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Community Arts Music Association (CAMA)


THE COUNTDOWN to CAMA's 100th Concert Season has begun! 2018|19 is just 5 years away. Stay tuned as the celebration unfolds!

The history of CAMA begins in the fall of 1919 when a group of community-minded Santa Barbarans came together in the optimistic years following World War I to create the Civic Music Committee. Their intention was to present the finest in musical performances, including the new Los Angeles Philharmonic, founded by philanthropist William Andrews Clark, Jr. that same year. The group's work was taken over by the Community Arts Association’s Music Branch in 1926, which in time evolved into today's Community Arts Music Association (CAMA).

Since the 1920s, CAMA has presented such legendary artists as Pablo Casals, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Horowitz, Jascha Heifetz, Igor Stravinsky, Artur Schnabel, Isaac Stern and Marian Anderson, with yearly performances from the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Since the 1950s the orchestra series has expanded and the concert annals now include virtually every great orchestra of the world, from the New York Philharmonic to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

CAMA's History (see below)

History of the Community Arts Association,
from 1947 Santa Barbara News-Press articles

CAMA Concert Program Listings
(1920 — 2015, Excel Download)

Masterseries Concert Program Listings
(1982 — 2015, Excel Download)

Esperia Foundation Concert Program Listings
(1985 — 2000, Excel Download)

CAMA on Wikipedia

View Concert Listings by Season


































































































History of CAMA

From A Tradition of Excellence: CAMA's History Book, 2013, Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara, Inc., pp. 4-23.

{Updated 2015-2016 Season}
{To suggest corrections, please contact info@camasb.org}

For 97 seasons, Community Arts Music Association has been Santa Barbara’s premier presenter of classical music by the greatest orchestras and musicians from around the world. CAMA is the direct descendent of the Community Arts Association, which contributed so much to Santa Barbara’s artistic culture during the 1920s and 30s.

CAMA Mission Statement (adopted January 27, 2000):
“The purpose of CAMA is to enrich Santa Barbara’s cultural life by the presentation of a variety of live performances by world-renowned performers and orchestras at the highest level of artistic excellence. Our mission to serve the community includes a commitment to expand and enrich audience appreciation and education through various forms of media and to offer associated music outreach programs to the widest possible audience.”

1919 and 1920s

With the end of the First World War in 1918 the United States enjoyed a new flowering of the arts. In Los Angeles, William Andrews Clark, Jr., a successful attorney, gifted musician and son of “Copper King” and former Montana Senator William Andrews Clark, Sr., decided to found a new Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra – even though Los Angeles already had a struggling Symphony Orchestra.

Clark, Jr. provided the initial funding, selected and hired a musical director, set up a Board of Directors of prominent citizens, auditioned and hired musicians from around the country, started rehearsals on October 13, 1919, hired Trinity Auditorium and on the Friday afternoon of October 24, gave the first sold-out performance to an audience of 2,400, including Clark, Sr., by then a Santa Barbara resident.

In Santa Barbara, also in 1919, a cadre of music lovers formed and attempted to bring major out-of-town musical events to Santa Barbara. This organization, known as the Civic Music Committee, had planned and contracted their first season of musical presentations by late 1919. Bertha D. Soper chaired the Committee. South Coast benefactor David Gray, Sr., who would finance the construction of Santa Barbara's Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center in the 1920s was on the original committee and contributed financial support.

The Civic Music Committee's first concert event took place on Tuesday, February 3, 1920 at the Potter Theatre with a presentation of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. (The Potter was destroyed in Santa Barbara's great earthquake of June 29, 1925.) The (now defunct) orchestra of ninety musicians arrived by train from Los Angeles. The second concert of the 1920 Season was on Tuesday, February 17, also at the Potter: a recital by violinist Amy Neill, with Mary Cameron at the piano. Amy Neill's connection to the music of composer Henry Eichheim (1870-1942), who moved to Santa Barbara in 1922, may explain her appearance as the Civic Music Committee's second act at the Potter.

The third and final concert of the Civic Music Committee's inaugural season was by the newly founded Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. This concert, given on the Saturday evening of March 6, 1920, just four months after the orchestra’s creation, was presented to a sold-out audience of 1,110 at the Potter Theatre. Maestro Walter Henry Rothwell (former conductor of the St. Paul Symphony) led ninety musicians in a program of Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony No. 8, Two Nocturnes (“Clouds” and “Festivals”) of Debussy, Wagner’s Overture to Tannhäuser, Liszt’s Symphonic Poem No. 4 “Orpheus,” the Intermezzo and Rondo from Lalo's Concerto for Cello (with Ilya Bronson as soloist) and Chabrier’s Rhapsody for Orchestra, “España.” The fee for this first LA Philharmonic concert in Santa Barbara was about $1,000. Advertisements in local papers listed ticket prices from 50¢ to $2.

This first appearance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic established an ongoing relationship between the Santa Barbara community and the LA Phil that continues to the present.

Looking back to 1919, in addition to the founding of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Santa Barbara’s Civic Music Committee, a drama-oriented committee was formed to present an open-air spring festival in Santa Barbara called “La Primavera.” The new committee decided initially to call themselves the Community Arts Players and later the Community Arts Association. Their pageant, with a cast and crew of over 300, involved music, dance and drama, and was presented on Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29, 1920.

“La Primavera” was a popular and critical success, but a financial disaster. The group tried again in the late summer and presented “The Quest,” an historical pageant with scenes from Greek history, the Middle Ages, Elizabethan times and the Renaissance. It too was well-received but financially intractable. Thus, the first Community Arts Association disbanded.

Within weeks, a new group formed with many of the same members and the same name: Community Arts Association (CAA). This time, with a $50 loan, they set off on a mission to organize, foster and support the arts in Santa Barbara. Mrs. Hilmar Koefod and Miss Pearl Chase were on the committee. On April 24, 1922, the group obtained a charter as a nonprofit corporation.

The mission of CAA from its Articles of Incorporation was “to afford individuals an opportunity for self-expression, training and education in music, drama and the allied arts and to aid in the cultural improvement of the people and in the beautification of the City of Santa Barbara” (CAMA archives).

Community Arts Association was soon organized into four branches: (1) the Santa Barbara School of the Arts (independently instituted and subsequently amalgamated with CAA), (2) the Drama Branch, (3) the Music Branch and (4) the Plans and Planting Committee (added in 1922).

The Music Branch held its inaugural committee meeting at 4 pm on a Sunday in March 1921. (The exact date was not recorded in the minutes; March 13, 1921 is the current “best guess,” based on the dates of subsequent meetings.) The meeting was held at 111 W. Valerio Street in downtown Santa Barbara, then home of Lydia A. Herter, daughter of Adele and Albert Herter, whose grand estate was El Mirasol, converted in 1914 into the El Mirasol Hotel, presently Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens. At the inaugural meeting Adele Herter was elected as the Music Branch's first chairman. In attendance was Samuel M. Ilsley, the architect of 111 W. Valerio, as well as the house next door, and many others in Santa Barbara.

In the fall of 1921, CAA began planning for the purchase of the old Lobero Theatre, which had fallen into disrepair, as a home for its Drama Branch. In February 1922, a group of investors purchased the property for $25,000 and organized the Lobero Theatre Company. The investors agreed to turn the property over to the CAA Board in exchange for its equivalent in stock of the Theatre Company if $75,000 worth of stock could be sold within six months. In less than three weeks, $101,000 was raised in addition to the $25,000 purchase price (1922 CAA document, CAMA archives).

Upon inspection of the original structure of adobe, brick and wood, the decision was made to build a modern theater in its place. Architects George Washington Smith and Lutah Maria Riggs began plans for the project and the theater was constructed during the winter and spring of 1923-1924. On August 4, 1924 the Lobero Theatre was ready for its historic reopening with a performance of “Beggar on Horseback.” The event was celebrated by a Fiesta with a costume pageant and several parades. This celebration has continued annually as Old Spanish Days Fiesta. The year after the new Lobero Theatre was finished, it came through the 1925 earthquake undamaged.

The Music Branch continues as CAMA to this day and is the only one of CAA’s four branches active in its original constitution. This Music Branch was offered a fully financed concert orchestra led by Georges (also called “Roger”) Clerbois in 1921. Clerbois, a graduate of the Conservatory of Music of Brussels and of the Schola Cantorum of Paris, was a composer and director of the Clerbois Little Symphony. The new orchestra gave its first concert in March 1921 as the Community Arts String Orchestra. Its first venue was the old Recreation Center (100 E. Carrillo Street). Each concert, including rehearsals, cost about $700 to present. Tickets were priced from 25¢ to $1 for a single ticket and from $1.25 to $5.50 for a season subscription. The first series included six concerts held from March to May 1921 and additional series followed.

The Music Branch sponsored music classes and summer lectures by Donald Francis Tovey, Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University; and formed a Community Arts Chorus with Lyle Ring as its first director. The Chorus was subsequently led by composer Arthur Bliss (1924-1925), who later became Director of Music at the BBC during World War II; and then by Harold Gregson (1925-1928). On June 19 and 20, 1926, the Community Arts Chorus presented (with orchestra) Charles-François Gounod’s grand opera Faust, with Helene Portune as Marguerite and Harold Dana as Méphistophélès. In May of 1927 the Chorus presented Camille Saint-Saëns’s opera Samson and Delilah.

Beginning in Fall 1922, the Carnegie Corporation of New York granted CAA an annuity of $25,000 over five years in recognition of its work and as a means of widening its scope. The grant was facilitated with aid from Dr. Henry S. Pritchett, a former President of MIT, President of the Carnegie Foundation, and a Santa Barbara resident. In 1925, after the great earthquake, this grant was extended to run five years past that date with the addition of $25,000 toward losses from that catastrophe. The CAA Plans and Planting Branch oversaw much of the rebuilding in Santa Barbara in the Spanish Colonial tradition of architecture. With encouragement from the Branch, the City of Santa Barbara set up an Architectural Board of Review and a Community Drafting Room.

From 1921 to 1925, the Civic Music Committee continued to present concerts by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and recitals by prominent classical musicians including soprano Maria Ivogün and cellist Pablo Casals. In 1925, the CAA Music Branch and Georges Clerbois parted ways; and, in 1926, the Civic Music Committee disbanded. At that time, the CAA Music Branch took over the responsibility for sponsoring the annual series of Los Angeles Philharmonic concerts.

By the 1926-1927 season, the CAA Music Branch Board included such notables as Amy duPont, Frank A. Mulhauser, T. D. Plumer, Ethel Roe Eichheim (Vice-Chairman) and Mrs. Francis Price. The Associate Membership fee for 1926 was $1. Sustaining Members could join with a contribution of $5, $10 or $25.

John Berger, in his November 14, 1968 article, entitled Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara: History of Growth, writes: “Inspired by the late Ethel Roe Eichheim, the Music Branch raised $50,000 and invited the Persinger String Quartet [local alias for the San Francisco String Quartet]… to come to Santa Barbara for a two-year residence [from 1927-1928].”

From 1926-1928, the Music Branch of CAA supported seven different simultaneous concert series and numerous other musical activities, including: the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Persinger String Quartet Series (performing as far afield as Toronto, Canada with CAA support); the Community Arts Chorus Series; the Artist’s Series (of famous soloists); summer Community Band Concert Series; summer Children’s Chorus; and the Community Arts Orchestra “Pops” Series. During this time the CAA Music Branch also founded a men’s chorus, taught music education and performance classes, gave away music scholarships and provided strolling musicians on State Street for Fiesta activities.

In July 1926 the Morning Press announced that Major Max C. Fleischmann would provide a gift of $5,000 to create public band concerts for Old Spanish Days Fiesta. Fleischmann was the son of the founder of Fleischmann Yeast Company and a financier for the construction of the Santa Barbara harbor and the expansion of Cottage Hospital. The first band concert was held at the Plaza Del Mar Band Shell (constructed in 1919) on July 27, 1926. A committee from the Community Arts Association hired Los Angeles bandleader Signor Indreani for the occasion, who brought with him musicians from John Phillip Sousa’s marching band and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Fleischmann continued to finance band concerts for the next two years. In September 1928 he created the Santa Barbara Foundation along with Harold Chase, Thomas Storke, Dwight Murphy, Bernhard Hoffmann and others. The Foundation’s first grant was awarded to the Santa Barbara Band, to be administered by the CAA Music Branch.

After the 1929 stock market crash there was an inevitable streamlining and tightening of the focus of the Music Branch’s key objectives. Nonetheless, the organization continued to present an unbroken series of concerts by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and other series presenting the greatest living classical artists. Soloists appearing in CAA recitals in the 1920s included Pablo Casals, Tito Schipa, Efrem Zimbalist, Walter Gieseking, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and more.


A 1930 chart issued by CAA lists a gross turnover of $200,000, with net capital assets of $225,000, the equivalent of about $2.9 million in purchasing power today (2009). Thirty employees worked for CAA at that time. The Association provided “education, entertainment and service for 25,000 persons through 150,000 contacts.” (CAMA archives)

The Great Depression had a devastating effect on people and organizations throughout the United States and CAA was not exempt. The Drama Branch's activities were turned over to the present Lobero Theatre Foundation. Verne Linderman in a February 2, 1947 article in the Santa Barbara News-Press writes: “At the expiration of the Carnegie Grant in 1930, the [Community Arts] Association found itself in financial difficulty and it was necessary for the Drama Branch to withdraw in order to save its property. The School of the Arts disintegrated [in 1932]. This left the Music and Plans and Planting Branches as the only departments under the organization of the Association. The Music Branch separated itself in order that Miss Pearl Chase and the Plans and Planting Branch could keep the name and carry on as much of the activities of the old Community Arts as she wished to.” The Plans and Planting Committee continued under Pearl Chase's leadership, discontinuing its activities shortly before her death in 1979 (Mary Louise Days, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation).

In the 1930s, CAA Music Branch concerts moved to the Granada Theatre and then Arlington Theatre (and back and forth again over the decades). Mrs. Francis E. Boyd (CAMA President 1952-1955) remembers that “the limousines would roll up one after another and the chauffeurs would hop out and open the doors for the women, elegant in their jewels, gowns and furs, and the men, dashing in their tuxedos. It was a wonderful time.”

On January 7, 1930, the CAA Music Branch presented Vladimir Horowitz at the Lobero Theatre. A newspaper review from January 8 by “P. H. W.” states that “to say that the concert…was magnificent is expressing it so mildly that those who weren’t there may feel they missed just another evening of very good music beautifully played. What they really missed was one of the most glorious evenings that music lovers of Santa Barbara have had an opportunity to experience in years.” (CAMA archives)

On April 29, 1936, the CAA Music Branch presented the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Leopold Stokowski. This was the first touring orchestra to be presented apart from the LA Philharmonic – and the first Music Branch concert of any kind at the Arlington Theatre. An acoustical shell for the Arlington stage was constructed for the Orchestra’s concert, which featured a work by Santa Barbara’s own Henry Eichheim.

Former CAMA Board Member Roger Phillips sums up the decade, noting that at a time “when 25% of the labor force was out of work and the bank failed and closed in 1933, CAMA was presenting the Los Angeles Philharmonic, pianist José Iturbi and others. In the later 30s, while Neville Chamberlain was on his ill-fated hat-in-hand visit to appease Hitler, and while the Nazis were invading Poland, CAMA was presenting soprano Kirsten Flagstad, pianist-composer Igor Stravinsky, modern-dance pioneer Martha Graham and Company, contralto Marian Anderson and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.”

Notable soloists and ensembles to appear in CAA Music Branch concerts in the 1930s included violinist Jascha Heifitz (twice), baritone Paul Robeson, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (twice), the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo (twice), soprano Lotte Lehmann, pianist Artur Schnabel, dancer/choreographer Martha Graham (three times), violinist Isaac Stern, and many more.


The Music Branch (1921-1940) of the Community Arts Association reorganized and incorporated under its present name, Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara, Inc. (CAMA), in 1940.

Mrs. Francis Price was the first chairman of the “new” organization. Roger Phillips notes that even “as the war clouds of the 40s billowed ominously overhead CAMA continued to present a string of concerts…” In the years 1940-1942, Artur Rubinstein (piano), Marian Anderson, Martha Graham, Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein (violin), Sergei Rachmaninoff (piano), Jan Peerce (tenor), and Vladimir Horowitz all visited Santa Barbara.

In 1942-1943 the Association was commended for its participation in the Chamber of Commerce’s “Thumbs Up Throughout the War” Campaign. The 1942-1943 Season was CAMA’s only “dark year” and there was no regular lineup of concerts. It is thus also one of only three seasons since its founding in 1919 in which the Los Angeles Philharmonic did not appear in Santa Barbara. This “dim out” broke toward the end of 1943 with a September 21 recital by soprano Lotte Lehmann, followed by a December 7 concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

During the 1940s, in addition to recitals by legendary soloists, CAMA also presented the Los Angeles Philharmonic (up to five times per season) with conductors Leopold Stokowski, Bruno Walter, Sir John Barbirolli, Alfred Wallenstein, George Szell, and John Barnett.


The CAMA Women’s Board was founded in 1951 with Katherine Gray as its first Chairman. Notes from Mrs. Lewis Motler (“Dot”) Smith state that in 1951-1952, CAMA was paying about $2,500 to produce each concert: a total of $12,500 for five concerts in a season. The main CAMA Board was running a yearly deficit. Mrs. Smith tells us “that’s when [the CAMA Women’s Board] came into the picture. The main Board needed some outside support and Katharine [sic] Gray got it started… to help sell the tickets, and raise money…”

The Women’s Board organized a Preview Lecture Series. During Dot Smith’s presidency (1956-1960), the lectures were held at the El Mirasol Hotel in the Garden room, with luncheons following. William Hartshorn, Director of Music for Los Angeles Public Schools, gave the first five Preview Lectures (Dot Smith, 1989, CAMA archives).

Notable events from the 1950s included CAMA’s presentation of the one-hundredth official concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Santa Barbara on November 5, 1952. Mayor Norris Montgomery commemorated the occasion with the declaration of “Symphony Week” from November 2 to 8. The Boston Symphony, with Maestro Pierre Monteux, made an appearance in Santa Barbara on May 5, 1953 as part of its first visit to the West Coast since 1915.

CAMA Board Member Stephen Cloud notes that “with the 1950s came the expansion of the orchestra series and concerts by the New York Philharmonic under their dynamic new conductor, Leonard Bernstein.” CAMA productions from the 1950s also featured recitals by pianists Robert Casadesus and Rudolf Serkin, and violinist Erica Morini; and concerto appearances by pianist Claudio Arrau and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, both performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic directed by Arturo Basile.


In the 1960s, Women’s Board-sponsored CAMA concert Preview Lectures continued with speakers such as Dr. Raymond Kendall. Ethel-May Dorsey Conrad, writing in 1980 on the history of the Women’s Board, notes that “in 1964… [President Naomi MacLean] started a cookbook, and sent her members scurrying over the country to procure recipes from famous persons. The collection was called ‘Cooking with the Stars’. It sold for $5.00 per copy and by 1965 Naomi’s cookbook had netted a profit of $2,906.35…”

Women’s Board Fashion Shows were the most lucrative fund-raising events.  President Lee Ott sponsored the first I. Magnin Fashion Show in 1966, given at the Coral Casino. Conrad writes that “when Beverly Jackson described it in her column in the News-Press, she gave almost as much attention to the gowns worn by the patrons as she did to the creations worn by the models.”

Starting in the 1960s, the Women’s Board organized a number of bus trips. Each spring the women selected a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Other bus trips were to concerts at the Music Center, Shrine Auditorium, the PCPA Theatre at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria and the Theaterfest in Solvang.

CAMA celebrated its 50th Concert Season in 1968-1969, commemorated by a proclamation from Mayor W. Don MacGillivray.

Notable concerts from the 1960s included performances by the Cleveland Orchestra with George Szell (twice), the New York Philharmonic (twice) with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa, the Concertgebouw Orchestra with Eugen Jochum, and the Philadelphia Orchestra with Eugene Ormandy (twice); recitals by pianists Van Cliburn, Rudolf Serkin, Artur Rubinstein, Robert Casadesus, and Wilhelm Kempf, and violinist Isaac Stern; and appearances with orchestra by violinist Henryk Szeryng, soprano Marilyn Horne, pianists Philippe Entremont, Alfred Brendel (twice), and André Watts, and violinists Izthak Perlman and Ruggiero Ricci.


A message from CAMA President Arthur Gaudi in a 1971-1972 Annual Report gives “special mention to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and [music director] Zubin Mehta” as “the mainstay of our seasons.” Indeed, from 1970 to 1979 the Los Angeles Philharmonic visited Santa Barbara 47 times, six times in the 1975-1976 season alone!

Women’s Board Preview Lectures continued in the 1970s. Ethel-May Dorsey Conrad writes that “to open the 1972 concert season, Dr. Raymond Kendall lectured from the stage of the Granada Theatre… Cornie Chapman and her committee had transformed the popcorn counter in the lobby into an attractive coffee table where refreshments were served as the preview guests arrived…”

In 1971, with Pat Manchester as Women’s Board President and future Women’s Board President (1972-1974) and CAMA President (1980-1984) Carolyn Panosian as benefits chairman, the Women’s Board booked the Burt Bacharach/Neil Simon Broadway hit Promises, Promises for two performances at the Granada Theatre. The main CAMA Board booked the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a pops concert with Arthur Fiedler at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in September 1977 and Women’s Board President (1976-1978) Christine Seemann helped to sell the attraction to the public. The Women’s Board Fashion Shows continued with the annual sponsorship of Saks Fifth Avenue. Bus trips also continued through the 1970s and 1980s.

A new ‘mobile musical van’ project was launched when Margo Chapman was elected Women’s Board President (1978-1981). The project brought music directly to local third graders via a music van staffed by Women’s Board volunteers under the direction of Christine Seemann. Ethel-May Dorsey Conrad writes that “the van was supplied with musical instruments which the children themselves could play. There were also musical tapes to acquaint the youngsters with orchestral sounds…”

Notable concerts from the 1970s included performances by the Concertgebouw Orchestra with Bernard Haitink, the London Philharmonic with Erich Leinsdorf, the Cleveland Orchestra (twice) with Walter Susskind and Lorin Maazel, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Lawrence Foster, the Philadelphia Orchestra with Eugene Ormandy, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic with Edo de Waart; recitals by Isaac Stern and Philippe Entremont; and appearances with orchestra by pianists Misha Dichter, Jerome Lowenthal, Jens Harald Bratlie, and Garrick Ohlsson, soprano Gundula Janowitz, and violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Pinchas Zukerman.


The CAMA Women’s Board continued to sponsor Preview Lectures, which were very well attended. A 1981-1982 Preview Lecture schedule features lectures by Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Dr. William Prizer and Mrs. Marylka Limek-George of the Polish Dance Group, Mazowsze. Previews were held at the Music Academy of the West and at the Arlington Theatre.

In 1982, future CAMA Board Member Stephen Cloud and pianist Michael Isador founded Masterseries, an annual recital series that presented many notable recitalists, such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, and pianist Ivan Moravec. (Starting in the 2001-2002 season, CAMA took up the responsibility of presenting the Masterseries concerts.)

Notable concerts from the 1980s included concerts by the Philadelphia Orchestra with Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, the Cleveland Orchestra (three times) with Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohnányi and Christoph Eschenbach, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with André Previn, the Concertgebouw Orchestra with Bernard Haitink, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra with Christoph Eschenbach, the San Francisco Symphony with Edo de Waart, the Royal Philharmonic (twice) with Yehudi Menuhin and Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Chicago Symphony with Sir Georg Solti, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Simon Rattle, the St. Louis Symphony with Leonard Slatkin, the Bavarian Symphony of Munich with Sir Colin Davis and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra with Charles Dutoit; and appearances with orchestra by violinists Glenn Dicterow, Gidon Kremer, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Shlomo Mintz, violist Heiichiro Ohyama, pianists Philippe Entremont, Myung-Whun Chung, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Misha Dichter, violinist Cho-Liang Lin, and soprano Elisabeth Söderström.


CAMA celebrated its 75th Concert Season in 1993-1994, commemorated by a proclamation from Mayor Sheila Lodge.

Since October 1990, the CAMA Women’s Board has distributed tickets to local Junior High and High School students for CAMA concerts at the Arlington Theatre (today at The Granada). Starting in the 1997-1998 season, CAMA organized its Youth Audience Development program, collaborating with local colleges including the University of California at Santa Barbara, Westmont College and Santa Barbara City College. The colleges organize academic courses whose curricula focus on CAMA’s concerts – the composers, pieces, performers, and historical context of the music.

CAMA celebrated its 80th Concert Season in 1998-1999, commemorated by a proclamation from the County of Santa Barbara, signed on October 6, 1998 by the Clerk of the Board and the Supervisors of Districts One through Five.

For this anniversary, CAMA Board Member Stephen Cloud wrote: “Eight decades later CAMA remains the Grande Dame of Santa Barbara arts organizations… In every decade…since its founding, CAMA has presented the world’s greatest artists, maestros and orchestra…in Santa Barbara, along with its annual concerts by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.”

Notable concerts of the 1990s included performances by the San Francisco Symphony with Herbert Blomstedt, the Leningrad Philharmonic with Mariss Jansons, the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig with Kurt Masur, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra with Jesús López-Cobos, the Moscow Philharmonic with Mark Ermler, the Russian National Orchestra with Mikhail Pletnev, the St. Louis Symphony (twice) with Leonard Slatkin and Hans Vonk, the Pittsburgh Symphony with Loren Maazel, the Dresden Philharmonic with Philippe Entremont, the Orchestre National de France with Charles Dutoit, the Kirov Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, the Vienna Symphony with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, the Royal Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov, the Hong Kong Philharmonic with David Atherton, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden with Giuseppe Sinopoli, the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Sir Neville Marriner, and the Philadelphia Orchestra with Wolfgang Sawallisch; recitals by sopranos Kathleen Battle and Kiri Te Kanawa, and pianist André Watts, ; and appearances with orchestra by pianists Ursula Oppens, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Alicia de Larrocha, and duo-pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque, violinists Schlomo Mintz, Nigel Kennedy, Maxim Vengerov, Robert McDuffie, Cho-Liang Lin, Pamela Frank, Leila Josefowicz, Pinchas Zukerman, and Joshua Bell, trumpeters Håkan Hardenberger and Sergei Nakariakov, and soprano Felicity Lott.


Beginning in the 2000-2001 season, CAMA launched a model elementary school music appreciation program at La Patera School in Goleta. In the 2003-2004 season, Dr. David Malvinni began the development of a multimedia curriculum for the program. The three-year twenty-four-unit curriculum package, entitled A Classical Music Journey for Young People, combines the study of classical and folk music traditions with live performances at school music assemblies. Starting in the 2005-2006 season, the program was made available to other Santa Barbara County schools through a docent program. CAMA Docents, trained by Dr. Malvinni and coordinated by Joan Crossland, have offered the program to more than a dozen elementary schools and in a version adapted for use in junior high school Social Studies classes. Dr. Malvinni also offers preview lectures for selected CAMA concerts through Santa Barbara City College’s Continuing Education Program.

In the 2000-2001 season, CAMA Board Member Joan Benson, working with Co-Chairs Nancy Wall and Jennifer Burrows, founded The CAMA Fellows. The Fellows, a group of young music lovers, supported the CAMA Board's efforts in bringing music education to youth in Santa Barbara. Fellows events included pre-concert dinners, musical “informances,” and events to support Santa Barbara’s youth in music education. The Fellows disbanded in 2006.

The 2001-2002 Season saw the revival of CAMA’s Artist Series in a new partnership with Masterseries, originally founded in 1982 by Stephen Cloud and Michael Isador, and today presented at the Lobero Theatre. CAMA's Masterseries further enfolds and continues the work of Esperia Foundation, which presented free concerts by world-class chamber musicians in Santa Barbara from 1985-2000. With a $500,000 endowment sponsorship from Esperia Foundation, CAMA’s Masterseries is able to provide an allotment of complimentary tickets to every Masterseries concert for non-traditional audiences, students and other community members.

The CAMA Women’s Board began hosting an Annual Garden Tour in the spring of 2002. Through 2007, the tour concluded with a “Celebrity Birdhouse Auction,”  with silent and live auctions of birdhouses decorated or designed by local celebrities and artists.

In 2007, SAGE Publications pledged a $1.5 million gift to CAMA’s Endowment Campaign in support of CAMA’s orchestra series, today known as the International Series. In the 2008-2009 season, the International Series moved from the Arlington Theatre back to The Granada. Kicking off CAMA’s tenure at the newly restored Granada was a concert on May 3, 2008 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, its first there in 32 years. This concert also marked the twelfth and final appearance of Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen in Santa Barbara as the LA Philharmonic’s Music Director.

Other notable concerts of the 2000s included performances by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (three times) with Joshua Bell, Murray Perahia and Sir Neville Marriner, the Hungarian National Philharmonic with Zoltán Kocsis, the Czech Philharmonic with Vladimir Ashkenazy and Leoš Svárovský, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Herbert Blomstedt, the Royal Philharmonic with Daniele Gatti and Pinchas Zukerman, the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas (twice), the Kirov Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, the London Philharmonic with Osmo Vänskä, the Pittsburgh Symphony with Sir Andrew Davis, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Nikolai Alexeev, the Academy of Ancient Music (twice) with Christopher Hogwood and Richard Egarr, the China Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony, both directed by Long Yu; and more; plus recitals by violinists Itzhak Perlman (twice), Joshua Bell, Pinchas Zukerman, Hilary Hahn (twice), and Christian Tetzlaff, cellists Lynn Harrell, Matt Haimovitz, and Carter Brey, pianists Ivan Moravec, Radu Lupu, Krystian Zimerman, András Schiff (twice), Richard Goode, Alfred Brendel (twice), Stephen Hough (twice), Ingrid Fliter, and Piotr Anderszewski, sopranos Jessye Norman, Renée Fleming (three times), and Dawn Upshaw, mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, countertenor David Daniels, bass Samuel Ramey with mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, and appearances with orhestra by many more distinguished artists. Through Masterseries, CAMA presented its first concerts by string quartets since 1937, beginning with the Vermeer Quartet in 2003, then the Belcea Quartet and Juilliard String Quartet in 2006.


Notable concerts of the 2010s include the Santa Barbara debut of Maestro Gustavo Dudamel as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic on May 7, 2011; as well as performances by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (twice), Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Hespèrion XXI, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (twice), the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic with Charles Dutoit and Pinchas Zukerman (twice), the Seoul Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic with Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonia Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen, St. Louis Symphony with David Robertson, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra with Neeme Järvi, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell (twice), the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Vladimir Jurowski, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande with Charles Dutoit, the London Symphony Orchestra with Michael Tilson Thomas, the Montréal Symphony Orchestra with Kent Nagano; recitals by pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Christopher O’Riley, Peter Serkin, Hélène Grimaud, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Lang Lang (twice), Sir András Schiff (twice), Stephen Hough, Richard Goode and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet; violinists Itzhak Perlman (twice), Joshua Bell, Christian Tetzlaff, and Anne-Sophie Mutter; cellist Mischa Maisky; guitarists John Williams, Sérgio & Odair Assad, and Manuel Barrueco; mandolinist/vocalist/composer Chris Thile; soprano Dawn Upshaw; tenor Ian Bostridge; concerts by the Tetzlaff (String) Quartet, Anonymous 4, The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, The Tallis Scholars, Juilliard String Quartet, Tetzlaff-Vogt Duo and Jordi Savall playing bass viol and pardessus de viole with Frank McGuire on Irish frame drum (bodhrán); and appearances with orchestra by pianists André Watts, Lang Lang, Rudolf Buchbinder, Richard Goode, Jean-Yves Thibaudet (four times), Yefim Bronfman, Emanuel Ax, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Nikolai Lugansky, Yuja Wang, Lise de la Salle, Jeffrey Kahane and Daniil Trifonov, violinists Pinchas Zukerman (twice), Joshua Bell (twice) and Augustin Hadelich, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinists Renaud Capuçon and Leonidas Kavakos, and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter.

CAMA’s Concert Series Today

CAMA’s INTERNATIONAL SERIES at The Granada Theatre presents the world’s finest classical orchestras and recitalists. The International Series is the direct descendant of CAMA’s original orchestra series, which has regularly presented internationally renowned orchestras and soloists to Santa Barbara audiences since the 1920s. The International Series is supported by an endowment from SAGE Publications.

CAMA’s MASTERSERIES at the Lobero is dedicated to presenting the world’s finest classical recitals and chamber music. Masterseries was originally founded by Stephen Cloud and classical pianist Michael Isador in November 1982. Under CAMA’s aegis, Masterseries continues the work of Esperia Foundation through an endowment gift that underwrites complimentary tickets for selected community members.

The Big Picture

For 97 seasons, CAMA has presented the world’s great classical orchestras and soloists to Santa Barbara audiences. Former CAMA Board Member Roger Phillips writes: “Simply stated, we believe there is no similarly sized city in the entire country (and maybe the world) which has offered to its citizens the variety, quality, reputation and substance of classical music performance over such a long time period.” Former CAMA President Arthur Gaudi (1969-1974) states: “In America you cannot do better than [CAMA]. Even major cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles would be elated to have these orchestras. It is a testimony to the quality of the people involved in [CAMA] that distinguished artists, conductors and symphonies make their sojourn to our city year after year.” •

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