Santa Barbara Symphony to Welcome Cirque de la Symphonie for New Year's Eve Pops Concert

The Santa Barbara Symphony, under the baton of guest conductor Bob Bernhardt, will usher in the year 2017 with a rousing New Year's Eve pops concert at the historic Granada Theatre.

Featuring an appearance by the spellbinding aerial performance troupe Cirque de la Symphonie, and a program of popular classics mixed with Broadway and film favorites, the performance will begin at 8:30 pm. Tickets are now available.

Musical selections will include themes from Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek, and Mission Impossible, as well as beloved works by Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Sousa, Mozart, and Debussy. Santa Barbara Symphony Principal Michelle Temple will be the featured soloist for the first movement of Handel's Harp Concerto in B-flat.

"There is no better place to start your New Year's Eve celebration than with the Symphony," said Santa Barbara Symphony Executive Director Kevin A. Marvin. "The remarkably talented performers of Cirque de la Symphonie will significantly add to the festive evening."

Maestro Bernhardt was named principal pops conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony in 2015 and this season is celebrating his 20th year as principal pops conductor of the Louisville Orchestra. He also serves as principal pops conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, where he was music director for 19 seasons. Maestro Bernhardt previously served as principal conductor and artistic director of the Rochester Philharmonic; music director and conductor of the Tucson Symphony; principal guest conductor of Kentucky Opera; music director and conductor of the Amarillo Symphony; and artistic director of the Lake Placid Sinfonietta. This season marks his 24th as a frequent guest of the Boston Pops, which he first conducted at the invitation of John Williams. He has also been a regular guest conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Maestro Bernhardt has conducted the Santa Barbara Symphony on numerous occasions.

Featuring renowned aerial flyers, acrobats, and contortionists, Cirque de la Symphonie is the only cirque company in the world that performs exclusively with symphony orchestras. Performances are choreographed to specific compositions, adding a stunning visual element to the concert experience. The troupe's unique brand of spectacle has been hailed as "visually riveting" (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette), "dazzling" (Press-Register), and "a hybrid of circus and fine art" (The Cincinnati Enquirer).

The Santa Barbara Symphony's 2016-17 season will continue January 28 and 29 with guest conductor David Lockington leading orchestral accompaniment for screened scenes from Walt Disney's Fantasia films, as well as performances of Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber. 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 Tickets start at $39 and can be purchased at or by calling 805-899-2222.

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 more than 8,000 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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