Gerald Carpenter: the festival orchestra rises again | Culture & Leisure

During the first week and a half of the Academy of Music’s 75th Anniversary Summer Festival, the focus was almost exclusively on the Fellows as individual solo artists, performing in masterclasses and in the music competition. solo piano.

Now, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, at the Santa Barbara Bowl, we will witness the near-miraculous annual revival of this stellar ensemble, the Festival Orchestra (such a bland name for such an exciting group), performing the community concert of the 75th anniversary.

The conductor will be Donato Cabrera, whose experience as Music Director of the San Francisco Youth Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2016 is very relevant here. Currently, he is Music Director of the California Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and has a budding international career.

The program for this concert is made up of three works: “Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Opus 67 (1807)” by Ludwig Beethoven, “Danzón No. 2, for orchestra (1994)” by Arturo Marquez and the Suite of the great work of Sergei Prokofiev. ballet, “Romeo and Juliet, Opus 64 (1935-1936).”

I dare say that there is no one likely to attend this concert who has not heard “Beethoven’s Fifth” – besides, there is probably no one within earshot of the electric media who hasn’t heard at least the first four notes. It is the only work by Beethoven that risks becoming a cliché.

Yet, for that reason, it’s certainly valid entry into any Academy of Music program, because sooner or later these kids are going to get jobs in an orchestra that has decided it’s time to go. schedule a performance. Familiarity is unlikely to lead to outright contempt: it’s too much work.

Indeed, while preparing to write this, I listened to the five recordings I own (Pierre Monteux, Arturo Toscanini, Otto Klemperer, Kurt Graunke, George Szell), and had a wonderful time. Admittedly, I felt a slight pang of terror before I started, but my fears invariably proved unfounded. I’m sure it’s great to play.

The Mexican composer Arturo Marquez, born in 1950, maintains more or less the same relationship with the folk and popular music of his country as Aaron Copland maintains with ours. Without the slightest pejorative intention, I will say that he composed “Mexicana” in the same way as Copland composed “Americana”.

“Danzón No. 2” is a magnificent work, but only the first part of it would suit the stately, minuet-like dance that gives it its name. It was choreographed like a ballet, and I bet it’s stunning. I don’t know if, like Copland, Marquez spent his youth writing sharp, unlovable avant-garde music, but if so, he’s come to his senses in spectacular style.

I adore Prokofiev’s ballets (I only admire those of Stravinsky). “Romeo and Juliet,” in particular, seems to capture the real feelings of Shakespeare’s young lovers in a way that no performance of the play I’ve seen has managed to. In dance theater or concert hall, every opportunity to see or hear it must be seized with both hands.

Tickets for this community concert are $10, with children ages 7-17 admitted free with a ticketed adult. Tickets will be sold directly through the Santa Barbara Bowl, whose website is at

– Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk Contributing Writer. He can be reached at [email protected] The opinions expressed are his own.


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