Santa Barbara Symphony to play eclectic concert
Nir Kabaretti is excited about a Santa Barbara Symphony concert featuring everything from Mozart to bluegrass.
Next week’s show, in fact, will give the orchestra the chance to swing.
“Today, people understand musicians cannot be limited to the 18th-century or 19th-century music,” Maestro Kabaretti, the symphony’s music and artistic director, told the News-Press by phone from his Santa Barbara home. He noted eclectic concerts are increasingly becoming the wave of the future.
For next week’s varied program, Maestro Kabaretti is bringing back a familiar face: the symphony’s former concertmaster, Gilles Apap. The Arroyo Grande resident will be the violin soloist for “Violins Around The World: From Classical to Bluegrass.”
The concert will be recorded on The Granada stage without an audience and will stream at 7 p.m. March 20 for orchestra enthusiasts watching at home. (The concert will repeat at 3 p.m. March 21.)
Maestro Kabaretti is thrilled about the spontaneous nature of a concert that will showcase Mr. Apap’s improvisational prowess and the strings section’s rhythmic power.
Maestro Kabaretti said Mr. Apap will improvise his solo during Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5.
“When you do something with an improviser, it’s hard to predict. You have to be ready for anything,” said Maestro Kabaretti, who will lead the orchestra as it follows Mr. Apap into the unexpected. “It’s always different. There’s always that moment of improvisation that is never the same.”
Maestro Kabaretti also noted the Mozart symphony is a beautiful work with Turkish sounds. (Written in 1775, the symphony is known by its nickname, “The Turkish.”)
The concert also will feature Mr. Apap as the soloist during Arrangements for String Orchestra and Violin. The arrangements by Mr. Apap include “Fiddlin’ Around,” an old bluegrass piece called “Old Dangerfield,” “Java Manoush” and “Dracula Breakdown.”
Maestro Kabaretti said audiences can expect violinists to pluck as well as bow as the symphony swings with the sounds of bluegrass and timeless folk music from the Balkans — southeastern Europe. The arrangements also will feature French music.
And the orchestra will play Symphony No. 1 by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. That’s the entire name of an 18th-century French composer, who also was a virtuoso violinist and a conductor of a leading Paris symphony orchestra.
Maestro Kabaretti noted Saint-Georges was the first known classical composer of African ancestry and that he was popular during his time.
Saint-Georges, who was born in the French colony of Guadeloupe, was the son of George Bologne de Saint-Georges, and Anne dite Nanon, his wife’s African slave.
When Saint-Georges was young, his father took him to France, and during the French Revolution, the younger Saint-Georges was a colonel of the Légion St.-Georges, the first all-black regiment in Europe. The regiment fought on the side of the Republic.
Maestro Kabaretti said he is glad to present Saint-Georges’ symphony in an eclectic concert featuring improvisation and rhythmic power.
“I think the audience, even at home, will be able to cheer, clap and sing with the music.”