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Brandeis-Bardin Keeps the Classical Flowing

Institute's 'Concerts Under the Stars' ensure that the pool of music doesn't evaporate over the summer.


Come summertime, the classical music scene in these parts doesn't dry up and blow away. It just shifts to certain, reliable fringe areas.

In a rural corner of Simi Valley, the Brandeis-Bardin Institute holds its annual "Concerts Under the Stars" series, celebrating a range of music--usually with a Jewish connection. This Sunday night, the classical component of the series takes place in the great outdoors.

Performing in "An Evening of Chamber Music" will be violinists Mitchell Newman and Rene Mandel, cellist David Low, and pianist Daniel Shapiro. In addition to stalwart repertoire by Prokofiev and Mendelssohn, a piece by Lucas Richman will receive its world premiere.

On Aug. 10, the final show of the series will be the acclaimed, genre-bending group from the East Coast the Klezmatics. It should be a calendar-marker for anyone with an ear for progressive klezmer or just music to the left of normal.

BEL CAN-DO: Opera, that all-too rare visitor to the region, also comes alive this weekend, at least in small, selective chunks. Every year around this time, the Music Academy of the West presents a program of opera scenes, featuring gifted students from around the world, and usually of a high caliber.

The sampler plate called "A Weekend of Opera," in the pleasant ambience of the Lobero Theater in downtown Santa Barbara, includes acts from Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" and Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," a suite from Leonard Bernstein's "Candide," a duet from Rossini's "Barber of Seville" and, for good measure, a trio from Puccini's "Madama Butterfly." Call it a primer in operatic favorites.

The program was designed by conductor Randall Behr, vocal teacher Edward Zambara and operatic legend Marilyn Horne. The announcement was made recently that Horne will be a new member of the Music Academy faculty. She will come on board as full-time director of the voice program next year, in time for the Academy's 50th anniversary.

Voice, and the operatic art, has always been a strong suit in the Academy curriculum: Among the alumni of the Academy is the renowned, presently in-demand baritone Thomas Hampson. By whatever standard, these students tend to deliver with aplomb.


MORE ON THE MUSIC FRONT: Also this weekend, the group known as Ensemble Bella Musica comes to Cal Lutheran's Samuelson Chapel on Friday at 7:30 p.m., presented as part of the CLU Summer String Institute. Music from an early vintage, by such composers as Bach, de la Guerre, Duphly, Boismortier and Telemann will be on the program, as performed by Eric Kinsley on harpsichord, Joshua Shekhtir on early violin, and Luciana Lombardi on viola da Gamba.

Just down the road, at 7 p.m. Sunday at the oasis-like Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, the Santa Susana Symphony will perform Haydn's Symphony No. 88 and Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor. Doing the pianistic honors will be Yasmine Gruen, all of 14 years old.


* "AN EVENING OF CHAMBER MUSIC" by the Brandeis-Bardin Chamber Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Brandeis-Bardin Institute. Call for directions. Tickets are $20. 582-4450.

* "A WEEKEND OF OPERA," at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara. Tickets are $21. 963-0761.

* ENSEMBLE BELLA MUSICA, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Samuelson Chapel at Cal Lutheran University, 60 W. Olsen Road in Thousand Oaks. Tickets are $5. 493-3130.

* SANTA SUSANA SYMPHONY, with pianist Yasmine Gruen, will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 5050 Los Angeles Avenue in Simi Valley. Tickets are $15 general admission, $8 for students, seniors and children younger than 12. 581-9940.

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