String Quartets by Local Composers (And Spouses) Cody Westheimer and Julia Newmann Open “Summer Serenade Series” at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden On Friday, July 14
July 14: The Nature of Music Features String Quartet from Santa Barbara Symphony, and Westheimer on Shakuhachi Flute
July 28 & August 11: Musical Showcases Curated by Galavant
Santa Barbara, Calif. – June 21, 2023 – The Summer Serenade Series, three evenings of music held outdoors at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, opens with “The Nature of Music” on Friday, July 14 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
This concert presents a mix of music curated by local composer Cody Westheimer and a new work by his wife, composer Julia Newmann – both performed by a string quartet of players from the Santa Barbara Symphony. Westheimer also performs works on a Shakuhachi Japanese flute. Two later concerts, held on Friday, July 28 and August 11, feature musical showcases curated by Galavant.
“Since moving back to my natural habitat of Santa Barbara three years ago, I’ve doubled down on my life goal of using my passion for music to help convey our connection to nature,” said Westheimer. “This concert is another wonderful opportunity in that vein.”
The Friday night concerts are held at the Garden’s Pritzlaff Conservation Center, with the seating outside on the Island View lawn, which features panoramic views of Santa Barbara, the Pacific Ocean, and Channel Islands. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and picnics to these informal concerts. Leashed dogs are also – and always – allowed at the Garden.
Tickets for each show are available online at $25 for adults, and $10 for youth (3-12 years old). To purchase tickets, visit https://sbbotanicgarden.org/calendar.
About July 14 Concert – The Nature of Music
A string quartet from the Santa Barbara Symphony plays pieces by Westheimer including “Foothills Forever,” which he wrote in 2021 to help raise funds to save the San Marcos Foothills. His 2019 work “An Island Reveals” is an adaptation of a string orchestra piece he wrote on his four-day trek on Catalina Island and is accompanied by poetry from David Starkey, former poet laureate of Santa Barbara.
The concert opens with Westheimer performing a piece of sacred flute music “Honkyoku,” on Shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute. The instrument is also featured in his “Waves,” which has been rearranged for Shakuhachi and strings.
Two debuts are presented, including Westheimer’s Photosynthesis, a new electro-acoustic piece created as part of a larger longform collaboration with the Garden. Julia Newmann, an award-winning composer and orchestrator, and Westheimer’s spouse, premieres a two-movement piece for string quartet.
Movements from the Ravel and Debussy String Quartets are also performed.
About July 28 and August 11 Concerts
The concerts held on Friday, July 28 and Friday, August 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. each feature a musical showcase curated by Galavant. The programs may include singer-songwriters, duos, and small ensembles performing a variety of styles, such as folk, country, jazz, pop, and more.
These acoustic concerts are particularly intimate as the singers and instruments are not amplified in accordance with the Garden’s Conditional Use Permit. Galavant is a monthly outdoor popup of live music and other mediums of art held throughout Santa Barbara.
July 14: About Cody Westheimer and Julia Newmann
Cody Westheimer was born and raised in Goleta and, after a 23-year stint in Los Angeles, moved back to Santa Barbara in 2020. He is a veteran film composer with hundreds of credits including nature documentaries and sports themes including the Tour de France. Last fall, he premiered his symphony “Wisdom of the Water, Earth, Sky” with the Santa Barbara Symphony. In addition, he won the Garden’s Casitas design competition for “The Hawk’s Nest,” which is now located in the Garden’s Backcountry. Westheimer played a vital role in saving the San Marcos Foothills by creating unique video content.
Julia Newmann was born and raised in Los Angeles. She holds many ASCAP awards for her work on the hit Fox show “Bones,” and has orchestrated scores for films like “Michael Clayton” and “The Water Horse.” A prolific visual artist, her work has been featured as a “Piano on State” and at “I Madonnari.”