Santa Barbara Celebrated Upcoming Symphony Season

By Bonnie Carroll

The Santa Barbara community attended a FREE Season Preview event on Thursday, September 7 at the Lobero Theatre with a welcome reception on the promenade at 4:30 p.m. and the program began at 5:00 p.m. The huge crowd attending shared they loved the preview of the upcoming 2023-24 season, and thoroughly enjoyed musical performances and behind-the-scenes conversations with the Symphony’s artistic team and renowned guest performers.

Guests for the free community event filled the steps of the historic Lobero Theatre where champaign and bites were plentiful and music lovers could chat with Maestro Kabaretti and local artists in attendance. Maestro Nir Kabaretti, his wife and mother (visiting from Rome) enjoyed meeting symphony patrons, along with music lovers and their families during the welcome reception.

The musical program was an up close and personal gathering filled with delightful examples of exciting moments to come at the Granada during this new symphony season and was followed by a VIP gathering where Katherine R. Martin, CEO introduced the new board members for 2023-24, and everyone praised the staff and performers for a wonderful preview of what’s coming for 2023-24. Nir Kabaretti and the talented team enjoyed high praise while meeting invited guests.

From Beethoven to the Oscars, Mahler to jazz, and Dvorak to opera, the Santa Barbara Symphony is for everyone! Music & Artistic Director Maestro Nir Kabaretti has assembled a spectacular season of diverse talent and repertoire to create a fantastic symphonic journey October 2023 – May 2024.

Everyone in the audience appreciated the up close and personal introductions to our SB Symphony Maestro Nir Kabaretti and very talented musical team. I overheard many guests share they were so looking forward to attending the amazing programs planned for the new season. Season sponsors 2023-24 Sarah & Roger Chrisman, corporate sponsor Montecito Bank & Trust, venue sponsor Granada Theatre and a bevy of generous concert sponsors were thanked.

This celebratory Season Preview event was hosted by Music & Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti, and attendees were treated to performances, stories and behind the scenes inspiration – all aimed at creating connections to the music, musicians and the organization creating only-in-Santa-Barbara experiences.

Nir Kabaretti welcoming guests to the 2023-24 Santa Barbara Symphony Season Preview at the Lobero Theatre. (Photo: Bonnie Carroll)

The 2023-2024 Season includes:

  • A Grand Season Opening — With more than 150 singers from Santa Barbara-based choruses joining the orchestra on stage, we open with the epic Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9—an Ode to Joy and to our community!

  • Exceptional Guest Artists Dazzle — This Season has a record-breaking number of guest artists (23!), including 8 vocal soloists, 4 choral groups, 2 trios and 1 guest conductor! The high-energy, Grammy®-winning, string trio Time for Three performs Contact, by acclaimed American composer Kevin Puts; international superstar David Krakauer dazzles in Marhulets’ Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet; and the great Marcus Roberts Trio truly innovates on Rhapsody in D.

  • Vital Collaborations — The Symphony builds vital collaborations on and off the stage with arts and cultural organizations including Jazz at The Lobero series, the Granada’s Synergy Series and the statewide California Festival: A Celebration in New Music; and Opera Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Choral Society, SBCC Quire of Voyces, Westmont College Choir, and Santa Barbara Gay Men’s Chorus.

  • Abundant Classical Favorites — Highlights include Mozart, Mahler, Dvořák, Beethoven and Ravel, and we honor outstanding women in February with rising star violinist Sirena Huang, and a work by pioneering French composer Louise Farrenc.

  • Epic Glitz, Glamor & Opera — opera’s “fan favorites” including Wagner, Verdi, Puccini & more, and a program of epic film scenes with live orchestra from Hollywood’s Golden Age of Oscar®!

About the Santa Barbara Symphony

The Santa Barbara Symphony delivers artistic excellence, outstanding music education stewardship and programming, and community collaboration – all through symphonic music. Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Nir Kabaretti as Music & Artistic Director since 2006, The Symphony is one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Through his charismatic leadership, this globally admired conductor and Santa Barbara resident invigorates audiences and musicians alike through his passion, creativity, and vast experience. The Symphony’s award-winning music education programs are the only music tied to a symphony orchestra in the region, The Symphony serves more than 2,000 students annually throughout Santa Barbara County via the Youth Ensembles program and the Music Van program. While The Symphony continues to evolve, its mission to bring joy, engagement, and connection remains steadfast and was evident in the organization’s ability to thrive during the pandemic. In 2021 a historic announcement was made that board chair Janet Garufis and President & CEO Kathryn R Martin joined Music & Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti in making a five-year commitment to serve in their roles. For more information, visit

Bonnie Carroll

Written by Bonnie Carroll

Writer, publisher, editor over 30 years, Bonnie Carroll is the present Publisher, Editor-in-Chief of Bonnie Carroll's Life Bites News founded 2005. She is also a contributor to a bevy of magazine and newspapers California and international since 1983.

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