Santa Barbara Symphony kicks off 66th season with “Festiva Italiana!”

Gabriel Farhadian, Staff Writer

This past Sunday afternoon at the Granada Theatre, conductor Nir Kabaretti, violinist Franscesca Dego, and the Santa Barbara Symphony collaborated to leave audiences amazed. The internationally-known elemental force of the Middle Eastern Kabaretti led the instrumentalists in a setlist properly named “Festa Italiana!” In the first five minutes, daydreams floated like clouds with the isolated plucks and melodies of the string section, only to be met with a tempestuous growth in sound, resulting in a dynamic earthquake of the orchestra’s entirety. With dynamic accuracy, the Kabaretti ordered the orchestra to push and pull sounds, tightly rolling itself into a coil just to release its gathered energy in a flurry of amplified trebles and bass.

After the first piece, Giuseppe Verdi’s “Overture to La Forza del destino,” the artists stood and bowed, and the concert master situated himself. Soloist Francesca Dego stepped onto the stage, wearing a long pale pink dress with sequins peppered along the torso. Her internationally-recognized talent has already won the famed “Paganini Competition,” being the first and youngest woman since 1961 to finalize. In Niccolo Paganini’s “Violin Concerto No. 4 in A major, Op. 90” Dego produced a sound that captured the audience. In the awestruck silence, one point of fluidity and speed in her playing caused an audible and involuntary sound of amazement from the crowd. The breadth of range and whimsical output she made with a fretless instrument perched on her shoulder was phenomenal, and it is hard to imagine that it is possible to play at the hyper speed she did.

Those present in the theatre on Sunday were almost all retired, save the few outliers of tasteful young dates, and parents who forced their teenage children to come. It seems obvious to the modern person, it’s only normal that young people do not see the use in listening to songs that only mattered in antiquity, but there is truly something missed in the vacancy of young people in a symphonic concert.

In the majority of youthful 21st-century minds, there is no connection between history and modernity. They seem to search for the future exclusively in the fields of technology and popular music, that overtly discard the limits of humanity and expand the horizons of ability. But when one searches for the modern, the creative and new world, they forget that one can look in the works of Dostoyevsky, Francis Ford Coppola, and Shashako Endo, and find something new in the synthesis and application of these profound and global ideas, that no doubt have connection to humanity now. In the same way, classical music is widely ignored, with no thought to its potential to be the next root metaphor for popular music, just as the blues was the root of jazz, rock, and now hip hop. Some artists, ranging as early as the Beatles and Pink Floyd to current artists such as James Blake and Kanye West, have already recognized classical music in their work in the form of simple string sections and piano melodies, but the general population has not been as accepting. In searching for the glistening future, the majority of youth overlook, forgetting, as they often do, that historical arts can be part of the future. In the modern use of SoundCloud and Spotify, classical music and other canonical arts of the past, wait to be called upon for their chance to shape an unfolding modernity.