After the Emmy Award–winning composer Jeff Beal (House of Cards, Monk) nearly lost his home in Montecito to the Thomas Fire, his creative impulse stirred as he watched the first responders. Then the restoration and conservation workers come in to deal with the impact of the fire and subsequent mudslides. The result was The Great Circle, a symphonic composition that he wrote as a tribute to the renewal of the landscape facilitated by volunteer botanists and scientists working for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
On Saturday, February 19, and Sunday, February 20, the Santa Barbara Symphony will perform The Great Circle in sync with a spectacular visual narrative documenting these efforts to restore the foothills. As Beal’s music plays, the audience will follow along as humans partner with nature to bring our land back to ecological health and vibrant beauty. This collaboration between the Symphony and the S.B. Botanic Garden represents a new development in the orchestra’s ongoing exploration of the potential of the Granada’s stunning high-definition back projection screen.
Following the Beal premiere, the Symphony’s principal harpist, Michelle Temple, will perform Jennifer Higdon’s Harp Concerto, which won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Composition in 2020. Higdon has been a frequent visitor to Santa Barbara in recent years. This performance represents a further consolidation of what looks to be a long-term relationship between the composer and the city’s musicians.
The concert’s finale will be a performance of that composer’s Symphony No. 6 in F Major, “Pastorale.” The most recognizably programmatic of Beethoven’s symphonies resounds with elements drawn from the natural world and the countryside. For tickets and information, visit thesymphony.org.