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Local Choruses to Unite with S.B. Symphony for Monumental Performances of Beethoven's Ninth

The Santa Barbara Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Nir Kabaretti, will assemble singers from throughout the region for grandly thrilling performances of Beethoven's jubilant and inspiring Symphony No. 9 at the Granada Theatre on October 15 and 16. Also featuring Rapture, a shimmering orchestral work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Christopher Rouse, the season-opening concerts will take place at 8 pm on Saturday, October 15, and at 3 pm on Sunday, October 16. Tickets are now available.

The performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with its rapturous choral setting of Friedrich Schiller's "Ode to Joy," will feature singers from the Santa Barbara Choral Society, Westmont College, UCSB, Quire of Voyces, and San Marcos High School, as well as soloists Jeanine De Bique (soprano), Nina Yoshida Nelson (mezzo), Benjamin Brecher (tenor), and DeAndre Simmons (bass).

"These concerts will be true community events. We are thrilled to be joined by five choruses that reflect the area's vibrant vocal scene, including singers of all ages, and four wonderful soloists who have strong connections to our town. We see it as our mission to serve as the catalyst for collaborations of this sort," said Maestro Kabaretti, entering his 11th season as the Santa Barbara Symphony's music director. "Paired with the Beethoven will be the energetic Rapture, written by one of America's most sought-after composers, Christopher Rouse."

"Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is a tribute to the enduring spirit of humanity and will be performed by more than 150 singers and 80 orchestra members, with soloists from across the country returning to their Santa Barbara roots, for a spectacular start to the season," said Kathryn R. Martin, interim executive director of the Santa Barbara Symphony.

Described by The Washington Post as an artist of "dramatic presence and versatility," Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique has garnered accolades for her luscious tone and compelling stage presence. She will perform as Micaela in Opera Santa Barbara's season-opening production of Carmen at the Granada Theatre on November 4 and 6. Hailed as "appealingly direct and honest in tone and bearing" by The Boston Globe, mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen recently made her New York City Opera debut as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, a role she previously sang with Opera Santa Barbara. She made her Santa Barbara Symphony debut as a soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass five seasons ago, and took top honors in the 2004 Santa Barbara Foundation Vocal Competition. Acclaimed tenor Benjamin Brecher is well known to local audiences. An associate professor of music at UC Santa Barbara, he appeared in Opera Santa Barbara's well-received production of Don Giovanni last year, and will next perform with the company in The Cunning Little Vixen in March. Music Academy of the West alumnus DeAndre Simmons has been lauded for his "elegant" voice (The New York Times). In 2009 he performed Copland's Lincoln Portrait with the Academy Festival Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin at the Granada.

The Santa Barbara Symphony's 2016-17 season will continue November 19 and 20 with a program of Mozart and Tchaikovsky piano concertos featuring soloists Natasha Kislenko and visiting artist Markus Groh. Following a family concert performance of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with storyteller Michal Katz on November 26, guest conductor Bob Bernhardt will lead the ensemble's popular New Year's Pops Concert, which will include an appearance by the spellbinding aerial performance troupe Cirque de la Symphonie. Guest conductor David Lockington will lead performances of Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, as well as orchestral accompaniment for screened scenes from Walt Disney's beloved Fantasia films on January 28 and 29. The Symphony will next present the West Coast premiere of American composer Jonathan Leshnoff's Clarinet Concerto along with Copland's iconic Symphony No. 3 on February 11 and 12. Additional highlights include a pairing of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, with guest violinist Philippe Quint (March 18 and 19); Sibelius' Symphony No. 5 and Grieg's Piano Concerto, featuring guest soloist Lilya Zilberstein (April 15 and 16); and a celebration of Paris, including Mozart's Symphony No. 31, Saint-Saëns' Cello Concerto (with guest artist Zuill Bailey), Liszt's Les préludes, and Gershwin's An American in Paris(May 13 and 14).

The Granada Theatre is located at 1214 State Street in Santa Barbara. Complete season program information is available online at

The Santa Barbara Symphony is led by the ever-compelling Nir Kabaretti, who was named the orchestra's music director in 2006 and its artistic director in 2008. Maestro Kabaretti has conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, to name just a few. His extensive operatic experience includes productions at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Teatro Real in Madrid, Switzerland's Opéra de Lausanne, and Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Winner of the 1993 Forum Junger Kunstler Conducting Competition in Vienna, he was named the music director of the Southwest Florida Symphony in 2014.

The concerts on October 15 and 16 are generously supported by Montecito Bank & Trust, Richard and Marilyn Mazess, Barbara Burger and Paul Munch, Brooks and Kate Firestone, Mikki Andina, Chris and David Chernof, Stephen Erickson, and Brett Moore.

Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased at or by calling 805-899-2222. Group sales discounts of as much as 20 percent are available. Patrons ages 20-29 can purchase $20 tickets; students with valid ID can purchase $10 tickets. Seating in both cases is confined to selected sections of the Granada Theatre. Series packages start at $62. To place a subscription order, go to or call 805-898-9386.

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 director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 2006. For additional information, visit

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