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Winners Announced in Santa Barbara Youth Symphony’s 2021 Concerto Competition

“The Santa Barbara Symphony is thrilled to receive such an overwhelming response to this year’s competition, from so many talented young musicians.” - Kristine Pacheco-Bernt, Director of Education for the Santa Barbara Symphony

Expanded competition results in four winners from Santa Barbara County

(May 18, 2021) Santa Barbara, CA – During a year when performing arts faced challenges beyond measure, the Santa Barbara Symphony not only committed to presenting its full season of concerts, but also to continuing its music education programs, including the long-standing tradition of the Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, featuring some of Santa Barbara County’s finest young musicians, held virtually this year. Participation in this competition allows students to showcase their best efforts and hard work in performances scheduled for next season, and one lucky musician won the opportunity to perform as a soloist in the Santa Barbara Symphony’s season finale. 

“The Santa Barbara Symphony is thrilled to receive such an overwhelming response to this year’s competition, from so many talented young musicians,” shared Kristine Pacheco-Bernt, Director of Education for the Santa Barbara Symphony. “Music education is a part of the Symphony’s mission to positively impact in the community, and despite the challenges this past year, we were pleased to be able to offer 100% of our programs, thanks to the collective talents of our incredible teaching staff, while sustaining and strengthening the bonds with our students and families.” 

For the first time ever, the Concerto Competition was open to any student up to age 18 living in Santa Barbara County studying an instrument outside of the typical orchestral realm (for example piano, classical guitar, or Baroque instruments). To participate, students submitted a pre-recorded audition video for consideration. The Symphony congratulates the 2021 Concerto Competition winners: Kevin He (15), Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor by Jean-Baptiste Accolay, Joseph Malvinni, (13) Concerto No. 1 for Guitar and Orchestra in D major op. 99, I. Allegretto by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco; Martie Pecht (16) Bassoon Concerto in A minor, RV 497, I. Allegro molto by Antonio Vivaldi; Rhyan and Zeyn Schweyk (15 and 16) Concerto for 2 Harpsichords/Pianos in C minor, BWV 1062 by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Malvinni won the esteemed honor of performing his piece with the Santa Barbara Symphony in its season finale, Triumph.

This year’s Concerto Competition judges included Maestro Nir Kabaretti, Music and Artistic Director Santa Barbara Symphony; Dr. Yvette Devereaux, Conductor Santa Barbara Youth Symphony; Dr. Michael Shasberger, Adams Chair of Music & Worship Westmont College; and Trevor Handy, Principal Cellist Santa Barbara Symphony.

The Symphony has continued to lead the way throughout the pandemic, delivering critical music education to inspire the next generation of musicians and making music accessible to everyone in the community. In response to the pandemic, all programming for the Symphony’s Music Education Programs has adapted to an online environment and, despite being virtual, there is more momentum than ever.  Through partnerships with school districts, community organizations, a new strategic partnership with Westmont College and support from generous Symphony donors and funders, the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Programs are able to continue all of its programming this year. The community can support making these programs possible through tax-deductible donations to the Symphony.

About the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Programs

Each year, the Santa Barbara Symphony provides over 10,000 children in Santa Barbara County with high quality, equal-access 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 include the Music Van mobile music classroom, Concerts for Young People student matinee musical experience, the BRAVO! after-school band and music instruction classes, and three Youth Ensembles from beginner to expert: Camerata Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. During this pandemic school year every Symphony Music Education program continued, maintaining its commitment to students, schools, and teaching artists.

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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