Nir Kabaretti. “Daniel’s musical journey began in his public school’s music program, a testament to the power and potential of music education in schools. Our students are in great hands, and this is exciting for our continuing partnership with Westmont College.”

“Music education is a key part of our mission to inspire a passion for music in the next generation and the community’s support is critical to our programs,” shared Kathryn R Martin, President and CEO of the Santa Barbara Symphony. “The community’s financial support through the June “Playing Our Part” campaign helps us to continue to foster our youth’s potential both in the classroom and beyond!”

For more information about the Santa Barbara Symphony Youth Ensembles, including details regarding auditions, curriculum, and performances, please click here:

The community is invited to support the Symphony’s music education programs and deepen the impact on the lives of students. For more information and to donate, visit:

About the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Programs

Each year, the Santa Barbara Symphony provides children in Santa Barbara County with high-quality, inclusive and accessible music education through its Music Education programs: a continuum of connected programs designed to support and engage students every step along their musical journey; fostering collaboration, confidence and community, empowering students to be at their best through music.

The Symphony’s range of Music Education programs includes the Music Van mobile music classroom, and three Youth Ensembles serving students in grades 3 through 12 from beginner to advanced: Camerata Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony.

About The Santa Barbara Symphony

Now in its 71st year, The Santa Barbara Symphony delivers artistic excellence, outstanding music education stewardship and programming, and community collaboration – all through symphonic music. Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Nir Kabaretti as Music & Artistic Director since 2006, The Symphony is one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Through his charismatic leadership, this globally admired conductor and Santa Barbara resident invigorates audiences and musicians alike through his passion, creativity, and vast experience. As the only music education program tied to a professional symphony orchestra in the region, The Symphony serves more than 4,000 students annually throughout Santa Barbara County. While The Symphony continues to evolve, bringing joy, engagement, and connection remain steadfast pillars of its mission and were evident in the organization’s ability to thrive during the pandemic including the historic announcement that board chair Janet Garufis and President & CEO Kathryn R Martin join Nir Kabaretti in making a five-year commitment to serve in their roles. For more information, visit

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