“Beethoven in Bloom” is being presented by the Santa Barbara Symphony and commemorates the Thomas Fire and the Montecito debris flow that followed it.
The concert will take place at 3 p.m. today at The Granada, 1214 State St. A previous performance took place Saturday.
This concert is being presented in partnership with the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and will feature a piece by Jeff Beal, an Emmy-winning composer.
The performance will also feature Michelle Temple, who has been the symphony’s principal harpist since 1991. Ms. Temple will perform Jennifer Higdon’s Harp Concerto, which originally premiered in 2018 in a concert by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with harpist Yolanda Kondonassis and won the 2020 Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
“It is an honor to present such a dynamic program featuring two amazingly talented American contemporary composers,” said Nir Kabaretti, music and artistic director of the Santa Barbara Symphony.
“We are also excited about our artistic partnership with the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, whose restoration work on the land on which Jeff Beal’s piece depicts, is extraordinary, and adds such dimension and emotion to the presentation,” Maestro Kabaretti said in a news release. “This provides such a unique way for audiences to further connect with not only the music but with nature and the Santa Barbara community as a whole.”
“The Great Circle” by Jeff Beal is described as a visual and musical depiction of the rebirth of the landscape after the Thomas Fire. Mr. Beal almost lost his home to the fire and experienced the devastation felt by communities in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, causing him to compose this symphonic work.
“The Great Circle” paints nature’s primal elements and enduring power to survive, and includes a visual component incorporating photographs of the devastation, the heroism of first responders, and new photographs of the foothill rebirth from Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s photographic research collection. The piece is cast in five movements entitled “Earth,” “Air,” “Fire” and “Rebirth.”
The title comes from a poem by Wendell Berry: “Our Children, Coming of Age.”
“The Great Circle is a musical narrative written in response to the Thomas Fire, and the Montecito mudslides of 2017-18,” Mr. Beal said in the news release. “It is a piece about the complexity of our dance with our natural environment, i.e. the power of nature to both destroy and also regenerate itself. It is a meditation on the suffering, and compassion the community experienced during these times; an invitation to reflect on the past, the forces and elements, which also allow life to return in our future.”