Dr. Daniel Gee will be the music director of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony for the 2022-23 season.
He is an assistant professor of music at Westmont College, where he conducts the College Choir and Chamber Singers.
“I could not be more thrilled at this opportunity to lead the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony and continue its legacy of investing in our community’s young musicians,” said Dr. Gee. “Making music together is one of life’s greatest joys, and the challenges that our youth face today makes this all the more valuable.
“I am also glad to see Westmont’s strategic partnership with the symphony continue to grow as we continue our joint efforts to make an artistic and educational contribution to our community,” he said in a news release.
The Santa Barbara Symphony’s music education programs are the only programs in the region tied to a professional symphony orchestra. Fostering collaboration, confidence and community, the three youth ensembles serve students in grades 3 through 12 from beginner to advanced: Camerata Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony.
The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony has a 57-year history in the community and has produced notable alumni both in and out of music. Dr. Gee’s appointment is part of the symphony’s effort to empower students to be their best through music. The programs offer quality musical mentorship and focused instruction, performance opportunities and access to new experiences with the symphony’s professional musicians and guest artists.
“I am so pleased to welcome Daniel as the new music director for the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony,” said Dr. Nicholas Fuentes, vice president of community education and enrichment for the Santa Barbara Symphony. “With his background and experience, we’ll be taking the youth ensembles to new levels by providing educational opportunities that build bridges between musicians of every age. The addition of Daniel to our team adds vital support to our vision of providing a continuum of music education to young musicians of all skill levels in the local community.”
Actively and equally engaged in both choral and orchestral worlds, Dr. Gee has served as assistant conductor for the Long Beach Symphony and associate conductor of Orange County’s Choral Arts Initiative. His breadth of conducting experience ranges from professional ensembles to church and community groups to educational settings.
His work abroad has included teaching and conducting master classes at the 2018 Simpósio de Música hosted by the Assemblies of God Denomination in São Paulo, Brazil, and performing with the USC Chamber Singers in the Baltics and Poland.
He includes Jo-Michael Scheibe, Cristian Grases, Eckart Preu and Michael Shasberger, among many others, as his conducting mentors.
Dr. Gee first moved to Santa Barbara to attend Westmont College, received his doctorate of musical arts from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and recently returned to Santa Barbara two years ago to take on a role as faculty. His musical journey began in his public school music program in Temple City by learning and playing the cello.
“I am thrilled with the appointment of Daniel. He’s a great combination of musician and educator, and he has also assisted me in a few symphony programs in the past,” said Nir Kabaretti, the Santa Barbara Symphony music and artistic director. “Daniel’s musical journey began in his public school’s music program, a testament to the power and potential of music education in schools. Our students are in great hands, and this is exciting for our continuing partnership with Westmont College.”
“Music education is a key part of our mission to inspire a passion for music in the next generation, and the community’s support is critical to our programs,” said Kathryn R. Martin, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Symphony. “The community’s financial support through the June ‘Playing Our Part’ campaign helps us to continue to foster our youth’s potential both in the classroom and beyond!”