Santa Barbara Symphony Announces New Season-New Contract

The 2019/20 Season begins with a renewed commitment to artistic quality and a four-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Local 308.

Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara Symphony’s 2019/20 Season marks the beginning of a new, four-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Local 308 which outlines pay rates and hiring practices, among the many details of working conditions, for the 76 orchestral musician positions covered by the agreement. The Santa Barbara Symphony will open the 66 th season October 19 and 20, 2019 with the first of nine exciting and versatile programs, “Festa Italiana!,” an evening dedicated to the beauty of Italian music. The 2019/20 season includes masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Paganini, Brahms, Mahler, Gershwin, and a historical homage to Ludwig van Beethoven as the grand finale in May, 2020 as the world celebrates Beethoven’s 250 th anniversary. Single tickets are on sale now for the season; subscriptions provide savings and benefits and are still


As a per-service professional orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony draws musicians from a pool of one of the finest and most competitive performance and recording markets for orchestral musicians in the world. The CBA, which was recently ratified, governs the relationship through June 30, 2023, and includes pay rate increases from the second through the fourth years of the agreement. These pay rate increases demonstrate a commitment and represent an investment in artistic quality to ensure that the Symphony is competitive with other area ensembles and performance opportunities for the talented musicians retained by the Santa Barbara Symphony. Negotiations took place over the course of approximately four months starting in the Spring of 2019.

“Artistic excellence is the hallmark of the Santa Barbara Symphony –whether the orchestra is performing classical music, a pop program during the holidays, or a film score live and in-sync with the motion picture. This agreement represents a commitment to artistic excellence, to our artistic leadership, and to each musician who performs with the Symphony as we continue our work to reach broader audiences and create a truly sustainable organization for generations to come for our great community.” -Janet Garufis, Santa Barbara Symphony Board Chair

“Our board and community are committed to providing outstanding live classical musical performance, as exemplified through a positive and fruitful negotiation for this new CBA. It is not common these days for orchestras to secure four-year contracts, but we accomplished this together as a result of an outstanding relationship with our musicians.” –Kevin A. Marvin, Executive Director

“The 2019-20 season launches an exciting new chapter at the Santa Barbara Symphony,” said Nir Kabaretti, Santa Barbara Symphony Music and Artistic Director, “offering versatile programs with a range of orchestral classics, invigorating yet less often performed compositions, and more contemporary works, including a new favorite by composer Julia Wolfe.” “We are bringing some of the greatest artists of our time to the stage with the Symphony to perform Paganini, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, we are hosting Santa Barbara favorite Cameron Carpenter for the first time, the man who reinvented the Organ as a solo instrument, and Lana Kos, one of the most brilliant sopranos of our time, who performs all over the world and commands lead roles at the Arena Di Verona opera festival.”


The Santa Barbara Symphony opens its 66th season Saturday, October 19 at 8:00PM and Sunday, October 20 at 3:00PM with “Festa Italiana!” in a burst of energy courtesy of the great Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi. The overture to his mid-career masterpiece La Forza del Destino covers a range of emotion but is ultimately propulsive and exhilarating. Critically acclaimed violinist Francesca Dego next performs Niccolò Paganini’s demanding Violin Concerto No. 1. Hear Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 next, which radiates joy and affection. Written during a three-month sojourn in Rome in 1880, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s fantasy Capriccio Italien offers a richly descriptive portrait of Italy that will conclude this delightful Italian-themed program.

Francesca Dego

Celebrated for her sonorous tone, compelling interpretations and flawless technique, guest soloist Francesca Dego is one of the most sought-after young violinists on the international scene. Signed in 2012 by Deutsche Grammophon, her most recent recording is Suite Italienne, a recital disc paying homage to the aesthetic and influence of twentieth-century Italian musical style and featuring works by
Ottorino Respighi, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Igor Stravinsky. Her performance of Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Santa Barbara Symphony will thrill you with virtuosity. “This season’s opening program was designed as an evening dedicated to the beauty of Italian music, ‘La Bella Musica.’ The rhythmical energy and cheerful mood of the Italian folk music that both Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn incorporated in their pieces after visiting Italy are irresistible. Together with the breathtaking virtuosity of Paganini and Verdi’s dramatic music – I look forward to sharing an unforgettable evening of Italian music with audiences on opening weekend.” – Nir Kabaretti, Music and Artistic Director

A limited number of seats are also available to a Santa Barbara Symphony Family Dinner hosted by Anne Smith Towbes Saturday, October 19 in the Founders Room at the Granada Theatre at 5:30 PM prior to the season opening performance. Enjoy fresh, beautiful dishes served family-style with fellow members of the Symphony Family as we launch the 66th Season and honor Honorary Board members with an intimate dinner catered by Via Maestra. Tickets are $150 per person, please call the Symphony Development Office to reserve your seat(s) at 805-880-6931 by Friday, October 11.

Single tickets for Festa Italiana! are priced with great seats from $31 and may be purchased online at or by calling 805-899-2222.


All performances take place at the Granada Theatre, 1214 State Street in Santa Barbara. Complete season program information is available online at with detailed program notes here . Subscriptions are still available and with savings up to 30% off, provide the best seats at the best prices; Full Series packages start at $158, or build a Choose Your Own package starting at $94.
Subscriptions can be ordered online or by calling (805) 898-9386. Single tickets for the 2019-20 season are on sale now and may be purchased online at or by calling 805-899-2222.

Pre-Concert Talks: "Behind the Music" hosted by Saïd Ramón Araїza

Back by popular demand, we present musician and music scholar, Saïd Ramón Araїza in “Behind the Music” pre-concert talks. Mr. Araїza’s extensive musical background, insights, presentation skills and humor will take you on a journey of discovery about each program, bringing each work and its composer to life in a whole new way. Open to all ticket holders, the talks are approximately 30 minutes and are held one hour and fifteen minutes before each subscription concert begins at the Granada Theatre (Holiday Pops
and New Year’s Eve Pops excluded). “Behind the Music” is generously sponsored by Ruth Orthwein, Marilynn L. Sullivan and The Chalfant Family Trust, and Patricia Gregory for the Baker Foundation.

Music and Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti

The Santa Barbara Symphony is led by the ever-compelling Nir Kabaretti, who was named the orchestra’s music director in 2006 and its artistic director in 2008. Maestro Kabaretti has conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, to name just a few.
His extensive operatic experience includes productions at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Teatro Real in Madrid, Switzerland’s Opéra de Lausanne, and Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Winner of the 1993 Forum Junger Kunstler Conducting Competition in Vienna, he was named the music director of the Southwest Florida Symphony in 2014 and started in his additional new role as Music Director of The Israel Sinfonietta Beersheba in August 2018. Kabaretti lives with his wife Gaja and their children Adam and Amanda in Santa Barbara, CA.

The Santa Barbara Symphony looks forward to sharing the upcoming season of thrilling and inspired programming with the community and visitors alike! For more information on the Santa Barbara Symphony, or its programming, visit

About The Santa Barbara Symphony

A professional orchestra founded in 1953 on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony is consistently lauded for its innovation, artistic excellence, commitment to delivering dynamic music education programs, and is widely recognized as one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Under the artistic leadership of charismatic Israeli conductor and Santa Barbara resident, Nir Kabaretti, since his appointment in 2006, the Symphony is one of the few orchestras in the nation who found ways to bring the orchestra together for a full season of live broadcasts.  Its mission of bringing joy, engagement and connection to the community was amplified during the pandemic, when it was needed the most. As the only music education program tied to a Symphony orchestra in the region, its award-winning programs serve more than 10,000 students throughout Santa Barbara County each year. For additional information, visit

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