Santa Barbara Symphony to preview 2021-22 season
The Santa Barbara Symphony is ready to take the stage for its first season of in-person concerts since the pandemic started.
Nir Kabaretti, the music and artistic director, will discuss the 2021-22 season during a free, one-hour preview at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara. A reception will follow.
The program will also include Kathryn R Martin, the symphony president and CEO, as well as Janet Garufis, the symphony board chair.
During the preview, Maestro Kabaretti will discuss how he chose the music and guest artists. And he’ll share his insights into conducting.
He also will discuss the components that went into the fully staged production of “Kismet,” produced by Broadways’ top talent.
And according to a news release, Maestro Kabaretti will discuss whether violin soloist Anne Akiko Meyers’ instrument is the most valuable violin in the world.
The conductor will also discuss the significance of the Marcus Roberts Trio performing with the symphony and the orchestra’s collaboration with Jazz at the Lobero.
Maestro Kabaretti will also talk about principal pianist Natasha Kislenko returning to the symphony’s stage to play Gershwin.
Here’s a look at the season, concert by concert.
— “Kismet,” Oct. 21-24. (The symphony’s season subscription includes the performances at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 and 3 p.m. Oct. 24.)
The symphony will perform behind a full-fledged production of the Tony-winning musical, which is being produced by Sara Miller McCune and will feature a mix of Broadway and local stars as well as State Street Ballet dancers.
— 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and 3 p.m. Nov. 14. “Royal Fireworks” will feature guest conductor Nicolas McGegan and symphony principal violist Erik Rynearson.
And the symphony will celebrate the 300th anniversary of J.S. Bach’s concertos by playing Brandenburg Concerto No. 4.
The concert will also feature Rameau’s Dances from the opera “Nais” and Handel’s “Royal Fireworks” music.
— 8:30 p.m. Dec. 31. “New Year’s Eve with the Symphony.”
Bob Bernhardt will be back to host a concert of popular music. The program will feature baritone Cedric Barry, pianist Natasha Kislenko and the entire symphony.
— 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 and 3 p.m. Jan. 16. The “Fandango Picante” concert will feature violin soloist Anne Akiko Meyers, playing “Fandango,” a new piece written for her by Mexican composer Arturo Marquez.
The concert will also feature the orchestra playing Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, known for its Spanish folk themes.
— 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 and 3 p.m. Feb. 20. The “Beethoven in Bloom” concert will feature Michelle Temple, the symphony’s principal harpist.
In addition to hearing the music, the audience will see images on screens.
The orchestra will play “The Great Circle” by Emmy-winning composer Jeff Beal, who almost lost his home in the 2017 Thomas Fire. It will include images of the devastation, the heroism of first responders and images of rebirth from the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s photographic research collection.
— 7:30 p.m. March 19 and 3 p.m. March 20. “Sonic Boom” will feature organ soloist Cameron Carpenter.
Last summer, Maestro Kabaretti explained why the concert is called “Sonic Boom.”
“You know, the organ itself has a huge sound, a massive sound, but it’s not often played as a solo instrument in an orchestra. Normally, it’s part of church services,” he told the News-Press. “We’re playing French pieces by two composers who thought the organ should be part of the concert experience.”
The concert will be a different experience for audiences more accustomed to seeing an organ in a church than as a solo instrument during an orchestral concert.
And “the boom is like when you have the last movement of the organ,” Maestro Kabaretti said with a smile.
The concert will feature the suspenseful Poulenc Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings.
— 7:30 p.m. April 23 and 3 p.m. April 24. It’s time for “Romance in a New Key.”
Piano duo Sivan Silver and Gil Garburg return to Santa Barbara for the world premiere of a reimagined composition of Robert Schummann’s Piano Quartet.
Brahms arranged it to be played by two pianists, and Austrian composer Richard Dünser went a step further for an arrangement for two pianists with strings.
— 7:30 p.m. May 21 and 3 p.m. May 22. The symphony will perform its “Riffing on Gershwin” concert.
During Gershwin’s Concerto in F, the orchestra is substituting the usual piano soloist with a jazz trio, specifically the Marcus Roberts Trio. It consists of pianist Marcus Roberts, drummer Jason Marsalis and contrabassist Rodney Jordan.
The trio will do something that wasn’t done in Gershwin’s day. Maestro Kabaretti said the three musicians will improvise.
“That makes this sort of a jam session on a piano concerto, which is very much something that Gershwin would have loved to do. But a hundred years ago, you wouldn’t dare.”