Sum’MAW of 75
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 14, 2022

The Music Academy of the West’s return to its normal extremely event-packed eight-week summer music festival in 2022 happily coincides with a major milestone for the institute headquartered right here in Montecito. If previous partnerships with the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra haven’t already done so, MAW’s 75th anniversary season truly places […]

A Galaxy of Music with Orion Weiss
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 24, 2022

Lots of locals who have lived here long enough fondly remember the single summer pianist Orion Weiss spent in Montecito as a fellow at Music Academy of the West in 2000. Not only because the then-20-year-old pianist captured the prestigious Concerto Competition back when there was no contest just for the pianists. Weiss also won […]

 

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Aqua: Turning on the Waterworks at UCSB
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 24, 2022

Back in 2019, veteran UCSB dance professor Valerie Huston and Arizona State University’s dance faculty member Carley Conder teamed up to create Avian for UCSB’s dance students. This casual piece was inspired by Huston overhearing two students talking about a class they were taking called The Mathematics of Origami and featured nine-foot origami birds above […]

A Peaceful Tune
By Richard Mineards   |   May 24, 2022

Peace and love were on the musical menu when the 74-year-old Santa Barbara Choral Society performed a Pax + Amare concert at the First Presbyterian Church under veteran conductor JoAnne Wasserman. Latvian baritone soloist Valdis Jansons, a voice coach at UCSB, sang in both pieces – French composer Maurice Duruflé’s 1947 “Requiem” and Ralph Vaughan […]

Joffrey Stuns at the Granada
By Richard Mineards   |   May 24, 2022

Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet mesmerized at the Granada when they performed for two consecutive nights as part of UCSB’s Arts & Lectures program. The magnificent company under Scottish artistic director Ashley Wheater kicked off the first night with Liam Scarlett’s “Vespertine,” originally created for the Norwegian National Ballet in 2015 and premiering with the Joffrey three […]

Jazz Trio & Orchestra: Roberts’ Outrageous Range
By Steven Libowitz   |   May 17, 2022

Jazz is about a lot of things, not the least of which is the ability to improvise in connection with both the music and the other instrumentalists. That’s a Marcus Roberts Trio specialty, as the long-term partnership featuring pianist Roberts, drummer Jason Marsalis, and bassist Rodney Jordan share equally in shaping performances via changes in […]

Doppel Danish
By Richard Mineards   |   May 10, 2022

To UCSB’s Campbell Hall to see the talented Danish String Quartet perform part two of its four-year-old Doppelgänger Project, supported by the college’s Arts & Lectures program, as well as New York’s Carnegie Hall. The project pairs world premieres from four renowned composers with chamber music masterpieces by Schubert, including “Death and the Maiden” and […]

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Isabel’s Bella Tune
By Richard Mineards   |   May 3, 2022

It was an evening of decidedly high note when Lebanese-born soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian performed in a Glorious and Free concert at the Lobero, part of CAMA’s – the Community Arts Music Association – Masterseries. The performance of Romani-inspired songs and operetta arias featured works by Dvorak, Brahms, Lehar, Salman, and Yvain sung effortlessly by the […]

HHII: Expanding the Dance Universe
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 26, 2022

Nebula Dance Lab didn’t have to cancel its annual HHII Dance Festival during the COVID crisis, although last year’s event did migrate to the virtual world. But what also happened in the more than two years since the festival’s last live weekend, was that the world caught up to Nebula and HHII’s concept of inclusivity, […]

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Finding Focus and Fun on the ‘Fringe’
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 26, 2022

The pandemic pushed Westmont’s Fringe Festival into the virtual world in 2021 after forcing the festival to furlough completely the year before. So the 2022 version of the entirely student-created fest, which takes place all over the Christian college’s Montecito campus this weekend, April 21-24, is a brand new experience for all except seniors. Maybe […]

Baroque Bash
By Richard Mineards   |   April 26, 2022

Multi Grammy winner Sir John Eliot Gardiner, founder and music director of the English Baroque Soloists, was in fine form when the 44-year-old orchestra performed at the Granada as part of CAMA’s 103rd international concert series. Playing two works from Mozart – “Sinfonia concertante in E-flat Major” and “Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major” – […]

Symphonic Support
By Richard Mineards   |   April 26, 2022

After tough times during the pandemic, which saw the Santa Barbara Symphony lose $250,000 in concert ticket sales last year, the outlook is considerably brighter given many restrictions being lifted, according to president and CEO Kathryn Martin. With a $3 million annual budget, Martin told major supporters of the Crescendo Society at a bash at […]

Downtown Talk Explores Music in COVID
By Scott Craig   |   April 19, 2022

Michael Shasberger, Westmont’s Adams professor for music and worship, shares stories of musical exploration and perseverance during a pandemic at a free, public lecture, “Making Music in the Age of COVID: Challenges, Opportunities, Risks, and Meaning,” on Wednesday, April 20, at 5:30 pm in the outdoor patio of Westmont’s newest downtown Santa Barbara building, 29 […]

A New Season for Rite of Spring
By Steven Libowitz   |   April 19, 2022

Le Sacre du Printemps has had immense influence in the classical arts ever since the collaboration between composer Igor Stravinsky and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky was premiered by Ballets Russes to great controversy in Paris in 1913. The decades-ahead-of-its-time music has gone on to great success in the concert hall while the ballet has been adapted, […]

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