2021 Virtual Season Announcement

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Announces its 59th Season

Season highlights include world premieres by composers Gabriela Lena Frank, Jake Heggie, and Sean Shepherd. The Festival’s 2021 virtual season is free to the public and features offerings of dance, photography, video and animation. Guest artists include St. Lawrence String Quartet, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, violinist Benjamin Beilman, and the award-winning Cabrillo Festival Orchestra led by Cristian Măcelaru.

Cabrillo Festival 21SANTA CRUZ, CA—March 1, 2021—The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, America’s longest-running festival of new orchestral music, premieres its second-ever virtual season, July 31 – August 8, 2021. Led by Grammy Award-winning Music Director and Conductor Cristian Măcelaru, the Festival’s season offers themes of resiliency, hope and realism, in response to the profound crises of climate change, wildfires, and the persistence of human oppression.

Featuring site-specific dance, environmental photography, animation and videography woven through new and recent compositions for full orchestra and chamber ensemble, the Festival’s 2021 season deepens its exploration of the virtual concert experience. This year’s composers are Danny Clay, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jake Heggie, Sean Shepherd, and emerging composers Theo Chandler, Eli Gilbert, Meng Wang, and Jeremy Rapaport-Stein. The award-winning Cabrillo Festival Orchestra will be featured in three new works recorded remotely and a 2018 ensemble recording. This season’s guest artists include mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, violinist Benjamin Beilman, St. Lawrence String Quartet, choreographer/dancer Molly Katzman, National Geographic photographer Camille Seaman, and animation artist/designer David Murakami. Virtual programs will be realized by director Elena Park, producer Svet Stoyanov, cinematographer Frazer Bradshaw, Swan Dive Media, and others.

“We have designed a season that is relevant to this moment in time,” said Măcelaru. “It is topical and explores exciting new partnerships—with artists of many mediums, and national and regional music and civic organizations. This reflects our desire to collaborate, support one another, and build strength by sharing resources and imagination.”

Providing audiences access to artists and their creative process continues to be central to the Festival experience. Beginning on March 6, the Festival launches a pre-season series of “Composers in Conversation.” The first Saturday of each month, March through July, Maestro Măcelaru will host live online conversations between small groups of composers, with space for audience questions. Featured composers include Clarice Assad, Jennifer Higdon, Huang Ruo, Wynton Marsalis, Kevin Puts, Iván Enrique Rodríguez, Tan Dun and others.

Cabrillo Festival’s 2021 virtual season concerts and events will be held over two weekends, July 31 – Aug 1, and Aug 7 – 8, with details outlined below. Each day will feature an educational or special program at 11am PDT. Each concert will premiere at 7pm PDT, and be followed by a live Post-Concert Artist Q&A, hosted by Măcelaru. All programming is free and accessible to the public.

Following each premiere, concerts and events will remain accessible via on-demand streaming on the Cabrillo Festival’s website (https://cabrillomusic.org) and YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/cabrillofestival). Paid subscription packages offer access to additional program content and are encouraged in support of the Festival. Donations are welcomed at any time. The public is invited to join the Cabrillo Festival mailing list (https://cabrillomusic.org/join-mailing-list/) for advance notification and special announcements.

Cabrillo Festival 2021 Season Program
Times shown are PDT, all programs are designed for virtual presentation and are subject to change.

Saturday, July 31
11am Educational Program TBA
Panel discussion/educational program related to climate crisis and California wildfires

7pm GABRIELA LENA FRANK [Contested Eden]
Composer Gabriela Lena Frank’s new 10-minute work, Contested Eden, addresses the 2020 California wildfires and will be presented in two versions: one for virtual chamber ensemble and full orchestra, featuring members of the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra (recorded remotely); and another presented as a dance video choreographed by Santa Cruz-based choreographer/dancer Molly Katzman and filmed by Swan Dive Media. The dance will be filmed in natural environments devastated by the CZU Lightning Complex wildfires.

Live Post-Concert Artists Talk & Q&A moderated by Cristian Măcelaru with composer Gabriela Lena Frank, Svet Stoyanov, and Molly Katzman.

Sunday, August 1

11am Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony Cabrillo Festival presents the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony in two world premiere commissions: a work for remotely recorded youth orchestra by composer Danny Clay; and a chamber work by Eli Gilbert for Fourtés Violin Quartet, an ensemble of the SCCYS Chamber Music Academy.

In the Works is a concert of six solo works and three duets written for members of the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra by three emerging composers from the Cabrillo Festival Composers Workshop—Theo Chandler, Meng Wang, and Jeremy Rapaport-Stein.

Live Post-Concert Artists Talk & Q&A moderated by Cristian Măcelaru with composers Chandler, Meng Wang, and Rapaport-Stein.

Saturday, August 7

11am Educational Program 
Composer Jake Heggie moderates a discussion with librettist Gene Scheer, author James Grymes, and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, on the creation of INTONATIONS: Songs from the Violins of Hope; violinist Cookie Segelstein introduces the program with a brief presentation on the history of Jewish musical life.

This performance of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s INTONATIONS: Songs from the Violins of Hope is the culmination of an extensive SF Bay Area collaboration begun in 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. “The Violins of Hope” are a collection of violins of the Holocaust, many used in the concentration camps, which have been meticulously restored by Israeli luthiers Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein. Inspired by James Grymes’ book “Violins of Hope,” INTONATIONS tells the extraordinary tales of six of these storied instruments. Directed by Elena Park with cinematography by Frazer Bradshaw, this artfully produced video will feature mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, violinist Benjamin Beilman, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet, performing the full chamber ensemble version of the work. The 45-minute performance will interweave portions of the Festival-commissioned orchestral version of the music, recorded remotely by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra.

Live Post-Concert Artists Talk & Q&A moderated by Cristian Măcelaru with Jake Heggie, Gene Scheer, Sasha Cooke, and Benjamin Beilman.

Sunday, August 8

11am Educational Program
National Geographic photographer Camille Seaman interviewed about her work as witness to the melting glaciers and impacts of the climate crisis.

In 2018, Cabrillo Festival co-commissioned and premiered Melt, Sean Shepherd’s critically acclaimed 14-minute musical lament on climate change and the disappearance of the world’s glaciers. Now set with images and video by renowned National Geographic photographer Camille Seaman, the orchestra’s archival recording of Melt will be paired with the world premiere of a newly commissioned 5-minute sequel by Shepherd. The new work, Sprout, is a hopeful reflection on the resilience of the forest after wildfire, presented in two versions: one for virtual orchestra, and a second version brought to life by animation artist David Murakami.

Live Post-Concert Artists Talk & Q&A, moderated by Cristian Măcelaru: with Sean Shepherd, Camille Seaman, and David Murakami.


Pre-Season Composers in Conversation Dates:
First Saturdays: March 6, April 3, May 1, June 5, July 3; @ 11am PDT.
Includes live audience Q&As.

Festival Season Dates:
Saturdays and Sundays: July 31 – August 1 and August 7 – 8; @ 11am and 7pm PDT.

Gabriela Lena Frank: Contested Eden (co-commissioned with La Jolla Music Society SummerFest), 10-12 minute work in two parts; Part 1 for chamber ensemble, Part 2 for full orchestra, recorded remotely.
Jake Heggie: Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope (orchestral version), a 45-minute work featuring Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Benjamin Beilman, violin; St. Lawrence String Quartet; and the remotely recorded Cabrillo Festival Orchestra.
Sean Shepherd: Sprout, a 4-5 minute work for full orchestra, recorded remotely.

Theo Chandler
Danny Clay
Gabriela Lena Frank
Eli Gilbert
Jake Heggie
Jeremy Rapaport-Stein
Sean Shepherd
Meng Wang

Benjamin Beilman, violin
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Fourtés Violin Quartet
St. Lawrence String Quartet
Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony

Frazer Bradshaw, cinematographer
Molly Katzman, choreographer
David Murakami, animation artist
Elena Park, director/producer
Camille Seaman, photographer
Swan Dive Media, videography

How to Access Programs:
All events will be streamed directly on the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music’s website (www.cabrillomusic.org). Following each premiere, programs will be accessible via on-demand streaming on the Festival’s website and on their YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/cabrillofestival). While most programs are free, paid subscriptions are encouraged to access additional content. Subscriptions will be available via the Festival’s website starting May 1. Donations are welcomed at any time.

Important Links:
Cabrillo Festival Virtual Season Website: https://cabrillomusic.org/2021-season/
Join Mailing List: https://cabrillomusic.org/join-mailing-list/
Questions: https://cabrillomusic.org/about-us/contact-us/
Blog: https://cabrillomusic.org/blog/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/cabrillofestival
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CabrilloFest
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cabrillofestival/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CabrilloFest


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