Santa Barbara Symphony Welcomes Vice President of Community Education and Enrichment, Dr. Nicholas Fuentes

(September 2021) Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara Symphony is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Nicholas Fuentes as its new Vice President of Community Education and Enrichment. In this key role, Dr. Fuentes will lead the Symphony’s award-winning, inclusive and accessible programs, and through this, create a community of lifelong learners who are passionate about music and the arts. 

“As a first-generation American and a first-generation college student, I care deeply about educating young people and allowing them to see that anything is possible through the pursuit of learning,” shared Dr. Fuentes. “First-generation youth do not often possess the social capital necessary to succeed. I see it as my duty to ensure that all youth have the encouragement, mentorship and knowledge necessary to succeed. Music is a wonderful vehicle to inspire students to develop critical life skills through practicing, playing in ensembles, and performing for the public.” 

Each year, the Santa Barbara Symphony provides more than 10,000 children throughout Santa Barbara County with high quality, equal-access music education through its Music Education programs: a continuum of connected programs designed to support and engage students every step along their musical journey; fostering collaboration, confidence and community, empowering students to be at their best through music. The Symphony offers the only music education programming in the region tied to a professional symphony orchestra. The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony has a long history in the community and notable alumni in and out of the field. Additionally, its strategic partnership with Westmont College provides even more opportunities for students through mentorship, creative youth development, and performances. 

Dr. Fuentes has spent the past 12 years at CSU Channel Islands, as a director in the Extended Education division, and as the Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Prior to that, he served as the Registrar and Director of Student Services for the Professional and Continuing Education division at UC Santa Barbara.

Originally from Los Angeles, Dr. Fuentes earned a BA in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara, an MA in Organizational Management from Antioch University in Santa Barbara and an EdD in Educational Leadership. Fuentes has been passionate about music his entire life. He and his wife Renee have four grown children and live in Ventura with their two dogs. 

Santa Barbara Symphony Music and Artistic Director Nir Kabretti commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Fuentes to the Symphony family to lead our diverse educational programs. This is a new milestone for the Symphony and shows our commitment to enrich the Santa Barbara community with the joy of music education. Music is a lifelong journey and with Dr. Fuentes’ expertise, we look forward to continuing and expanding the impact of music on kids and adults of all ages”. 

About the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Programs 

The Symphony’s Music Education programs will return to serving its Youth Ensembles students in-person this season for all three ensembles: the Camerata Ensemble and Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Marisa McLeod and Karen Dutton, and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony conducted by Dr. Yvette Devereaux. 

The Symphony’s programs, designed to engage elementary school students including BRAVO! after-school music instruction, Concerts for Young People and the Music Van, will be offered virtually during the pandemic. A “Virtual Music Van” video that was conceived and produced by the Music Education team provides a virtual music experience for students to learn from and enjoy. Guided by docents and volunteers, this video is available to our local schools as a virtual alternative to the in-person Music Van experience. Click HERE to see the Music Van Video. Educators may contact Marie Hebert at to request the video and companion materials for the classroom. 

About the Santa Barbara Symphony 

A professional orchestra founded in 1953 on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony is consistently lauded for its innovation, artistic excellence, commitment to delivering dynamic music education programs and is widely recognized as one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Under the artistic leadership since 2006 of charismatic Israeli conductor and Santa Barbara resident, Nir Kabaretti, the Symphony is one of the few orchestras in the nation who found ways to bring the orchestra together for a full season of live broadcasts during COVID. Its mission of bringing joy, engagement and connection to the community was amplified during the pandemic, when the Symphony was needed the most. As the only music education program tied to a professional Symphony orchestra in the region, its award-winning programs serve more than 10,000 students throughout Santa Barbara County each year. For more information, visit


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.