To enrich the community by creating powerful musical experiences performed with passion and excellence, and by providing indispensable music education and community engagement.


The Santa Barbara Symphony was founded in 1953 on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra. Consistently lauded for its unique ability to present brilliant concerts, engage the community, and deliver dynamic music education programs, the organization prizes both innovation and artistic excellence, and is widely recognized as one of the region's premier cultural institutions. Its award-winning Music Education Center serves 9,000 students in Santa Barbara County with regular programming and as many as 10,000 students through special programming each year. Charismatic Israeli conductor Nir Kabaretti was appointed music and artistic director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 2006.

The Symphony gave its first concert on December 12, 1953 at the Lobero Theatre under the baton of Belgian cellist Adolphe Frezin. It was a modest start for a community orchestra.

For over 60 years, Santa Barbarans driven by passion and dedication to sharing excellence with others have been the backbone of the Symphony's vision. The long-term investment in artistic excellence has paid tremendous dividends. Increasing production values, attracting talented soloists and retaining high-caliber musicians is crucial to inspiring audiences, and it's clear this community craves the highest quality concerts and that our children can be moved by the power of music.

Santa Barbara Symphony is deepening its roots and expanding its appeal. As they move into a new era, it is their intention to make world-class music a part of the cultural life of Santa Barbara County; to ensure that all members of the community are aware of Symphony programs; to create opportunities for all community members to participate in Symphony activities; to diversify the Symphony audience; and to build a financial foundation that enables them to operate with greater tolerance for artistic risk and ever greater focus on artistic excellence.

Photos by David Bazemore