Founded in 1953, the Santa Barbara Symphony has always been a special part of the city because it is here for the community. After 65 years, filled with achievements both in performance and engagement with the community, it’s time to honor the gifts this symphony has given our community.
With innovation and artistic excellence in mind, the symphony has come a long way since its first concert on December 12, 1953. With Arujan Kojian taking the podium in 1985, the Santa Barbara Symphony was exposed to international experience that matured it into one of most respected regional ensembles. With this era of distinguished artistry the symphony was able to grow and gain a certain power in the community to do good.
Nir Kabaretti became the Music Director in 2006 and Artistic Director in 2008. Born in Israel, Kabaretti’s outstanding international career and experience in both the symphonic and operatic repertoire led to innovation within the symphony. In October 2008, Kabaretti led the Santa Barbara Symphony into the newly restored Granada Theatre, where they still play today.
Not only does the talented symphony present brilliant concerts, they value the importance of our community and the people in it. The Symphony’s award-winning Music Education Center serves more than 10,000 students a year throughout Santa Barbara County. It is driven by the belief that every child should have equal access to music to help them connect not only with each other but with the world around them. The center created the Music Van and Bravo! after school programs and includes both in-school and extra-curricular activities for children. The achievement’s of this program are definitely ones to celebrate!
To celebrate its 65th Anniversary, the Santa Barbara Symphony has a lot of exciting events in store for its upcoming season. Not only is the organization reflecting on over a decade of powerful musical experiences but it is looking forward to everything that will be possible for it and its guests.
“As we move into a new era, it is our intention to make world-class music an integral part of the cultural life of Santa Barbara County,” shares Kevin Marvin, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Symphony. “We will continue to strive to create Symphony programming for all community members to participate in, and grow our reach, enabling us to focus more than ever on artistic excellence.”
The Symphony Ball will kick off the 65th Anniversary festivities on Friday, October 19 at the Hilton Beachfront Resort. Guests will travel back in time to the golden era of “Supper Clubs” with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by dinner and dancing under the stars in the hotel’s Plaza del Sol. The evening will be hosted by Broadway star Lisa Vroman alongside members of the Santa Barbara Symphony and swing band Art Deco.
The announcement of the 2018-2019 season just adds to the anticipation of the 65th Anniversary with “Rhapsody in Blue” on Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21. The program begins with Ernst von Dohnányi’s folk—and gospel—infused “American Rhapsody,” then chart-topping recording artist Jeffrey Biegel will play George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” ending with Berlioz’s epic “Symphonie fantastique.”
Highlights in 2019 include “Pictures at an Exhibition,” “Amadeus Live,” and “Romeo & Juliet.” Following are more exciting concerts brought to you by the symphony this season.
“The Rite of Spring” on Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18.
“Holiday Pops” and a Free Community Concert by the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony on Saturday, November 24.
“New Year’s Eve Pops Concert” on Monday, December 31.