Staff Report

The Santa Barbara Symphony’s annual Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Concerto Competition — a longstanding tradition of providing Santa Barbara County’s finest young musicians the opportunity to be featured as a soloist with the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony — is now open.

For the first time, this event will be virtual, and this year’s competition, normally only open to members of the symphony’s programs, is now open to any student up to age 18 living in Santa Barbara County who studies an instrument other than a traditional orchestral instrument. 

“During these uncertain times, our music programs are more vital than ever, given their ability to support the social and emotional well-being of students, and their ability to foster community,” said Kristine Pacheco-Bernt, director of education for the Santa Barbara Symphony.“While this year’s Concerto Competition will look a little different, we’re so excited to be able to continue this prestigious opportunity for our students and showcase their talent.”

The Concerto Competition is open to students currently enrolled in the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony’s 2020-21 season, and any student up to age 18 living in Santa Barbara county who studies an instrument outside of the typical orchestral realm. For example, students who study piano, classical guitar, or Baroque instruments are invited to compete.

To participate, students are asked to submit a pre-recorded audition video. Nir Kabaretti, symphony music and artistic director, will chair the jury alongside Yvette Devereaux, conductor of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, and musicians from the symphony.

Winners will be invited to perform their piece with the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony in an upcoming concert. Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the concert details have yet to be finalized.  

“While we serve the entire community with different programs, we take special pride in following and advancing our young musicians who show extraordinary talent,” said Kabaretti. “Auditions and competition are an essential skill for performing musicians on all levels, and we’re happy these students get this opportunity, especially during the early stages of their musical path.

“I am personally very excited to hear from the Youth Symphony students, who normally I only get to hear as part of the ensembles.”

Interested students must complete an online application available on the symphony’s website. Deadline to submit applications is Feb. 7; deadline for submitting performance videos (with digitized score) is 11:59 p.m. March 14. Late applications will not be considered.

An application fee of $40 applies for students not in the Youth Symphony. Write a check to The Santa Barbara Symphony and mail to 1330 State St., Ste. 102, Santa Barbara CA 93101, attention: SBYS Concerto Competition.

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