An early look at Cabrillo Festival’s new season

Cristian Măcelaru, music director and conductor for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The 2023 season of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music will run July 30-Aug. 12 at the Santa Cruz Civic, and will include a visit from The Kronos Quartet and a festival-commissioned piece paying tribute to longtime executive director Ellen Primack, who’s stepping down after 33 years.

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The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, under the direction of maestro Cristian Măcelaru, has let the cat out of the bag on its 2023 season, to kick off July 30 for two fab-tastic weekends at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

Highlights include a concert by the towering group The Kronos Quartet, plus guest appearances from violinist Eunice Kim, bassist Xavier Foley, percussionist Colin Currie and many others. Composers in residence this year include Cabrillo vets Jennifer Higdon, Kevin Puts, Gabriela Ortiz, Gabriella Smith and others.

It’s a big, music-packed season and it reaches its crescendo with its final performance, a festival-commissioned piece in tribute to the festival’s longtime executive director, Ellen Primack, stepping down after 33 years. That piece, titled “Wild Geese” by Anna Clyne, features what the festival is calling “the augmented orchestra,” an experiment in which the Festival Orchestra will mix with computer enhancements designed by the composer and audio engineer Jody Elff.

Season subscriptions for the 2023 Cabrillo Festival go on sale May 4; single-performance tickets on June 1.


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