The Santa Barbara Symphony, under the baton of Maestro Nir Kabaretti, will present the world premiere of Machpelah, the newest work by brilliant young Italian composer Cristian Carrara, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, at The Granada Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara.

Featuring guest artists Francesca Dego (violin) and Robert deMaine (principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic), the performance will take place at 8 p.m., followed by an encore concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17. Tickets are now available.

The program also will include Handel’s timeless Water Music, Bartók’s virtuosic showpiece Concerto for Orchestra, and “Canzon septimi toni No. 2,” a stirring brass fanfare from Giovanni Gabrieli’s early Baroque gem Sacrae symphoniae

“The recurrent theme throughout this rich program is dialog, musical and otherwise,” said Maestro Kabaretti, now in his 10th season as the Santa Barbara Symphony’s music and artistic director.

“We have the privilege of premiering a work by one of Italy’s leading composers that is in essence a dialog between cultures through two soloists,” he said. “At their core, the other compositions on offer are similarly about interplay and reciprocity, concepts that are especially relevant in today’s world. These are concerts not to be missed!”

Carrara describes his composition — whose complete title is Machpelah: Dialogue for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra — as a musical conversation about the enduring nature of love. 
“Machpelah is the Hebrew name for the Cave of the Patriarchs, the place in the heart of the old city of Hebron in Israel’s West Bank where there are the double tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah, considered to be the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people,” explained Carrara, a resident of Rome who will be on hand for both concerts in January.

“Inspired by this place, my double concerto is a hymn about love between men and women. In this work, the solo violin and cello in effect discuss love,” he said. “I wanted to celebrate the eternity of love, but also highlight the possibility of peace, of dialogue, between cultures and religions, especially in this time of conflict. Love can defeat fear.”

Born in Pordenone, Italy, in 1977, Carrara is among his nation’s most gifted and accomplished young composers. His works, which have been performed throughout much of Europe and include compositions for musical theatre and television as well as symphonic and chamber music, often contain spiritual or religious elements.

According to musicologist Renzo Cresti, Carrara’s works “are misleadingly simple… achieving a brilliantly handled stream of sound that embraces elegy and spiritual evocation.”

Critic Elena Formica has lauded his poetic sensibility and distinctly subtle musical vocabulary. 

The winner of numerous national and international competitions, Italian violinist Francesca Dego was lavished with plaudits upon the release of her Deutsche Grammophon debut, featuring Paganini’s “24 Caprices.”

Hailed by The New York Times as “an artist who makes one hang on every note,” Robert deMaine has performed to critical acclaim as a soloist, recitalist, recording artist and chamber and orchestral musician.

In addition to serving as principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he performs with the celebrated Ehnes String Quartet and the newly formed Dicterow-deMaine-Biegel Piano Trio.

Named music and artistic director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 2006, Kabaretti has established an outstanding international career as a dynamic and innovative conductor with vast experience in both the symphonic and operatic repertoire.

He continues to collaborate with many of the world’s most renowned musicians, orchestras and opera houses.

Maestro Kabaretti has conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica 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 Künstler Conducting Competition in Vienna, he was named the music director of the Southwest Florida Symphony in 2014. 

The Santa Barbara Symphony’s 2015-16 season will continue with a program of Rachmaninoff featuring guest artists James Judd (conductor) and Ian Parker (piano) Feb. 13-14, 2016; Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto featuring guest soloist Timothy Chooi ​April 9-10, 2016; and guest artist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas performing Elmer Bernstein’s Guitar Concerto in the season’s final concerts on May 14-15, 2016.

All performances will take place at The Granada Theatre, located at 1214 State Street in Santa Barbara.

Complete season information is available at

The concerts Jan. 16-17 are generously supported by Robert Weber and Richard Wille and Catherine Clark.

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

— Tim Dougherty represents the Santa Barbara Symphony.