&ldquoAs Alsop faced the cellos and drew from them the most tremendously shaped phrases with every inflection of her baton, you were aware of being in the presence of greatness.&rdquo
2nd June 2015
Preparing for Cabrillo!

An exciting two week celebration of new music is fast approaching as composers, artists and the Cabrillo orchestra all come together for the 2015 Festival. Although not until August (2-16), behind-the-scenes it’s busier than ever as preparations get underway. Every year top contemporary composers flock to Santa Cruz to share their compositions with a dedicated orchestra and an enthusiastic, eager audience. Marin Alsop included! While Marin has been busy conducting the finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium, working intensively with twelve violinists for a week leading up to two back-to-back concerts a night for six nights consecutively, she has also been busy studying Cabrillo scores. As the weeks lead-up to the Festival, Marin will be providing her own insight into the work that goes into being Music Director, often from the other side of the world!



Excitement is building as Cabrillo gets ever-closer! And today, starting at Noon PST, you can order your tickets online, by phone, or in person! In case you haven’t already, check out the Cabrillo Festival website to plan your Festival experience, including your choice of concertstalksmeetups and more. If you are traveling from out of the area you can plan your visit now, and make sure you join the mailing list to receive updates and notification of new content leading up to the season! If you still need any more persuasion for why you should come to Santa Cruz this August, read what Marin says about why she looks forward to the Festival each year:

Cabrillo is a very special experience, on every level: artistically, it is an inspiration to work with an orchestra comprised of musicians who arrive entirely prepared with an intense enthusiasm for new music and a great, positive attitude to work hard and play hard! Conducting the Festival Orchestra is easily one of the highlights of my year!

Collaborating with so many living composers along with teaching the young conductors and watching them work with the young composers in the workshop setting is another source of inspiration and brings a fresh perspective to the creative process that we are so privileged to participate in.

Having a devoted and open minded audience that can’t wait to be challenged and experience everything new completes the Cabrillo experience!

And, of course, working with a staff who are there for the same reasons….and the beautiful surroundings of Santa Cruz California…it’s no wonder I’ve stayed for 24 years!


SUNDAY MAY 31, 2015

MA: Good morning from my last day in Brussels where I have been conducting the finals of the Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition. The rehearsal and performance schedule here has been grueling, but I managed to carve out a few hours every afternoon to work on scores for Cabrillo. The contrast to working on scores that I know so well, like the violin concerti of Sibelius, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky, is very freeing for me. Not quite relaxing, but engaging in a completely different way.  Each score for Cabrillo is a brand new discovery with a new vocabulary, a new voice, a new sound world.

This week I worked on Huang Ruo’s concerto for sheng and orchestra.  I have looked at the sheng online, but am still having to use my imagination liberally, to imagine what it will be like to accompany such an unusual instrument!  I also worked a lot on Jimmy MacMillan’s piece for trumpet and orchestra, which was like spending time with an old friend.  I know his vocabulary and his voice so well that it feels like catching up, when I open a score of his music.

Today is the final concert and the final results of these 18 days here in Belgium working with the twelve young violinists. I really don’t know who the judges will select as the winner. For me, it’s wonderful to be able to support these gifted young musicians and be part of such an exciting happening, where the public is completely engaged and every concert is sold out! Reminds me of…..Cabrillo :)


FRIDAY MAY 22, 2015

MA: In between rehearsals here in Belgium, I turn to my OTHER suitcase filled with my Cabrillo scores…and lots of pencils! Preparing all these new pieces is a trick unto itself, but it’s a nice change up to Brahms and Sibelius violin concerti!

Cabrillo 2015