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Santa Barbara Symphony to Close out Season With Spanish Guitar Great Pablo Sáinz Villegas

The Santa Barbara Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Nir Kabaretti, will conclude its 2015-16 season with a pair of exhilarating concerts featuring classical guitar virtuoso Pablo Sáinz Villegas at the historic Granada Theatre May 14 and 15, 2016.

Villegas will showcase his charismatic stage presence and formidable technique on Elmer Bernstein’s “superbly crafted and often inspired” (Gramophone) Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra.

Also including Weber’s rousing Der Freischütz Overture and Bruckner’s popular “Romantic” Symphony No. 4, the concerts will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Tickets are now available.

A film music legend who also wrote numerous classical works, the late American composer and conductor Elmer Bernstein was a resident of Hope Ranch in Santa Barbara during the 1990s.

His most popular compositions include the scores to The Magnificent SevenThe Ten CommandmentsThe Great EscapeTo Kill a MockingbirdGhostbusters and Cape Fear.

“Elmer Bernstein was a wonderful composer, and we are very proud of the relationship he had with our orchestra. He’s in effect part of our family, and I am very excited at the prospect of playing his unique and beautiful Guitar Concerto,” said Kabaretti, now in his 10th season as the Santa Barbara Symphony’s music director. 

“We are truly honored to have Pablo Sáinz Villegas with us, as he is absolutely one of the best guitar players in the world. Carl Maria von Weber’s overture is a great work that inspired many composers to continue and develop the Romantic tradition — including the young Richard Wagner. The glorious sounds of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony will bring this special season to a fitting end,” Kabaretti said.

Villegas established his international reputation by winning the gold medal at the inaugural Christopher Parkening International Guitar Competition in May 2006 and has since become one of the world’s most sought-after soloists.

A native of La Rioja, Spain, he is routinely compared to classical guitar titan Andrés Segovia. The recipient of many prestigious honors, Villegas has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, among others, and has performed numerous world premieres, including Rounds by five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams.

Known for his outreach efforts, Villegas is the founder of “The Music Without Borders Legacy,” a program that seeks to bridge communities across cultural, social and political borders for the benefit of youth. 

Named music director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 2006 and its and artistic director in 2008, Kabaretti collaborates with many of the world’s most renowned musicians, orchestras and opera houses.

He has conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, to name just a few. His extensive operatic experience includes productions at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Teatro Real in Madrid, Switzerland’s Opéra de Lausanne and Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

Winner of the 1993 Forum Junger Kunstler Conducting Competition in Vienna, Kabaretti was named the music director of the Southwest Florida Symphony in 2014. 

The pair of concerts are generously supported by Daniel and Mandy Hochman, Karin Jacobson and Hans Koellner.

Tickets start at $28 and can be purchased at or by calling 805.899.2222.

Group sales discounts of as much as 20 percent are available. Contact Gloria Regan at 805.319.1648 or [email protected] for more information.

Tim Dougherty represents the Santa Barbara Symphony.


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