Santa Barbara Symphony Platinum Sounds: A 70th Anniversary to Remember
By Bonnie Carroll
The Santa Barbara Symphony’s 70th Anniversary season performed Platinum Sounds: The Santa Barbara Symphony Turns 70 on Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 14 at 3:00 p.m., preceded by a pre-concert “Conversations with Kabaretti” at 2:00 pm Sunday Mother’s Day performance.
This platinum anniversary concert highlighted The Symphony’s brilliant principal players in American composer Jonathan Leshnoff’s work Concerto Grosso, previously commissioned for the Symphony’s 60th anniversary. Violin soloist and multi-GRAMMY® nominee Philippe Quint brought his imaginative approach to Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto, and Johannes Brahms’ monumental Symphony No. 1 – which took composer Mendelssohn 21 years of revisions to declare ready for public performance in 1876.
The beautiful Sunday afternoon program according to Maestro Kabaretti was a revisit to Brahms Symphony No. 1, one of the greatest symphonic masterpieces of the Austro-German tradition. He welcomed back talented Philippe Quint to Santa Barbara for his fourth program, making him the most frequent guest artist in recent years. The principal musicians brought Concerto Grosso to life once again, which was originally commissioned ten years ago for our 60th anniversary. They were all magical and due to thoughtful staging, the musicians were all very visible on stage. The entire afternoon flowed beautifully and was said by many guests I spoke with to be exquisitely presented and at times electrifying.
Philippe Quint (courtesy photo)
Quint, one of the most versatile and imaginative artists on the concert stage today, multiple GRAMMY® award-nominee American violinist Philippe Quint is internationally recognized for his unique approach to classical core repertoire, championing new music, rediscovering neglected works and creating a new format of docu-concert experience; multimedia journeys about lives of Astor Piazzolla and Charlie Chaplin. “Truly phenomenal” is how BBC Music Magazine recently described him. Philippe Quint plays the magnificent 1708 “Ruby” Antonio Stradivari violin on loan to him through the generous efforts of The Stradivari Society®.
The performance of Violinist Philippe Quint was the talk of the intermission in the Founder’s Lounge, where I spoke with a couple from San Jose who are season ticket holders and love traveling to Santa Barbara for the Santa Barbara Symphony performances. Not unlike myself and my guest, they both were brought to tears by Quint’s performance of the Felix Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 and described his creative performance on the magnificent 1708 “Ruby” Antonio Stradivari violin, as possibly the finest violin performance they have ever experienced, and they found it to be simply astounding!
I personally thought Yehudi Menuhin was channeling through Philippe Quint during his amazing performance, and as my mother was a devotee of Menuhin and I grew up listening to records of his performances such as the Hora Staccato during this stunning Mother’s Day 70th violin performance I began to cry and felt my mother Rose was sitting in the seat next to me. It just does not get any better than that! Many thanks to our Santa Barbara Symphony for yet another delightful Sunday afternoon at the Granada Theatre, and for a most unforgettable Mother’s Day.
The Program included Jonathan Leshnoff | Concerto Grosso (Commissioned for The Symphony’s 60th Anniversary)
Jessica Guideri, violin I, Ryo Usami, violin II,Trevor Handy, cello, Amy Tatum, flute
Lara Wickes, oboe, Donald Foster, clarinet, Andy Radford, bassoon, Teag Reaves, horn
Jon Lewis, trumpet, Dillon MacIntyre, trombone. Felix Mendelssohn | Violin Concerto
Philippe Quint, violin, Johannes Brahms | Symphony No. 1.
Platinum Sounds was generously supported by Principal Concert Sponsor, Montecito Bank & Trust; Artist Sponsor, Christine A. Green; and Selection Sponsors, Judd* & Susan Lundt, Stefan & Christine Riesenfeld, and Anne Smith Towbes. Many thanks to 2022/23 Season Sponsors Sarah & Roger Chrisman.
About The Santa Barbara Symphony
Celebrating its 70th Anniversary, 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. As the only music education program tied to a symphony orchestra in the region, The Symphony serves more than 10,000 students annually throughout Santa Barbara County. While The Symphony continues to evolve, its mission to bring joy, engagement, and connection remain steadfast pillars and were evident in the organization’s ability to thrive during the pandemic including the historic announcement that board chair Janet Garufis and President & CEO Kathryn R Martin join Maestro Nir Kabaretti in making a five-year commitment to serve in their roles. For more information, visit TheSymphony.org.