Robinson to leave Santa Barbara Symphony

Posted on: October 14, 2010

In Wednesday’s (10/13) Santa Barbara Independent (California), Tom Jacobs writes, “The Santa Barbara Symphony will open its season this weekend with one of the most uplifting pieces in the repertoire, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. But don’t be surprised if the ‘Ode to Joy’ is tinged with just a hint of sadness. Last week John Robinson, who has served as the orchestra’s executive director for the past eight years, announced his departure from the job. Next month, he and his family will relocate to San Francisco, where his wife begins a new job as executive assistant to San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas. Like virtually all of his peers, Robinson faced an enormous challenge during the past couple of years as the economy went into freefall. During this difficult period, several American orchestras have gone bankrupt, while many others have clashed with their musicians over proposals to cut salaries. Neither has happened here. The Santa Barbara Symphony’s annual budget is currently $2.4 million, and while that’s down from its $2.6 million peak a couple of years back, it’s still a significant increase from the $1.8 million budget of Robinson’s first season. … Robinson had to negotiate two tricky transitions during his tenure: the change in music director from Gisèle Ben-Dor to Nir Kabaretti … and the move from the Arlington Theatre to the renovated Granada.”

Posted October 14, 2010