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Cabrillo Festival Of Contemporary Music Announces Its 59th Season

Featuring site-specific dance, environmental photography, animation and videography.

The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, America's longest-running festival of new orchestral music, premieres its second-ever virtual season, July 31 - August 8, 2021. Led by Grammy Award-winning Music Director and Conductor Cristian Măcelaru, the Festival's season offers themes of resiliency, hope and realism, in response to the profound crises of climate change, wildfires, and the persistence of human oppression.

Featuring site-specific dance, environmental photography, animation and videography woven through new and recent compositions for full orchestra and chamber ensemble, the Festival's 2021 season deepens its exploration of the virtual concert experience. This year's composers are Danny Clay, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jake Heggie, Sean Shepherd, and emerging composers Theo Chandler, Eli Gilbert, Meng Wang, and Jeremy Rapaport-Stein. The award-winning Cabrillo Festival Orchestra will be featured in three new works recorded remotely and a 2018 ensemble recording. This season's guest artists include mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, violinist Benjamin Beilman, St. Lawrence String Quartet, choreographer/dancer Molly Katzman, National Geographic photographer Camille Seaman, and animation artist/designer David Murakami. Virtual programs will be realized by director Elena Park, producer Svet Stoyanov, cinematographer Frazer Bradshaw, Swan Dive Media, and others.

"We have designed a season that is relevant to this moment in time," said Măcelaru. "It is topical and explores exciting new partnerships-with artists of many mediums, and national and regional music and civic organizations. This reflects our desire to collaborate, support one another, and build strength by sharing resources and imagination."

Providing audiences access to artists and their creative process continues to be central to the Festival experience. Beginning on March 6, the Festival launches a pre-season series of "Composers in Conversation." The first Saturday of each month, March through July, Maestro Măcelaru will host live online conversations between small groups of composers, with space for audience questions. Featured composers include Clarice Assad, Jennifer Higdon, Wynton Marsalis, Kevin Puts, Iván Enrique Rodríguez, Huang Ruo, and others.

Cabrillo Festival's 2021 virtual season concerts and events will be held over two weekends, July 31 - Aug 1, and Aug 7 - 8, with details outlined below. Each day will feature an educational or special program at 11am PDT. Each concert will premiere at 7pm PDT, and be followed by a live Post-Concert Artist Q&A, hosted by Măcelaru. All programming is free and accessible to the public.

Following each premiere, concerts and events will remain accessible via on-demand streaming on the Cabrillo Festival's website ( and YouTube channel (

Paid subscription packages offer access to additional program content and are encouraged in support of the Festival. Donations are welcomed at any time. The public is invited to join the Cabrillo Festival mailing list ( for advance notification and special announcements.

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