‘Plains, Trains & Violins’ – Santa Barbara News-Press

“This is a concert not to be missed!” conductor Nir Kabaretti said about the Santa Barbara Symphony’s upcoming “Plains, Trains & Violins” performance.

Santa Barbara Symphony to perform music by Dvorak and Miguel del Aguila as well as Peter Bernstein’s arrangement of an Elmer Bernstein work

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to think about the cowboys riding their horses in “The Magnificent Seven” without hearing Elmer Bernstein’s iconic theme in your head.

The late Santa Barbara resident composed a score that brought the landscape of the West and the movement of the horses to the listeners’ ears and imagination. Likewise, Mr. Bernstein captured the feel of another mode of transportation with his “Toccata for Toy Trains.”

In the same spirit, Antonin Dvorak inspired a vision of America and its wide open spaces with his famous “New World” symphony.

Well, the Santa Barbara Symphony is preparing to transport listeners to a special world of music with its “Plains, Trains & Violins” concert.

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 and 3 p.m. Jan. 22 at The Granada, 1214 State St. 

The orchestra will perform Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”), as well as Miguel del Aguila’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, “The Journey of a Lifetime (El viaje de una vida)” with violin soloist Guillermo Figueroa.

And the symphony will play Mr. Bernstein’s “Toccata for Toy Trains.” This is a new arrangement by Mr. Bernstein’s son, Peter Bernstein.

“Toccata for Toy Trains” was Elmer Bernstein’s score for the 1950 stop-motion animated film of the same name. 

“Elmer Bernstein is beloved and celebrated all over the world, and we were so lucky to have him in our community and collaborate with the Santa Barbara Symphony,” said Nir Kabaretti, artistic director of the Santa Barbara Symphony.

“We are very proud to be able to carry on his legacy in our programming,” Maestro Kabaretti said in a news release. “This is a concert not to be missed!”

Mr. Bernstein (1922-2004) composed scores for more than 150 major movies — everything from “To Kill A Mockingbird” to “The Ten Commandments” and the 1980s “Ghostbusters” films.

A graduated of New York University and The Juilliard School, Mr. Bernstein was blacklisted during the McCarthy era in the early 1950s. During that time, he collaborated with Charles and Ray Earnes, who produced 125 short art films. Among those were “Toccata for Toy Trains,” for which Mr. Bernstein wrote the score. (He composed music for several other films by Charles and Ray Earnes.)

Mr. Bernstein’s son, Peter, a film composer and a professional jazz guitarist, took his father’s music for “Toccata for Toy Trains” and created a new arrangement for its premiere as a concert work.

As previously mentioned, the symphony will perform Mr. del Aguila’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 94 — “The Journey of a Lifetime (El viaje de una vida).” The violin soloist, Mr. Figueroa, is renowned for his performance on the violin and viola as well as his work as the principal conductor of the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, the music director of the Mountains Festival in Colorado and the music director of the Lynn Philharmonia.

He has played during world premieres of four violin concertos written for him, including the Concertino by Mario Davidovksy, at Carnegie Hall.

email: dmasoin@newspress.com

The Santa Barbara Symphony will perform its “Plains, Trains & Violins” concert at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 and 3 p.m. Jan. 22 at The Granada, 1214 State St. 
Tickets cost $35 to $175. To purchase, go to granadasb.org.


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