The Santa Barbara Symphony’s 2019-20 season continues with Mozart & Mahler, 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, the second of nine versatile programs.

In November, the symphony brings the music of Mozart, Mahler, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Wolfe with the local debut of world-renowned Croatian soprano Lana Kos.

From Mozart’s joyous “Exsultate, Jubilate“ to Wolfe’s powerful “Fuel for Strings,” along with film by Bill Morrison, to a musical view of heaven through a child’s eyes in Mahler’s “Fourth Symphony,” it is a timely program for the season of Thanksgiving and gratitude.

Mozart & Mahler is made possible due to the following sponsors: artist sponsor Christine A. Green, and selection sponsors Sam and Alene Hedgpeth, and Dr. Robert W. Weinman.

During November Symphony Concert Week, symphony donors who contribute $5,000 or more to the Annual Fund are invited to the first Prelude Event of the 2019/20 season on Nov. 14. The event will be hosted by Symphony Board member Dan Burnham and his wife Meg.

Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served, and symphony guest artist Kos will engage in a Q&A with music and artistic director Nir Kabaretti.

“I am thrilled that Lana Kos — certainly one of the most important sopranos of the operatic world today — is joining us for this concert,” Kabaretti said. “She just sang for thousands at the Arena di Verona, regarded by many as the Mecca of the opera world.

“Having already engaged Lana for the Mahler, I thought it would be meaningful to feature her in another piece, which is why Mozart’s Exsultate was programmed.

“And last but not least, we are thrilled to excite Santa Barbara music lovers with a piece by contemporary female composer Julia Wolfe, whose ‘Fuel for Strings’ will be performed along with the film by award-winning filmmaker Bill Morrison that inspired the composition.”

Wolfe composed ‘Fuel’ in 2007 as a joint project with Morrison. The collaboration was the result of a commission from the European string orchestra Ensemble Resonanz. Wolfe took the request and the result is high-intensity music that explodes to life, taking the audience on a hot musical ride throughout its 20 minutes.

The music is a perfect correlative to Morrison’s film depicting time-lapse vistas of busy waterfronts, which will accompany the Santa Barbara Symphony’s performance of this contemporary work.

Morrison has collaborated with some of the most influential composers and performers of our time, including John Adams, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Steve Reich, and Wolfe.

“The idea for ‘Fuel’ began in conversation with filmmaker Bill Morrison,” Wolfe said. “We talked about the mystery and economy of how things run — the controversy and necessity of fuel — the global implications, the human need. The music takes its inspiration from the fiery strings of Ensemble Resonanz.

“The members of the group challenged me to write something rip-roaring and virtuosic, asking me to push them to the limit. This request merged with the sounds of transport and harbors — New York and Hamburg — large ships, creaking docks, whistling sounds, and a relentless energy.”

For more about the Prelude Event and annual giving opportunities at the symphony, contact Anaïs Pellegrini, vice president of advancement, 805-898-0107.

Single tickets for Mozart & Mahler are priced from $31 and may be purchased online at or by calling the Granada Theatre Box Office, 805-899-2222. Subscriptions, which are still available, provide savings and exclusive benefits; buy online at or call the Symphony Office, 805-898-9386.

Full lyric soprano Kos was born in 1984 in Varazdin, Croatia, and acquired her musical skills at the Music Academy of Zagreb. At age 17, she made her debut as the Queen of the Night in Mozart`s Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). Soon after, Mstislav Rostropovich awarded her the lead role of Natasha Rostova in newly produced Sergei Prokofiev`s War and Peace at the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre.

Kos’ recent engagements include Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata and Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello at Bucharest Opera, Liù in Puccini’s Turandot at Savonlinna Festival, Liù and Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème at Torre del Lago and Teatro di San Carlo, Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust at Vilnius City Opera, Verdi Requiem in Zagreb, and Violetta at Teatro Petruzzelli.

The symphony also will present musician and music scholar Saïd Ramón Araїza in Behind the Music pre-concert talks. Araїza’s musical background, insights, presentation skills and humor will take listeners on a journey of discovery about each program.

Open to all ticket-holders, the talks run about 30 minutes and are 75 minutes before each subscription concert begins at the Granada Theatre (Holiday Pops and New Year’s Eve Pops excluded).

For Saturday evening performances, the talk begins at 6:45 p.m.; for Sunday matinee performances, the talk starts at 1:45 p.m. Behind the Music is sponsored by Marilynn L. Sullivan and The Chalfant Family Trust, and Patricia Gregory for the Baker Foundation.

For more information, visit

— Jennifer Zacharias for The Santa Barbara Symphony.