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SummerArts: Classical Music

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (Santa Cruz, CA)

Multiple venues

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(July 28 – August 12, 2012) Under the leadership of Music Director Marin Alsop – also at the helm at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra – the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra of 68 music professionals presents new orchestral music to the public each summer. The country’s foremost new music festival, Cabrillo has won the national ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music every single year since Cabrillo began in 1982. The festival has an astounding record: 120 world premieres, 66 U.S. premieres, and 124 West Coast premieres, and nearly 200 composers represented, including John Adams, Philip Glass, Jennifer Higdon, Lou Harrison, Osvaldo Golijov, Keith Jarrett, Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, Joan Tower, and Virgil Thomson.

Each distinctive festival features multiple composers-in-residence, as well as several guest artists; the festival also holds annual Conductors/Composers Training Workshops which provide a five-day, experimental “lab” setting for the rehearsal and performance of new works. No summer festival is more singularly devoted to the celebration of new orchestral creations.

For audience members looking to get even more out of the festival, and at the unbeatable price of free, there are myriad offerings – open rehearsals and pre-rehearsal talks, an In the Works Concert featuring participants in the Conductors/Composers Workshop, the internationally influenced Music Art Food & Wine Festival, and Family Concert and Creativity Tent for Kids.

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Information

  • Venues: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium (307 Church Street, Santa Cruz); Old Mission San Juan Bautista (406 2nd Street, San Juan Bautista)
  • Public Transportation: Good for Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium (a short walk from SCMTD buses 13, 40, 41, and 42 at Center Street/Walnut Avenue and a 7-minute walk from several buses at the Santa Cruz Metro Station). Poor for Old Mission San Juan Bautist
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Good at both venues
  • Performances/Programs: Approximately eight performances annually
  • Ticket Prices: $20–$41 depending on concert; Family concert is free (tickets required)
  • Membership: No membership packages are offered, but tax-deductible donations are accepted.