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Santa Barbara Symphony Presents Italian Conductor Corrado Rovaris in Dynamic February Concert

Seniors receive ticket discounts to performances on Feb. 19 and 20 at The Granada

At 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, the Santa Barbara Symphony will present the Italian conductor, Maestro Corrado Rovaris, as he leads the orchestra for Mendelssohn’s majestic last “Reformation” symphony and Shostakovich’s fiery “Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings” featuring the Santa Barbara Symphony’s own principal pianist Natasha Kislenko and trumpeter Jon Lewis. The concert will begin with the “Concerto for String Orchestra” by Academy Award-winning composer Nino Rota. Last season, Rovaris made his first recording for Sony with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, featuring the cello concerti of Nino Rota.

Corrado Rovaris
Corrado Rovaris

“Our February concert features a mix of familiar pieces that will captivate with the rhythm and spirit for which our special guest conductor, Corrado Rovaris, is so well known,” said Nir Kabaretti, the Santa Barbara Symphony’s music and artistic director. “I’m especially happy to welcome two stars from our own orchestra, Natasha Kislenko and Jon Lewis, both of whom have extensive solo performance experience and have performed within a wide variety of milieus, including television and film!”

Seniors receive discounts in nearly every section of the hall on Sunday matinees and in select seating on Saturday’s concert, starting at $23. For more information, call The Granada box office at 805.899.2222.

Corrado Rovaris

In the 2010-11 season, Corrado Rovaris enters his seventh season as music director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Concurrently he serves as principal conductor of the Italian Chamber Orchestra I Virtuosi Italiani, based in Verona, and maintains a guest conducting schedule in both the United States and Europe. This season, in Italy, at the famed Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Rovaris will lead the rare Pergolesi opera “L’Olimpiade” and a new production of Mozart’s “Entführung aus dem Serail in Treviso.”

A regular guest in several of Italy’s historic opera houses, Rovaris’ experience includes multiple productions at Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florence), Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Teatro Comunale di Bologna and Rossini Opera Festival (Pesaro), where in the summer of 2010 he led the festival’s premiere of an early Rossini opera, “Demetrio e Polibio.” Elsewhere in Europe he has led productions for Opéra de Lausanne, Opéra National de Lyon, Oper Köln and Oper Frankfurt, to name a few places.

In the United States, in addition to his work with the Philadelphia Opera, he has conducted several productions at the Santa Fe Opera (Simon Boccanegra 2004, La Bohème 2007, L’elisir d’amore 2009), the Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Una cosa rara 2008), and Glimmerglass Opera (Das Liebesverbot 2008). Symphonically, Rovaris has led ensembles such as La Scala Filarmonica, Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome), Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestra du Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (Brussels) and the Danish Radio Sinfonietta.

Born in Bergamo, Italy, Rovaris studied organ and composition at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Milan, after which he served as assistant chorus master at the Teatro alla Scala (Milan) from 1992 until 1996. He fell into conducting almost by chance when, in 1996, he was thrust into that role to substitute an ailing conductor, and led a performance in Milan of Il filosofo di campagna by the Venetian composer Baldassare Galuppi. This production, by a noted Italian touring company AsLiCo, subsequently toured many of the opera houses throughout Italy, and the engagement led to an invitation to conduct at the Teatro Comunale in Florence. Following this success, Rovaris was invited to conduct Il Signor Bruschino at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in 1997, and again in 1998 for the festival’s opening production of Otello.

From this accidental beginning, Rovaris soon began appearing in many of the major Italian houses such as the Teatro alla Scala, Teatro La Fenice, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and internationally for the Opera de Lyon, Théâtre Municipal de Lausanne and Japan Opera Foundation.

Rovaris made his U.S. debut in 1999 with the Opera Company of Philadelphia in Le nozze di Figaro and quickly became a company regular, conducting L’Italiana in Algeri the following year, then Don Giovanni and La Traviata, which eventually lead to his appointment as the company’s music director in 2004.

Natasha Kislenko
Natasha Kislenko

Natasha Kislenko

Born in Moscow, Natasha Kislenko began piano studies at age 6, gave her first solo recital at 14 and appeared with several symphony orchestras while still in the Special Music School for Gifted Children of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Her graduate performance degree is from the famed Moscow Conservatory (1994), where she majored in Piano Performance, Accompanying, and Teaching. Averaging 40 solo recitals a year, she toured Russia, the other republics of the former Soviet Union, and Germany. International awards include a Third (1992) and a Second (1995) prize at the J.S. Bach Competition in Saarbrücken, Germany, and various prizes in piano competitions in France, Slovak Republic, Italy and Portugal. Summer studies at the famed Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, brought its highest award: the Diploma di Honore.

Kislenko moved to the United States in 1995 to study with renowned Spanish pianist Joaquín Achúcarro, earning her second master’s degree at the Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas. For her doctorate in Piano Performance, she studied with the distinguished American pianist Gilbert Kalish at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, graduating in 2004.

Kislenko made her Carnegie Hall solo recital debut in 1996 at Weill Recital Hall, after taking Grand Prix in the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition in Joplin, Mo. Winning the Texas Steinway Society Career Development Award resulted in several Dallas area recitals. Subsequent international recitals included an all-Bach program at the J.S. Bach-Tage Festival in Germany. Kislenko’s interest in musical collaboration led to summers with the Sarasota (Fla.) Music Festival and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where she was a fellowship student of Anne Epperson.

Kislenko has had unique and broad experience in the field of music. She has collaborated with many famed artists, including Sarah Chang, Zvi Zeitlin, James Buswell, Theodore Kuchar and Gary Gray.

In 2007, Kislenko moved to Santa Barbara to assume a teaching position at UCSB. Previously, she served on the faculties of Fresno State University and Meadowmount School of Music (New York). Kislenko has been a member of The Music Academy of the West faculty since 2004.

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis began playing trumpet when he was 9 years old. In high school, he studied with Pat Mastroleo, the 1st chair trumpet in the U.S. Army Band in Washington, D.C. Lewis attended the University of Kansas, where he studied with Roger Stoner and graduated with a trumpet performance degree in 1981. Upon moving to Los Angeles, Lewis studied for several years with legendary performer and master teacher Jimmy Stamp. Other teachers have included Tom Stevens, Tony Plog, Armando Ghitalla and Bob Findley.

The concert sponsor for the Santa Barbara Symphony’s February concert is The Mosher Foundation. Artist sponsors are JoAnne Ando and William Watson.

All Santa Barbara Symphony concerts begin at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. For the rest of the season, patrons are encouraged to design their own subscriptions. Click here to order tickets online, or call the symphony office at 805.898.9386. Or click here to purchase individual tickets from The Granada box office at 805.899.2222. All symphony concerts are held in The Granada, 1214 State St.

Click here for more information on the Santa Barbara Symphony, or call 805.898.9386. Become a fan of the Santa Barbara Symphony on Facebook.

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