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Santa Barbara Symphony Announces Spring Youth Ensembles Concerts

The concerts on May 6 & 7 are FREE and open to the community

The Santa Barbara Symphony announces its spring Youth Ensembles performances on May 6 & 7, featuring the talented young musicians of our community, and spotlighting the impact of Music Education. All Youth Ensembles performances are free and open to the public; seating is available on a first-come basis. 

Conducted by Marisa McLeod, the Camerata Ensemble (beginner) and the Philharmonia Orchestra (intermediate) will perform music inspired by motion pictures, jazz, classical favorites, and dances from around the world on Saturday, May 6 at 3:00 pm at La Colina Junior High in Santa Barbara. Dr. Daniel Gee will once again conduct the Youth Symphony (advanced) on Sunday, May 7 at 4:00 pm at the Lobero Theatre. The Youth Symphony concert will feature Concerto Competition winners Samuel Peacock, violin, and Noelle Hadsall, piano, as well as a guest appearance by the Westmont College Choir. The program will include works by Saint-Saëns, Wieniawski, and Handel, plus music from The Lord of the Rings. For full concert details, please click here.

While the Youth Ensemble concerts are free for the public to attend, the Santa Barbara Symphony encourages the community to show support and make a donation.  Help The  Symphony provide these young musicians with life-changing experiences.  Needs-based scholarships ensure access to all, by providing instruments, private lessons, and tuition.

“These young musicians have invested in learning how to play a musical instrument and to work together. Not only do they inspire us now, they are our leaders, audience members and donors of the future.” shared Kathryn R Martin, President, and CEO of the Santa Barbara Symphony. “The community’s support of The Symphony’s Music Education Programs provides needs-based scholarships, musical instruments, experienced faculty, public performances, and more!”

As the only music education program in the region tied to a professional symphony orchestra, the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony brings together gifted musicians, ages 12–18, from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to perform works across the orchestral repertoire. As part of The Symphony’s strategic partnership with Westmont College, Santa Barbara Symphony Youth Symphony Music Director and Conductor, Dr. Daniel Gee leads this advanced ensemble and teaches the discipline and commitment that budding young professionals need for the next step in their careers, whether in music or another field.

The Camerata Ensemble, led by conductor Marisa McLeod, is composed of musicians who are early in their musical training. Students are introduced to the basics of ensemble playing, following a conductor, and listening across a musical group while playing. The Philharmonia Orchestra is the intermediate step in the Symphony’s Music Education program’s continuum of performing ensembles. Philharmonia engages string, wind, brass, and percussion students in performing as a full orchestra under the baton of Marisa McLeod. To provide targeted training and experience with other repertoire, in addition to learning full orchestra repertoire, students in Camerata and students in Camerata and Philharmonia rehearse as a chamber strings group with Marisa McLeod and as a symphonic wind band with instructor Karen Dutton. 

Applications are now open for the Youth Ensembles 2023/2024 season and students on all orchestral instruments are encouraged to audition! Visit to learn more and apply.
The Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education programming is made possible thanks to partnerships with school districts, Westmont College, community organizations, local and national funders, and generous support from individual donors, such as Harry Chanson Scholarship Fund, The Charitable Foundation, Barbara Ann Clark, Mr. Charles Cagara & The Roger A. Clarke Classical Trust, The Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation, Mithun Family Foundation, Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation, Mary K. and Edith Pillsbury Foundation, Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, The Stone Family Foundation, Marilynn L. Sullivan, and Williams-Corbett Foundation. To support the Sympony’s Music Education Programs please click here.

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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