Santa Barbara Music Club 50th Season of Free Concerts
On Saturday, February 8 at 3 p.m. the Santa Barbara Music Club will present another program in its popular series of concerts of beautiful Classical music. This afternoon’s program features several performers and composers from or working in Santa Barbara. Pianist Robert Else features three works by Santa Barbara composer Hal Isbitz: Caterina, Dolores, and Tulsey Town Rag. Next, Leslie Hogan will premiere her own new solo piano work. Finally, flutist Tracy Harris and pianist Svetlana Harris feature a collection of varied pieces, including Ronda Larsen’s Be Still My Soul; the world premiere of Dancing Wings by Todd Harris; and Joachim Andersen’s Scherzino. This concert, co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Public Library, will be held at the Faulkner Gallery of the library, 40 East Anapamu, Santa Barbara. Admission is free.
Pianist and director emeritus of the Santa Barbara Music Club Robert Else begins the program with the music of another director emeritus, Hal Isbitz. His music presents a refreshingly picturesque blend of classical, rag, and popular idioms. The three works, Caterina, Dolores, and Tulsey Town Rag, all show Isbitz’s predilection for rhythmic ostinatos upon which each piece is built and each derives its energy.
Next, current Santa Barbara Music Club director and pianist Leslie Hogan premieres one of her own compositions. Her compositional style reflects her fascination with the intersection of music and other art forms, particularly in the sense of how music can respond to visual stimuli. Hogan has extensive involvement in the musical life of Santa Barbara, having performed in UCSB’s Ensemble for Contemporary Music, co-founded the Current Sounds concert series, and served as a board member of the Chamber Music Society of Santa Barbara. She currently teaches composition in UCSB’s College of Creative Studies.
Finally, flutist Tracy Harris and pianist Svetlana Harris feature an array of works. The first is Grammy Award winning flutist and composer Ronda Larsen’s Be Still My Soul of 2003, which, like the well-known hymn, refers to Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia. The composition employs extended techniques for the flute and weaves the melody throughout, making for an ethereal and beautiful effect. Next are works by the polymath Todd Harris, a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, husband of Svetlana and brother of Tracy: a duet arrangement of a Chopin Impromptu and the world premiere of his Dancing Wings. In addition to his talents as an arranger and composer, Todd Harris also writes poetry and is a research scientist. He currently is composer and poet in residence at the Wyndfall Conservatory, California. The Harris duo completes its performance with the whimsical and lighthearted Scherzino by Joachim Andersen (1847–1909), the leading Danish flutist and conductor at the turn of the twentieth century.
Santa Barbara Music Club concerts are free to the public, and display a wonderful diversity of historical musical periods and compositional styles, including beloved masterworks and exciting new and seldom-heard repertoire. Of the series, the Santa Barbara Independent exclaimed: "A beautiful day, a beautiful room, beautiful music ... who could ask for more?" and Gerald Carpenter in Noozhawk.com declared, "Every Santa Barbara Music Club concert that I have ever attended has been a sensory joy as well as a consciousness expansion."
A valued cultural resource in the community since 1969, the Music Club's mission is threefold:
(1) Presentation of an annual series of concerts, free to the public.
(2) Aiding and encouraging musical education by the disbursement of scholarships to talented local music students.
(3) Presentation of community outreach activities, including bringing great music to residents of area retirement homes.
Funding support was provided by the City of Santa Barbara's Organizational Development Grant Program and by the Towbes Fund for the Performing Arts, a field of interest fund of the Santa Barbara Foundation. For information on this or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists, visit SBMusicClub.org.