The Santa Barbara Symphony to Play Rachmaninoff Program This February

The Santa Barbara Symphony, under the baton of guest conductor James Judd, will perform a pair of beloved masterworks by the famed Russian composer and virtuoso pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff at the historic Granada Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara on February 13 and 14. Also featuring captivating Canadian pianist Ian Parker as a guest soloist, the program will include Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and Symphonic Dances, considered by many to be the summary of his musical genius.

Performances will take place at 8 pm on Saturday, February 13, and at 3 pm on Sunday, February 14. Tickets are now available.

"A feast of the glorious and uniquely romantic music of Rachmaninoff is particularly appropriate for our celebration of Valentine's Day," said Mr. Judd. "I am excited about my debut with the Santa Barbara Symphony, and of course making music with Ian Parker."

Rachmaninoff's compositions, invariably marked by unabashed lyricism and distinctly lush melodies, have long been associated with expressions of romantic love. The works on offer February 13 and 14 especially lend themselves to observances of Valentine's Day, according Santa Barbara Symphony Executive Director David Pratt. Composed in 1934, Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini features dramatic piano pyrotechnics, while Symphonic Dances, completed six years later, is a soaring tour de force for orchestra.

British born conductor James Judd has amassed an extensive collection of recordings on the Naxos label, including an unprecedented number in partnership with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, where he is Music Director Emeritus. His previous directorships include Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille in France and a groundbreaking 14 years as music director of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. During his eight years as music director in New Zealand, Mr. Judd garnered plaudits for his recordings with the orchestra, including works by Copland, Bernstein, Vaughan Williams, and Gershwin. His Florida Philharmonic recordings include an all-Walton program and Mahler's Symphony No. 1, which were released on the Harmonia Mundi label to international acclaim. Mr. Judd has conducted the Berlin and Israel philharmonics, and has made guest appearances with prestigious ensembles throughout Europe. In the Far East he works regularly with Tokyo's NHK Orchestra and the Seoul Philharmonic. His opera work includes productions with the English National Opera and the Glyndebourne Opera Festival. Mr. Judd is the co-founder of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, which he has led on tours throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. He has also appeared as a guest conductor with the orchestras of St. Louis, Montreal, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Seattle, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo, among others.

Hailed by The Washington Post as "a technically assured and enthusiastic young pianist," Ian Parker has appeared with orchestras and as a recitalist throughout much of the world. Recent appearances include the Eugene Symphony, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais/Brazil, in addition to performances at both the Britt and Brott music festivals. The winner of top honors at the 2001 CBC National Radio Competition, Mr. Parker also has won grand prizes at the Canadian National Music Festival, the Corpus Christie International Competition, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition. Having made his Lincoln Center recital debut at the Walter Reade Theater in 2004, Mr. Parker tours regularly with the internationally renowned Vogler Quartet and is an active recording artist. His CD of concerti (Ravel Concerto in G, Stravinsky Capriccio, and Gershwin Concerto in F) with the London Symphony under Michael Francis was released by ATMA Classique in 2010. An all-fantasy solo CD on Azica Records featuring works by Chopin, Schumann, and Beethoven was released the same year.

The Santa Barbara Symphony's 2015-16 season will continue with Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto featuring guest soloist Timothy Chooi on April 9 and 10, and guest artist Pablo Sáinz Villegas performing Elmer Bernstein's Guitar Concerto in the season's final concerts on May 14 and 15. Performances will take place at the Granada Theatre, located at 1214 State Street in Santa Barbara. Complete season information is available at

Tickets start at $28 and can be purchased at or by calling 805-899-2222. Group sales discounts of as much as 20 percent are available. Contact Gloria Regan at 805-319-1648 or

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 some 5,000 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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