music note 88.
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March 22 is a special date in the world of music. It's the date on which Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber the two greatest living creators of musical theater celebrate their birthdays.
Sondheim was born in New York in 1930 to a prosperous Jewish family, and displayed a gift for music from a very early age. One of the friends of his youth was the son of Oscar Hammerstein. The connection enabled 15 year old Sondheim to ask and receive Hammerstein's opinion of his first high school production.
The upshot was that he became Hammerstein's assistant, a position that opened many doors for him and set him on the path to a brilliant career. Andrew Lloyd Webber was born in 1948 into a totally musical environment in South Kensington England. He started playing violin at age three and composing his own songs at age six. All the rest, in both cases, is musical history. - Greer Fay Cashman
Santa Barbara lures Kabaretti
Nir Kabaretti, last in Israel to conduct "Fidelio" at the Israel Opera, has been named music director of the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra. He starts in October and his contract runs for three years. He replaces another Israeli, Gisele Ben Dor, who is winding up her three year tenure with the SBSO. Kabaretti, 37, born and raised in Holon, knew he wanted to conduct at only 15.
Talent and a bit of luck got him the job of Zubin Mehta's assistant at the Florence Maggio Musicale in 2002, the same year he was appointed music director of the Ra'anana Symphonette, a post he still holds. He'll be home for Pessah. - Helen Kaye