Opera Santa Barbara’s production of An American Dream | Credit: Phillip Newton

This edition of ON the Beat was originally emailed to subscribers on February 16, 2023. To receive Josef Woodard’s music newsletter in your inbox each Thursday, sign up at independent.com/newsletters.

On the serious music scene, this weekend’s convergence of major Santa Barbara musical organisms attest to our fair city’s hardy health on the classical music front. In fact, the clenched proximity of performances by the mighty (and 70 years deep) Santa Barbara Symphony, Opera Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Choral Society, the chamber music finery of Camerata Pacifica and a special Santa Ynez landing of the esteemed Takács String Quartet poses logistical traffic jam issues. For a culture vulture’s calendar juggling purposes, there is the question of what to do when, and where and when. But it’s a happy problem.

This weekend’s fare also extends beyond usual suspects and standard repertoire, displaying the sometimes adventurous spirit of our prized musical institutions. Maestro Nir Kabaretti’s Santa Barbara Symphony will fulfill its “old familiars” function with Ravel’s Bolero and Richard Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration, but the main feature of the orchestra’s program is a world premiere version of famed jazz musician Ted Nash’s Transformations (February 18-19). Aside from Nash’s orchestral venture, he will show up in jazz mode alongside the Josh Nelson trio (Nelson being one of the premier jazz pianists in Los Angeles). See Independent story here.

Ted Nash performs with Santa Barbara Symphony | Credit: Courtesy

On the operatic front, Opera SB’s fearless and take-no-guff leader Kostis Protopapas is bringing the contemporary American one-act piece An American Dream to the Lobero, for two performances on Saturday, February 18. Commissioned by the Seattle Opera in 2015, composer Jack Perla’s work deals with racial and xenophobic tensions during WWII, as affecting a Japanese-American woman and a German Jewish refugee in the Northwest. See story here.

To expand and complicate matters, this is also the weekend when the ever-impressive Choral Society steps out on its own in concert. We heard them earlier this season in collaboration with the SBS and in holiday/Christmas mode with their annual “Hallelujah Project” in December. But the group, currently celebrating its milestone 75th anniversary season and led for almost half that time by Jo Anne Wasserman, busts out its burnished choral sound in the embracing setting of Trinity Episcopal Church this weekend (February 18 at 7 p.m. and February 19 at 3 p.m.). The ensemble program includes Morten Lauridsen’s “Sure on This Shining Night,” Rollo Dilworth’s arrangement of “The Gift To Be Free.” And for the flavor of Scottish toffees, our assortment and Mac Wilberg’s “O Whistle and I’ll Come To Ye.” It’s a not-to-miss occasion, amidst a few other not-to-miss occasions. Help me, Mr. Wizard!

Camerata Pacifica continues its service of presenting high caliber and intelligently programmed chamber music in Santa Barbara — from whence it started, before branching out to concerts in Los Angeles and Ventura, as well. Friday night (February 17) at Hahn Hall, CamPac finds a balance between the comforts of Brahms and the Russian rigors of Prokofiev and Schnittke’s Prelude in Memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich.

Meanwhile, up in the inviting ambience of Los Olivos’ St. Mark’s in-the-Valley church on Sunday afternoon (February 19), the vibrant and venerable chamber music-geared Santa Ynez Valley Concert Series brings to the valley the acclaimed Takács Quartet, giving an all-Beethoven program. We’ve grown accustomed to hearing the Tackas at the outset of the Music Academy of the West summer season, but they are a welcome presence in the 805 any old time.


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.