A&L Launch Party

By Richard Mineards   |   June 18, 2024
Caitlin O’Hara, Celesta Billeci, Dorothy Largay, Meghan Bush, and Charles Donelan (photo by Priscilla)

UCSB’s popular Arts & Lectures program is celebrating its 65th anniversary in grand style with more than 47 events in the entertaining lineup for 2024-2025 featuring world-renowned artists, forward thinking speakers, and impressive ensembles.

Performance highlights include legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Wynton Marsalis Ensemble, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance with an A&L co-commission, a new tap interpretation of the “Nutcracker Suite” by Dorrance Dance, and two programs featuring soprano Julia Bullock.

Congressman Salud Carbajal, Celesta Billeci, and John Hajda (photo by Priscilla)

Lecture and special event highlights include Salman Khan’s “Brave New Words,” Yotam Ottolenghi, Jennifer Doudna, Anne Lamott’s “Somehow Thoughts on Love,” and Pico Iyer in conversation with Yung Pueblo, Richard Powers, and Marina Abramović.

The program’s longtime Miller McCune Executive Director Celesta Billeci says the new anniversary season “includes an exciting mix of old friends, rising stars, and new discoveries.”

“It’s more than a milestone. It’s a time to reflect on the organization’s stories past and celebrate with our friends and supporters. It’s also time to look ahead and imagine what the next 65 years can bring.

“We have learned so much, not only from the fabulous, star-studded array of performers, creators, Nobel Prize winners and civic leaders who have graced our stages, but also from the community that has come together around our programming and the heroes who have stepped up and contributed to support our efforts.

“We see evidence of the program’s impact everywhere we look … The image of our impact shines bright.”

Among the 200 supporters at the Montecito Club listening to the new program outlined by Celesta, Charles Donelan, Caitlin O’Hara and Meghan Bush were KEYT reporter John Palminteri, Congressman Salud Carbajal, Marianne Partridge, Henry and Dilling Yang, Gretchen Lieff, Margo Cohen Feinberg, Mark Whitehurst, and Kerry Methner.

The new season kicks off Oct. 1 with Snarky Puppy, described as “Jazz, Funk and More from North Texas with a rabid fan base and a blithely unplaceable style” at the Arlington Theatre, with other venues including the Granada, the Lobero, Campbell Hall, and the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall.

It should be a helluva cultural ride!


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