Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Concerto Competition is now open for auditions

Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Concerto Competition is now open for auditions
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The Santa Barbara Symphony is pleased to announce the annual Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, a longstanding tradition of providing Santa Barbara County’s finest young musicians the opportunity to be featured as a soloist with the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. For the first time, this event will be virtual, and this year’s competition, normally only open to members of the Symphony’s programs, is now open to any student up to age 18 residing in Santa Barbara County that studies an instrument other than a traditional orchestral instrument. 

“During these uncertain times, our music programs are more vital than ever, given their ability to support the social and emotional well-being of students, and their ability to foster community,” shared Kristine Pacheco-Bernt, Director of Education for the Santa Barbara Symphony. “While this year’s Concerto Competition will look a little different, we’re so excited to be able to continue this prestigious opportunity for our students and showcase their talent.” 

The Concerto Competition is open to students currently enrolled in the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony’s 2020-2021 season and any student up to age 18 residing in Santa Barbara county that studies an instrument outside of the typical orchestral realm. For example, students that study piano, classical guitar, or Baroque instruments are invited to compete. To participate, students are asked to submit a pre-recorded audition video. Symphony Music & Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti will chair the jury alongside Dr. Yvette Devereaux, Conductor of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, and musicians from the Symphony. Winners of the competition will be invited to perform their piece with the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony in an upcoming concert. Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, the details of the concert have yet to be finalized.  

“While we serve the entire community with different programs, we take special pride in following and advancing our young musicians who show extraordinary talent,” shared Kabaretti. “Auditions and competition are an essential skill for performing musicians on all levels, and we’re happy these students get this opportunity, especially during the early stages of their musical path. I am personally very excited to hear from the Youth Symphony students, who normally I only get to hear as part of the ensembles.”

Students interested in applying must complete an online application available on the Symphony’s website here. The deadline for submitting application forms is February 7, and the deadline for submitting performance videos (with digitized score) is March 14, 2021, by 11:59 pm. Late applications will not be considered. An application fee of $40 applies for students not in the Youth Symphony. Please write a check to “The Santa Barbara Symphony” and mail to 1330 State Street, Ste. 102, Santa Barbara CA 93101, attention: SBYS Concerto Competition.

The Symphony continues to lead the way during the pandemic, delivering on its mission to inspire a passion for symphonic music in the next generation and make music accessible to everyone in the community. In response to the pandemic, all programming for the symphony’s Music Education Center (MEC) has adapted to an online environment and, despite being virtual, there is more momentum than ever.  Through partnerships with school districts, community organizations, and support from generous donors and funders, the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Center is able to continue all of its music education programs this year.

About the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Center
Each year, the Santa Barbara Symphony provides children in Santa Barbara County with high quality, equal-access music education through its Music Education Center: a continuum of connected programs designed to support and engage students every step along their musical journey; fostering collaboration, confidence and community empowering students to be at their best through music.
About the Santa Barbara Symphony
The Santa Barbara Symphony was founded in 1953 on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra. Consistently lauded for its unique ability to present brilliant concerts, engage the community, and deliver dynamic music education programs, the organization prizes both innovation and artistic excellence and is widely recognized as one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Its award-winning Music Education Center serves more than 10,000 students throughout Santa Barbara County each year. Charismatic Israeli conductor Nir Kabaretti was appointed Music and Artistic Director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 2006. For additional information, visit
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