Bayrakdarian, Messerlian, and Babson Elected to CAMA Board of Directors

George Messerlian, Isabel Bayrakdarian, and Marta Babson have been selected to CAMA

Renowned soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, retired internist George Messerlian, and local arts benefactor Marta Babson have been elected to the Board of Directors for Community Arts Music Association (CAMA) of Santa Barbara. The elections took place December 12, 2018 (for Ms. Bayrakdarian and Dr. Messerlian), and January 24 (for Ms. Babson).  

“We are very pleased to have these talented and accomplished individuals serve on our Board,” said CAMA Executive Director Mark Trueblood. “We value their leadership, insight, and experience, and look forward to their continued advocacy and involvement with the organization. We are very fortunate to have them.”

Ms. Bayrakdarian’s career was launched in 1997, when she was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions – the same year she graduated from the University of Toronto cum laude with a biomedical engineering degree. In 1999 she appeared in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s world premiere production of William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge, and the following year she won first prize in Plácido Domingo’s prestigious Operalia competition. Subsequent engagements have included San Francisco Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and many others throughout North America and Europe. As a concertizer, she has appeared with the premier orchestras of New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Vienna, and Montreal. Ms. Bayrakdarian’s extensive recording catalog includes a turn as featured vocalist on the Grammy-award winning soundtrack of the blockbuster film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and her numerous honors include four consecutive Juno Awards (Canada’s Grammy equivalent) for Best Classical Album. Now a faculty member in the Department of Music at UC Santa Barbara, she has been hailed as an “electrifying” performer by The New York Times. In 2017 she performed as Vixen Sharp Ears in Opera Santa Barbara’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen, and was awarded the “Movses Khorenatsi” medal, the Republic of Armenia’s highest cultural award.

Born and raised in El Monte, California, Dr. Messerlian earned his bachelor’s degree at UCLA before graduating with honors from Chicago Medical School. After completing his internship and residency at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, he specialized in internal medicine at Sansum Clinic from 1977 until his retirement 2017. In addition to CAMA, Dr. Messerlian and his wife Sally support Sansum Clinic and All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, where he serves as a lay eucharistic minister.

Born in Chicago, Ms. Babson moved with her family to Montecito at age 3 and attended Cold Springs School and Crane Country Day School. After graduating from Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, she worked at Crocker National Bank in Santa Barbara before returning to Chicago for a position at Harris Bank and later L Cartwright & Co, where she served as an analyst, trader, and market maker. She maintains residences in Chicago and Montecito. In Chicago, Ms. Babson has served on the Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center, has been a Board member for Goodman Theatre and the Chicago Symphony, and is a lifetime member of the Art Institute of Chicago. In Santa Barbara, she supports the Music Academy of the West, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and UCSB Arts & Lectures, as well as CAMA.

CAMA’s centennial concert season continues May 6 with a performance by legendary cellist Mischa Maisky at The Lobero Theatre. The organization will present a “100th Birthday Bash,” a free, all-community event, from 1 to 4 pm on May 19 at the Courthouse Sunken Garden.

For more information, call (805) 966-4324 or email

CAMA is Santa Barbara’s oldest arts organization, and is presenting its 100th concert season in 2018-19. CAMA’s mission is to enrich the city’s cultural life by bringing live performances by world-renowned classical artists and orchestras of the highest artistic excellence to our community and by providing creative, focused music education programs for individuals of all ages.


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