Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Symphony Announces Reimagined 2020-21 Season

The Santa Barbara Symphony invites the community to discover a reimagined 2020-2021 performance season, one that will be forever remembered as historic.

Santa Barbara Symphony Continues to Share Music with Announcement of Reimagined 2020-21 Season

Historic season opens with “Cabaret with Kabaretti”, a joint fundraiser with the Granada Theatre: Seven concert digital subscription package on sale now!

(September 16, 2020) Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara Symphony invites the community to discover a reimagined 2020-2021 performance season, one that will be forever remembered as historic. As one of the few performing arts organizations in the country committed to creating an innovative path forward; the Symphony will present seven programs this season, with plans that begin with a new streaming format and add socially distanced in-person options for audiences when that becomes possible.  Curated by Music and Artistic Director, Nir Kabaretti, the 2020-21 season shines a spotlight onto the Santa Barbara Symphony symphony musicians and local artistic treasures, and includes masterpieces by Gershwin, Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, Mozart, Copland, and composers’ pieces the Symphony has never presented before, like African American composer George Walker, Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and genres ranging from Baroque to orchestral arrangements of Bluegrass. Tickets are on sale now for the virtual season, in addition to subscriptions offering savings and new benefits all season long, available online here.

The 2020-21 season will officially open with “Cabaret with Kabaretti” on Saturday, October 17 at 7:00 pm, via livestream from the Granada Theatre. Join the Symphony for an evening that’s “up close and personal” as Broadway star Lisa Vroman sings from the Great American Songbook in the intimate style of cabaret. Hosted by celebrated actress and singer Leslie Zemeckis, this opening night concert will have audiences humming along to Gershwin, Berlin, Lloyd-Webber. See (and hear) the Symphony like never before as it showcases the new livestream format featuring performances, interviews, and 360-degree access to our musicians, both onstage and backstage at the Granada Theatre. This event is a joint fundraiser for the Symphony and the Granada Theatre. The Symphony has partnered with DUO Catering to prepare a cabaret-inspired dinner and a signature cocktail, available for takeout, for guests to enjoy that evening from home while enjoying the opening night festivities. Tickets available online here starting as low as $43 per household for season subscriptions.

“With everything going on in the world right now, we need music more than ever to safely bring us back together,” shares Maestro Nir Kabaretti, Music and Artistic Director of the Santa Barbara Symphony. “This season you will experience the Symphony like never before! It’s a true celebration of our phenomenal local artists along with brilliant shining stars in our performing arts world that will join us to inspire you, and take you on musical experiences none of us could have imagined before a pandemic. We are rising to the occasion to continue the music, and bring you a newfound love and appreciation for the Symphony, and we cannot wait.”

The symphony is currently planning a return to live performances with limited, socially-distanced audiences at the Granada Theatre in January 2021. This return will be based on public health and safety guidance.

“The safety of our staff, musicians and audience is our top priority. After months of planning, the Santa Barbara Symphony will bring audiences together in a new way to experience live music,” shares Kathryn R. Martin, Interim CEO of the Santa Barbara Symphony. “From state of the art camera work, backstage interviews, live interactions and even special dinners with local restaurant partners – everything has been designed to enhance our audiences’ experience. As orchestras around the country have gone dark, we are grateful to our supporters and community partners for making this unprecedented season possible!”

The 2020-21 performance season:

Season Sponsor:  Montecito Bank & Trust

Transition Season Sponsors:  David & Chris Chernof, Roger & Sarah Chrisman, Daniel & Mandy Hochman

Cabaret with Kabaretti on October 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Livestream from the Granada Theatre

Opening Night features Maestro Kabaretti conducting and Broadway star Lisa Vroman singing from the Great American Songbook. Hum along to Gershwin, Berlin, Lloyd-Webber, and be entertained by host and celebrated actress and singer Leslie Zemeckis.

Beethoven @250 on November 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Livestream from Music Academy of the West

Maestro Nir Kabaretti is joined by concertmaster Jessica Guideri, pianist Robert Koenig, cellist Trevor Handy, clarinetist Don Foster, and other members of the Symphony playing solo and chamber music of Beethoven. Once again presented in a livestream format, this event will also feature interviews and 360-degree access to our musicians, both onstage and backstage at the Music Academy of the West.

Santa Barbara Celebration on January 23, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Livestream & Limited Seating* (The Granada Theatre)

For this special first performance back at the Granada Theatre, Maestro Nir Kabaretti leads a cadre of Santa Barbara Symphony musicians and soloists through a program that highlights the musical talents of our Santa Barbara community, featuring a piece written by local composer Joel Feigin, along with favorites by Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart, this concert is designed to let the Symphony’s own musicians shine.

American Beauty on February 20, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Livestream & Limited Seating* (The Granada Theatre)

In celebration of Black History Month, maestro Nir Kabaretti and the Santa Barbara Symphony present a unique lineup highlighting the works of African American composers and their influences, including Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, considered by many to be the Mozart of his generation, and Lyric for Strings by George Walker, the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. The program will also include Serenade by Santa Barbara’s own Robin Frost, and guest pianist Alessio Bax performs Maurice Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major. 

Principal Concert Sponsor:  Dan & Meg Burnham

Violins Around the World on March 20, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Livestream & Limited Seating* (The Granada Theatre)

Violinist Gilles Apap joins maestro Nir Kabaretti for a globetrotting program that travels from Baroque to Bluegrass, including performances of Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Mozart: Concerto for Violin No. 3 in G Major, along with short works in the style of French, Irish, Balkan, and Bluegrass.

Fanfare for the Common Man on April 17, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Livestream & Limited Seating* (The Granada Theatre)

American composer Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man is considered a patriotic standard, which makes his piece the perfect way to spotlight the talented Santa Barbara Symphony Brass and Percussion musicians, led by maestro Nir Kabaretti. They will also perform Serenade No. 2 by Johannes Brahms, and a unique take on Mahler with vocal soloist Valdis Jansons.

Triumph on May 15, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Livestream & Limited Seating* (The Granada Theatre)

Maestro Nir Kabaretti will lead for our Season Finale, a special evening honoring the strength, perseverance, hope, creativity, and community that makes up the Santa Barbara Symphony Family. This special evening will feature Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major by guest pianist Awadagin Pratt, Schönberg’s Notturno for Harp and Strings, and the season concludes with Beethoven Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92.

Principal Concert Sponsor: Daniel and Mandy Hochman

*January thru May the Granada Theatre will determine the socially-distanced seating chart, which is subject to change.


All tickets and subscription packages are available online here or by calling 805-898-9386. Tickets start as low as $43 per household for season subscriptions. Digital subscribers will enjoy enhanced concert experiences such as a “Season Sneak Peek” with Nir Kabaretti, pre-concert “Behind the Music” events, dinner packages and more. See full details online here

About the Santa Barbara Symphony’s 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 has worked with some of the world’s most sought-after musicians, including Lang Lang, Placido Domingo, Joyce Di Donato, Angel Joy Blue, Vadim Repin, Gilles Apap, Hélène Grimaud, and André Watts. Kabaretti lives with his wife Gaja and their children Adam and Amanda in Santa Barbara, CA. His full biography can be found 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

Other Articles

Support The Santa Barbara Symphony

Your support matters now more than ever!
Please make a donation today.