“Cabrillo Festival is like a crucible of creativity…and all of America’s orchestras look to what happens at Cabrillo because the Festival has really set the standard for fostering creativity and demonstrating an unbelievably genuine and rich relationship with its community.” —Jesse Rosen, President of the League of American Orchestra, addressing capacity crowd on Opening Night, 2016
The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, even at a seasoned 59 years old, is all about the new—the here and now of contemporary works for orchestra. To quote Financial Times music critic Allan Ulrich, “…in the surf mecca of Santa Cruz, 75 miles south of San Francisco, the Cabrillo Festival has made the contemporary repertoire sound urgent, indispensable and even sexy.”
During the first two weeks of August each year, audiences are joined by both preeminent and emerging composers, an orchestra of dedicated professional musicians, and renowned guest artists from across the globe to give voice to works which are rarely more than a year or two old, and sometimes still wet on the page. The opportunity for composers to work with musicians skilled and enthusiastic about bringing these new works to life, in the beautiful coastal, college-town of Santa Cruz, California, makes this an artistic paradise. With a professional training workshop for early career conductors and composers, open rehearsals almost daily, educational programming for all ages, the Church Street Fair showcasing Santa Cruz County performers and artists, and much more, the Cabrillo Festival has dozens of opportunities for meaningful engagement.
In 2017 the Festival embarked on a new era of artistic leadership with the appointment of Music Director and Conductor Cristian Macelaru. Past music directors include Marin Alsop (1992-2016, now Music Director Laureate), John Adams (1991), Dennis Russel Davies (1974-1990), Aaron Copland (1978), Carlos Chavez (1970-1973), Gerhard Samuel (1963-1968). More information on the Festival’s history can be found here.
Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is a non-profit 501 (c).