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Santa Barbara Symphony Announces 2021/22 Season


●     The orchestra returns to perform for LIVE audiences in a seven-program musical journey curated by Maestro Kabaretti to connect audiences with the music, the musicians and with each other.

●     Guest artist highlights include violin superstar Anne Akiko Meyers performing a new work written for her by Mexican composer Arturo Marquez, Baroque specialist Nicolas McGegan conducts a program celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the Brandenberg concertos, classical music phenom Cameron Carpenter makes the organ cool, and jazz royalty, the Marcus Roberts Trio, reimagines Gershwin’s Concerto in F.

●     Musical themes of re-birth and re-imagining run through the season, including a World Premiere by Austrian composer Richard Dünser, featuring the Silver/Garburg piano duo and The Great Circle by EMMYⓇ Award winner Jeff Beal, of House of Cards fame, commemorating the Thomas Fire and Montecito Mudflow in music and images. 

●     New artistic collaborations and partnerships created with Jazz at the Lobero, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Broadway producer and EMMYⓇ award-winning director Lonny Price and State Street Ballet for the fully-staged musical KISMET.  

(July 19, 2021) Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara Symphony unveils its 2021/22 season and is thrilled to welcome audiences back in person to “Hear it, feel it, live it… live!”  This season Maestro Nir Kabaretti takes audiences on a musical journey from October through May, anchoring each program with impactful works performed by extraordinary artists from across the globe, as well as making important artistic connections within the Santa Barbara community.

Building upon the up-close and personal connection created through the Symphony’s groundbreaking broadcasts throughout the pandemic, concert-goers can expect new ways to enhance the musical experience, including a “screen-friendly” digital zone inside the theatre, musician interviews, pre-concert activities, and innovative ways to interact and connect with musicians, patrons, and fellow music fans.

“During our pandemic season, the programming designed for the home viewer brought audiences and musicians closer together than ever,” shared Symphony Music & Artistic Director, Nir Kabaretti. “To me, there could be no better way to emerge from the darkness of last year than to present a vibrant and dynamic new season that continues to shine a spotlight on our creative forces and engage our audiences even more.”

With a through-line of showcasing the multi-faceted power of symphonic music and the collaborative opportunities it makes possible, the 2021/22 season opens with Kismet, a fully-staged musical directed by Broadway legend and EMMYⓇ Award-winning director Lonny Price, featuring the Santa Barbara Symphony, State Street Ballet, and a cast of performers from across the globe. New artistic partnerships with Jazz at the Lobero, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and Santa Barbara Museum of Art offer audiences opportunities for deeper context and insights to the music and musicians – whether enjoying classical masterpieces by Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Gershwin, Mendelssohn, or discovering new works of living composers.

“The pandemic revealed and solidified our identity as an organization.  Our mission is to create joy, connection and impact through the unique ways only a symphony orchestra of our size and artistic caliber can!” shared Kathryn R Martin, President and CEO. “Our investment in music education programs, offering extended stays for our guest artists, and our shared commitment and curiosity in doing things for and with the community, all make it possible for greater impact to occur in Santa Barbara that would otherwise not have been possible.”

All performances will take place live, in person at the Granada Theatre. Season subscriptions are on sale now with packages starting as low as $100 for a Four-Concert Season Package and $158 for a Full, Seven-Concert Subscription Package, available online at or call 805-898-9386. Single tickets go on sale on September 1, 2021. 

The Santa Barbara Symphony’s 2021/22 Season
Nir Kabaretti, Music & Artistic Director

All performances are held at The Granada Theatre

Kismet – runs October 21-24, 2021, with Symphony Subscriptions available on:
October 23, 2021 at 7:30 pm & October 24, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Produced by Sara Miller McCune
Musical direction by Nir Kabaretti 
Choreography by William Soleau

The magic and romance of the Tales of the Arabian Nights comes to life in KISMET, an original TONYⓇ Award-winning musical hit that follows the exploits and hijinks of the wily poet Hajj, and the forbidden love of his daughter Marsinah, with musical twists and turns befitting these enduring adventure legends. Based on the classical music of Russian composer Alexander Borodin, the score weaves in his lush themes and exotic melodies, including the hit song “Stranger in Paradise,” a reimagining of the famous themes from the Polovtsian Dances in the opera Prince Igor. Kismet is both complex and extraordinarily simple with its themes of love and faith and the sense of destiny that is never far from us.

As producer, Sara Miller McCune is bringing a top artistic team together in Santa Barbara. EMMYⓇ Award-winning director Lonny Price directs a fully-imagined stage production featuring a cast including Broadway stars, principal dancers of State Street Ballet and choreography by their co-artistic director and award-winning choreographer, William Soleau, and Nir Kabaretti conducting the Santa Barbara Symphony.

With a desire to share the timeless story and lush melodies with today’s audiences, this new production of KISMET produced by Sara Miller McCune offers a unique perspective on a cherished classic. The creative team of KISMET includes cultural consultant Naila Al-Atrach (professor at NYU specializing in Arab Theater and Film studies), who is acting as a liaison to the Arab world and cultures. The casting team, Peter Van Dam and Afsheen Misaghi, are actively reaching out to performers in the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia) community to find the cast. Every effort is being made to respectfully represent KISMET’s middle eastern inspired world.

Royal Fireworks – Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 7:30 pm & Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 3:00 pm
Nicolas McGegan, guest conductor
Erik Rynearson, Santa Barbara Symphony principal viola

Rameau – Dances from the opera Naïs
Telemann – Viola Concerto in G major
J.S. Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major
Handel – Music for the Royal Fireworks

Hailed as one of the finest Baroque conductors of this generation, Nicolas McGegan takes the podium to lead the Symphony audiences on a fascinating journey through 18th century music that remains as popular today as it was in its own time.

The Symphony will perform J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Bach’s beloved concertos, and it is bookended by two pieces both written to celebrate the Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle in 1748 between France and England; Rameau’s Dances from the opera Nais, and Handel’s Royal Fireworks music.

Erik Rynearson, principal viola for both the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra performs Telemann’s Viola Concerto. With a career that spans over 15 years, Rynearson has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Pacific Symphony. Rynearson also performed on Lady Gaga’s 2020 Grammy-nominated album, Chromatica.

Principal Sponsor:
Dan & Meg Burnham

Selection Sponsors:
Frederic & Nancy Golden
Marlene & Warren Miller

New Years Eve with the Symphony – December 31st, 2021 at 8:30pm

Farewell 2021, and hello 2022!  Bob Bernhardt returns to host an evening of Gershwin and other symphonic party favorites. Featuring baritone Cedric Barry, pianist Natasha Kislenko, and the full orchestra, join audiences get ready to ring in the New Year.  This performance sells out – so make plans now! Offered as an add-on for subscribers, with single tickets available beginning September 1st, 2021.

Presented in partnership with The Granada Theatre.

Principal Sponsor:

Montecito Bank & Trust

Fandango Picante – Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 7:30 pm & Sunday, January 16, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Nir Kabaretti, conductor
Anne Akiko Meyers, violin

Arturo Marquez | Danzón No. 2
Arturo Marquez | Fandango violin concerto
Rimsky-Korsakov | Capriccio Espagnol

Violin superstar Anne Akiko Meyers returns to the Santa Barbara Symphony to ignite the stage with Fandango, a new piece written specifically for her by Mexican composer Arturo Marquez, which will be making its world premiere by the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl just a few months prior to this performance. This new violin concerto showcases the fireworks of Akiko Meyers’ dynamic playing style with the rhythmic movement and Latin sound Marquez is famous for. The mastery of the orchestra is on display in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, weaving in Spanish folk themes and in particular showcases the dexterity of the strings who play “quasi guitara” sounding like guitars. Olé!

Principal Sponsor:
Ann Jackson Family Foundation

Selection Sponsors:
Stefan & Christine Riesenfeld
Barbara Burger & Paul E. Munch
Libby & Stephen Erickson
Shelley & Mark Bookspan

Beethoven in Bloom – Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 7:30 pm & Sunday, February 20, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Nir Kabaretti, conductor
Michelle Temple, Santa Barbara Symphony principal harp

Jeff Beal | The Great Circle
Jennifer Higdon | Harp Concerto
Beethoven | Symphony No. 6 in F Major, “Pastorale”

Take a walk and experience nature in both the Santa Barbara foothills and the Vienna landscape. When EMMYⓇ Award-winning composer Jeff Beal nearly lost his home in the Thomas Fire and experienced the devastation felt by neighbors and communities from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, he created a symphonic work, The Great Circle, that paints nature’s primal elements and enduring power to survive, and includes a visual component incorporating images of the devastation, the heroism of first responders, and new images of the foothill rebirth from the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s photographic research collection. In a similar way, Beethoven was inspired by his long walks in the Austrian countryside and vineyards around Vienna, which led him to craft one of his most thematic works, the Sixth Symphony, “Pastorale” to reflect sounds of nature, from birds fluttering to storms thundering. Beethoven himself said of this work, “it is more the expression of feeling than painting.” 

In collaboration with the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Principal Sponsor:
Dick & Ann Zylstra

Selection Sponsors:
Howard Jay Smith & Patricia Bivans Dixon
John Trotti & Karen Drown

Sonic Boom – Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 7:30 pm & Sunday, March 20, 2022, at 3:00 pm

Nir Kabaretti, conductor
Cameron Carpenter, organ

Bach | Prelude and Fugue in E-flat major, “St Anne” (for solo organ)
Poulenc | Concerto for Organ, Timpani, and Strings in G minor
Saint-Saëns | Symphony No. 3 in C minor, “Organ Symphony”

As one of the most in-demand classical musicians in the world, Cameron Carpenter has taken the music world by storm by shattering stereotypes and making the organ cool again. Audiences will quite literally feel the sonic waves emanating from the organ. The haunting Poulenc Concerto for Organ, Timpani, and Strings, evokes the suspense and drama of a movie thriller.

In partnership with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and its “Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources”

Principal Sponsor:
Dr. Bob Weinman

Artist Sponsors:
Duncan & Suzanne Mellichamp
Roxana & Fred Anson
Susan Aberle

Selection Sponsor:
Gillian Launie
Judd & Susan Lundt

Romance in a New Key – Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 7:30 pm & Sunday, April 24, 2022, at 3:00 pm

Nir Kabaretti, conductor
Silver/Garburg, piano duo

Richard Dünser | Robert Schumann Concerto for Piano Four Hands and String Orchestra, after Quartet op. 47. Arranged by Richard Dünser PREMIERE
Mendelssohn | Symphony No. 3 in A minor, “Scottish”

Sivan Silver and Gil Garburg return to Santa Barbara with great anticipation to perform the world premiere of a reimagined composition of Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet. When Robert Schumann wrote his brilliant Piano Quartet, Brahms arranged it to be played by two pianists.  And now Austrian composer Richard Dünser reworks it for our popular duo pianists with strings. This piano and symphonic mashup of Romantic and contemporary is a perfect example of the enduring popularity of classical music, and a perfect vehicle for the mesmerizing Silver/Garburg piano duo.

In partnership with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and its “Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources”

Principal Sponsor:
Sarah & Roger Chrisman

Artist Sponsor:
Christine A. Green

Riffing on Gershwin – Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 7:30 pm & Sunday, May 22, 2022, at 3:00 pm

Nir Kabaretti, conductor
Marcus Roberts Trio, guest artists
          Marcus Roberts, piano
          Jason Marsalis, drums
          Rodney Jordan, contrabass

Gershwin | Piano Concerto in F (arr. M. Roberts, for jazz trio and orchestra)
Price | Symphony No. 1 in E minor

Jazz and symphony fans alike will be awestruck by the Marcus Roberts Trio, bringing pure alchemy to Gershwin’s Concerto in F. Early 20th century composer Florence Price, recognized as the first woman African American symphonic composer, is experiencing a well-deserved resurgence of popularity. Her critically acclaimed Symphony No. 1, premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933, was inspired by Dvorak’s New World Symphony, similarly incorporating folk tunes and hymn-like melodies that evoke a range of American flavors.

Presented in partnership with Jazz @ the Lobero

Principal Sponsor:
Samuel M. & Alene S. Hedgepeth

Artist Sponsor:
Pat Gregory for the Baker Foundation

Selection Sponsors:
Omega Financial Group
Dingman Family Foundation
Wallin Studios

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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