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Conductor Donato Cabrera Announces Two New Online Series

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Conductor Donato Cabrera Announces Two New Online Series

Donato Cabrera, Music Director of the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic, has launched two new online projects. MusicWise - Conversations about Art and Culture with Donato Cabrera is a weekly series on Facebook Live and The Music Plays On is a daily series on Cabrera's blog, featuring commentary and analysis on his favorite performances and recordings. Both initiatives are part of the continued commitment by Cabrera, California Symphony, and Las Vegas Philharmonic to promote engagement and connection with their audiences.

Cabrera will host MusicWise on Tuesdays at 1pm PT on Facebook Live, featuring interviews with engaging artists and civic leaders who influence and shape the cultural landscape. With each guest, Cabrera will explore their background and upbringing, and how these touchstones influence their projects and initiatives, past and present. Guests will showcase and share their favorite performances and recordings, as well as responding to selected questions from the Facebook Live audience.

Upcoming guests include pianist Maria Radutu on April 14; timpanist David Herbert on April 21; composer Katherine Balch on April 28; violinist Alexi Kenney on May 5; and violist Gerhard Marschner on May 12. More information about each guest is below. Follow Cabrera on Facebook to be notified when he goes live.

Donato Cabrera has also launched a new daily series, The Music Plays On, on his blog at Highlighting Cabrera's effort on the project, Las Vegas Review-Journal writes, "Cabrera is drawing on his wide tastes and music education to write an ongoing blog as the Philharmonic is silent during the coronavirus outbreak. Titled The Music Plays On, Cabrera writes of some of his favorite selections and posts YouTube clips of the recordings or performances."

Cabrera began these daily posts on March 14, 2020, stating, "I've decided to make a commitment to my friends, the concert goers of the California Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic that every day, and until rehearsals begin again for my next concert, I'm going to share with you my favorite performances and recordings."

Selections and topics so far have included in-depth insights on individual pieces of music, like Bruckner's Seventh Symphony, Bach's Goldberg Variations, and Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 30; surveys of musicians including Kurt Weill, Carlos Kleiber, Claudio Arrau; to songs of Cabrera's youth, including the 1980s pop group Aha's smash hit Take On Me; general commentaries on topics such as Great Conductors in Rehearsal and Documentaries on Musicians; and a tribute to the songwriter John Prine, who recently passed away.

About the Upcoming MusicWise Guests

April 14 - Maria Radutu. Decca Records and classical pianist, Maria Radutu, joins Donato from Vienna, Austria. Radutu is well-known for her concept albums, breaking style boundaries and designing her programs based on thrilling emotions. She uses storytelling on stage to create a strong bonding to her audience. Radutu has been a soloist for both the Las Vegas Philharmonic and California Symphony. Topics for the show include her background, past projects and recordings, as well as her entrepreneurial approach and success that is particularly poignant and appropriate for the new reality in which artists are now findings themselves.

April 21 - David Herbert is currently principal timpani of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a post he has held since July 2013 after being appointed by Music Director Riccardo Muti. Prior to joining the CSO, he served as principal timpanist of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS), where Donato worked with him for many years, and the New World Symphony. He is widely considered a leader of cutting-edge solo timpani repertoire, accomplishing many commissions and world premiere performances every year. Herbert has been featured as a guest artist at many of North America's premier ensembles including the Pittsburgh Symphony and St. Louis Symphony; with the latter orchestra he made his professional solo debut after winning its young artist competition in 1991. Since then, he has appeared as timpani concerto soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, and the New World Symphony, with which he made his Lincoln Center debut with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting.

April 28 - Katherine Balch writes music that aims to capture the intimacy of existence through sound. Often influenced by extra-musical arts, sciences, and literature, she seeks a heterogenous yet formally cohesive aesthetic driven by attention to detail, textural lyricism, and playful sonic investigations. Balch's work has been commissioned and performed by the Tokyo, Minnesota, Oregon, Indianapolis, and Albany Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Ensemble Intercontemporain, the London Sinfonietta, the JACK, Argus, and Aizuri Quartets, International Contemporary Ensemble, wild Up, Contemporaneous, and Concert Artists Guild, among others, in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall, Wiener Konzerthaus (Vienna), and Suntory Hall (Tokyo). Upcoming 2020-2021 season highlights include a new work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Green Umbrella Series as part of their Carnegie Hall tour, and a song cycle commissioned by the Brooklyn Arts Song Society responding to Schumann's Dichterliebe. She has just completed her three-year residency as the Young American Composer in Residence for the California Symphony and has worked closely with Donato on all three of her commissions for the orchestra.

May 5 - Alexi Kenney is the recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant and a 2020 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award,and has been named "a talent to watch" by The New York Times, which also noted his "architect's eye for structure and space and a tone that ranges from the achingly fragile to full-bodied robustness." Kenney has performed as soloist with the Detroit, Indianapolis, Columbus, Jacksonville, Santa Fe, Portland, California, and Amarillo symphonies, and in recital on Carnegie Hall's 'Distinctive Debuts' series, Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, at the Dame Myra Hess Concerts in Chicago, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Jordan Hall in Boston. He is winner of the 2013 Concert Artists Guild Competition and laureate of the 2012 Menuhin Competition. Alexi has been profiled by Strings magazine and The New York Times, written for The Strad, and has been featured on Performance Today, WQXR-NY's Young Artists Showcase, WFMT-Chicago, and NPR's From the Top. Kenney has been a soloist with Cabrera for both the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic and was a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra when Cabrera was its music director.

May 12 - Gerhard Marschner won the audition for a tutti position with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra at the age of 19. Three years later in 2007 Marschner became a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and in the same year he advanced to section leader of the violas. In December 2016, he won the audition for the position of principal violist, which he took up in September 2017. In addition to his orchestral duties, Gerhard Marschner is a highly sought-after soloist and chamber musician. He has toured in Japan, China, Korea, the US and numerous European countries. Among his chamber music partners are Rudolf Buchbinder, Stefan Vladar, Magda Amara, Andrey Baranov, Harriet Krijgh, Midori, Rainer Honeck and many other internationally acclaimed musicians. Donato met Gerhard in 2002 when Cabrera was awarded a conducting fellowship from the American Austrian Foundation for the 2002 Salzburg Festival."

About Donato Cabrera

Donato Cabrera is the Music Director of the California Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and served as the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2009-2016.

Since Cabrera's appointment as Music Director in 2013 of the California Symphony, the organization has redefined what it means to be an orchestra in the 21st Century. Under Cabrera's baton, the California Symphony has reached new artistic heights by implementing innovative programming that emphasizes welcoming newcomers and loyalists alike, building on its reputation for championing music by living composers, and committing to programming music by women and people of color. Cabrera has greatly changed the Las Vegas Philharmonic's concert experience by expanding the scope and breadth of its orchestral concerts, hosting engaging and lively pre-concert conversations with guest artists and composers, and by creating the Spotlight Concert series that features the musicians of the Las Vegas Philharmonic in intimate chamber music performances.

Deeply committed to diversity and education through the arts, Cabrera evaluates the scope, breadth, and content of the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic's music education programs. California Symphony's Sound Minds program has achieved national attention for its El Sistema-inspired approach and has a proven track record in impacting the lives and improving the test scores of hundreds of K-6 children in San Pablo's Downer Elementary School. Annually reaching over 20,000 Title I fourth graders of the Clark County School District, Cabrera has completely reshaped Las Vegas Philharmonic's Youth Concert Series to be a curriculum-based concert experience, while also integrating a hands-on, complimentary experience with the Discovery Museum, Las Vegas.

In recent seasons, Cabrera has made impressive debuts with the National Symphony's KC Jukebox at the Kennedy Center, Louisville Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, Philharmonic Orchestra of the Staatstheater Cottbus, Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río, Orquesta Sinfónica Concepción, Nevada Ballet Theatre, New West Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, and the Reno Philharmonic. In 2016, he led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in performances with Grammy Award-winning singer Lila Downs. Cabrera made his Carnegie Hall debut leading the world premiere of Mark Grey's Ătash Sorushan with soprano, Jessica Rivera.

As Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, Cabrera worked closely with its Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and frequently conducted the orchestra in a variety of concerts, including all of the education and family concerts, reaching over 70,000 children throughout the Bay Area every year. During his seven seasons as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Cabrera took the group on two European tours, winning an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of American Music on Foreign Tours, and receiving critical acclaim for a live recording from the Berlin Philharmonie of Mahler's Symphony No. 1.

Cabrera is equally at home in the world of opera. He was the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Opera from 2005-2008, and has also been an assistant conductor for productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Ravinia Festival, Festival di Spoleto, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West. Since 2008, Cabrera has frequently conducted productions in Concepción, Chile.

Awards and fellowships include a Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship at the Salzburg Festival and conducting the Nashville Symphony in the League of American Orchestra's prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview. Donato Cabrera was recognized by the Consulate-General of Mexico in San Francisco as a Luminary of the Friends of Mexico Honorary Committee, for his contributions to promoting and developing the presence of the Mexican community in the Bay Area. For more information, visit

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