The Santa Barbara Music Club continues its exhilarating practice of giving great music away with a free concert it calls a “Violin-Piano Extravaganza” at 3 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, 21 E.Constance Ave.

Emma Lou Diemer

Emma Lou Diemer

There will be but a single composer represented on the program, and she not only is still alive but lives in town. I refer, of course, to the incomparable Emma Lou Diemer. (I would call her “the dean of Santa Barbara composers” if I didn’t know all too well that, among true creators, there is no hierarchy — not even a nominal one.)

The concert will display Diemer’s finesse on the keyboard, too, as she teams up with Philip Ficsor, violinist and Westmont College professor, for a program that celebrates the release of the CD Summer Day: The Complete Violin Works of Emma Lou Diemer, including Aria and Scherzo, “Suite (Summer Day, Elegy, Jazz Romp),” “Before Spring,” “Homage to Paderewski,” “Catch-A-Turian Toccata” and hymn arrangements written for the CD.

For many years, Diemer was a professor of composition at UCSB, and has now achieved emeritus status — which means, basically, that she has retired but can still teach if she wants.

Her music is strong-willed and instantly recognizable as music, though if you’re going to attend the concert, it’s advisable to bear in mind Virgil Thomson’s caution that “new music is never as ‘pretty’ as dead music.” I venture to predict, however, that you’ll hear a great deal of music that you’ll want to hear again. My addendum to Thomson’s statement is that the more you hear a work, the “prettier” it gets.

Anyone who would like to do their bit to ensure the survival of classical music should consider joining the Santa Barbara Music Club. Click here for more information or call 805.683.0811.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at