COVID-19 restrictions forcing concert cancellations have caused many performing arts companies to go into a mad scramble to generate online video content, but Santa Barbara-based Camerata Pacifica came into the pandemic ahead of the curve.
Filming the chamber music organization’s concerts for the past decade has produced a library of performance footage now being compiled into hour-long YouTube broadcasts for its “Concert at Home” series. Episodes of the Camerata Pacifica series premiere every Sunday.
Camerata Pacficia will broadcast its 10th “Concert at Home” episode, featuring compositions by John Harbison, this Sunday.
Camerata Pacifica artistic director Adrian Spence told the News-Press that his organization’s consistent filming of performances since 2009 has turned out to be quite a boon, as filming new, socially distant performances isn’t necessary.
With some concert clips available for viewing on the Camerata Pacifica YouTube channel and others never before released, editing the various performances into 60 to 70-minute virtual concerts is all the work that needs to be done.
“We are so fortunate because everywhere across the world everyone is trying to come up with content, and I’ve got this library of a hundred pieces,” Mr. Spence said.
The artistic director added that since kicking off the “Concert at Home” series, the Camerata Pacifica YouTube channel has seen 60 to 70 percent more traffic than it did before the first broadcast.
The next “Concert at Home” will feature three performances by Camerata Pacifica musicians playing music by John Harbison, whom Mr. Spence referred to as “the dean of American music.” The broadcast will also include an interview with the composer.
During Camerata Pacifica’s 25th anniversary season, the organization commissioned Mr. Harbison to write his String Trio, which its ensemble debuted in 2013.
“I recognize John Harbison as a great composer, and I’m thrilled he wrote music for Camerata Pacifica,” Mr. Spence said. “We’ve commissioned a lot of music from a lot of composers, but for our 25th anniversary season, he was the only composer I wanted to write for us.”
Though Mr. Spence withheld what two of the upcoming episode’s pieces will be, he said one of the three will be Mr. Harbison’s “Songs America Loves to Sing,” an arrangement of 10 popular songs that he said people are sure to recognize. Cagey about revealing what most of those songs are, Mr. Spence said that one of them is a gospel-tinged arrangement of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
The artistic director described “Songs America Loves to Sing” as a perfect example of a piece that combines a sense of fun with compositional skill.
He further praised Mr. Harbison. “As a musical craftsman, John Harbison is without a peer. His command of compositional technique is epic.”
Episode 10 of “Concert at Home” will debut on Sunday at 10 a.m. on Camerata Pacifica’s YouTube channel, with another broadcast at 6 p.m. It will also be shown at 11:30 a.m. on Facebook Live. All “Concert at Home” episodes are immediately archived after streaming.