Santa Barbara Symphony Presents Mozart & Tchaikovsky

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The Santa Barbara Symphony presents a youthful program that segues from the masters to the shining stars of the future with "Reif Conducts Tchaikovsky and Mozart," on February 15 and 16 at the Granada Theatre. Under the baton of guest conductor Christian Reif, this event will include a performance of Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer Michael Gilbertson's Graffiti: Concerto for Chamber Orchestra by the Symphony, as well as Mozart's Symphony No. 39, and the Overture to La Clemenza di Tito. Also on the program, rising-star cellist Thomas Mesa performs Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme. These concerts have been made possible by the generosity of Selection Sponsors Dan and Meg Burnham and Corporate Sponsor Mission Audio/Video.

Hailed as one of his generation's most promising conducting talents, Christian Reif has impressed critics with his phenomenal poise and interpretive prowess. Reif, who until recently was Resident Conductor at the San Francisco Symphony,will lead the Symphony through two of Mozart's most celebrated compositions, the overture to La Clemenza di Tito and Symphony No. 39, as well as Michael Gilbertson's Graffiti: Concerto for Chamber Orchestra.

Composed near the end of his life, Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, adapted by Caterino Mazzola from Pietro Metastasio's original of 1735, was created to celebrate the Coronation Day of Emperor Leopold II. Mozart worked feverishly to complete the composition during the last 12 days leading up to its premiere at the National Theater in Prague. It is said the overture was just barely completed the night before the opening. The timeless and captivating Symphony No. 39 is unmistakably Mozart. Completed during the summer of 1788, this piece was one of a set of three of the composer's last symphonies.

Inspired by his role model Mozart, Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme is simple, elegant, and varied with clear admiration of the Classical style. Taking a break from the dark, orchestral fantasy Francesca da Rimini, Tchaikovsky chose to escape to a Rococo style that was both winsome and elegant. The piece will be performed by Cuban-born cellist and rising star Thomas Mesa, who's playing has been hailed by critics for its "musical intensity that was commanding in every detail..." (New York Concert Review).

Rounding out this trio of innovative musical masterminds, Reif will also lead the symphony through a sure-to-be breathtaking performance of Michael Gilbertson's Graffiti: Concerto for Chamber Orchestra. The Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer and musical wunderkind, was inspired to write this composition after observing the creative drive of San Francisco's street artists. Of his work, Gilbertson has said, "I've always tried to write music that is intuitive, sincere, and humane." (Musical America).

Reif Conducts: Tchaikovsky and Mozart will take place on February 15 and 16 at the landmark Granada Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online at,, or by calling the Granada Theatre Box Office at 805-899-2222.

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