“‘When There Are Nine,’ a 45-minute orchestral song cycle with chorus, presents a surge of principled outrage — by turns lyrical and ferocious, resolute and tender — against the inequities of the American legal and political system. It’s part biography, part anthem and entirely compelling.
Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, for whom the piece was written, gave a splendid performance, at once personable and probing, and the members of the virtuoso vocal octet Roomful of Teeth deployed their gifts to the fullest. The Festival Orchestra, led by Music Director Cristian Macelaru, played with eloquence and grace.” –Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
“Women composers still get short shrift on many orchestral concerts, but the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz gives them equal time and then some.” –Georgia Rowe, San Jose Mercury News
“One of the enduring pleasures of the annual Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is the opportunity to hear composers introduce their own works.”
–Georgia Rowe, San Jose Mercury News
“…most remarkable were the excellent performances by the Festival Orchestra, the passionate virtuosity of the violin soloist, Nicola Benedetti, and the skill of music director Cristian Măcelaru.”
–Roger Emanuels, Performing Arts Monterey Bay
“Under Cristi Măcelaru, the Cabrillo Festival is zig-zagging toward fresh new directions and adventures. I used to hear complaints that much of the music ‘sounds the same.’ Not so in the festivals of 2018 and 2019.” –Scott MacClelland, Performing Arts Monterey Bay
“The internationally renowned Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music delivered another two weeks of spectacular works by living composers this month. The 57-year old festival, which takes place in August presented its third season led by the brilliant musical visionary Cristi Măcelaru.
Cabrillo’s Romanian-born music director dives into the molten center of issues of our times and meets them with music that heals. Măcelaru attracts composers who, like him, create at this searing edge of right now, seeking answers to the personal and collective challenges we face. He also presides over an extraordinary ensemble of musicians.
The Cabrillo Festival produces a kind of instant community of friends who share in the music, the discussions, the special events and the learning. If you want to bump shoulders with composers, musicians and new music lovers, this is your place.
Măcelaru is a patron saint for composers. By his admission he says ‘Yes!’ to requests to look at new scores. He says if composers pour their creative skills into a fresh work for an orchestra, they deserve to be considered. His warm and generous personality invites his audiences into the thrill of this ‘yes.’”
—Barbara Rose Shuler, Monterey Bay Herald
“Nowhere in my (seems-like) centuries of reviewing is there closer bonding between audience,
orchestra, conductor and live composer than at this Cabrillo Festival, now 56 years old. Despite playing in a scruffy former boxing palace with steep stairways, and with musicians thrown together from all over the map, the fest is a feel-good love-in night after night, year after year. Virtually all the composers performed appear in person to introduce their music, take a bow and hug everybody this side of the fourth percussionist. Joy reigns for these magical moments every summer. Can you imagine the impact if circa 1790, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Salieri had ever taken bows at the same Vienna concert? Or, say, Copland, Bernstein, Carter and Barber at a similar event in Manhattan?
Time for other performing groups to study the Cabrillo phenomenon and knit their disparate components closer together!” —Paul Hertelendy, ARTSSF.com
“…a Cabrillo concert is no mere event—it’s an experience.” —Paul Hertelendy, ARTSSF.com