A string ensemble featuring Elvis impersonators. It could only be the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet.
For 20 years, the group has been stretching the boundaries of traditional concert music, and in the process has topped both the classical music and world music charts.
Kronos will bring its unique brand of music to UC Santa Barbara on Sunday evening, in the first performance of the university's 1993-1994 performing arts season. It's a concert that figures to be appropriate for classical music veterans and novices alike.
"I think we attract people who are interested in experimenting and trying out something they've never heard before," said violinist David Harrington, the quartet's leader. "Increasingly, from every corner of the world, there is exciting quartet music being written. Our concerts are our attempts to make sense of this vast world that we're involved with."
Heading up Sunday's program will be a new work by Michael Daugherty called "Elvis Everywhere." This musical commentary on the prevalence of Elvis impersonators incorporates the voices of three such performers.
A piece titled "Yiddishbbuk," by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov, is a tribute to Isaac Bashevis Singer, Leonard Bernstein and three children who died in the Holocaust. "It is influenced by different aspects of Yiddish culture," said Harrington. "It's even an abstraction of Klezmer (Jewish folk music)."
Also on the program is a Lois V. Vierk composition called "River Beneath a River." "When it starts," said Harrington, "you wonder if it's going to be able to get going, and after several minutes there is an effect, like centrifugal force, that just propels it." An arrangement of the blues tune "Spoonful," made popular by the group Cream, is also on the program.
The concert will begin at 7 p.m. General admission is $14, $17 and $20. Call 893-3535.
A pair of acclaimed guests will help the Santa Barbara Symphony usher in its 40th-anniversary season with concerts Saturday and Sunday at the Arlington Theatre.
Conductor Richard Buckley, whose list of credits includes the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony and the Los Angeles Opera, will lead the symphony in Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concert No. 1," Beethoven's "Symphony No. 3 (Eroica)" and Samuel Barber's "Essay for Orchestra, No. 2."
Pianist Jeffrey Biegel will be the featured soloist in the Tchaikovsky piece. Biegel has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Orchestre de Radio France, and the BBC Philharmonic, among others.
Concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. General admission ranges from $13-$32 Saturday, and $13-$24 Sunday. Call the Arlington box office at 963-4408. The theater is located at 1317 State St.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will present "Russia Remembered and Revisited," the second installment of its travel film series, on Sunday. From Stalin to Yeltsin, the timely film travels through the various Russian regimes and visits the Black Sea, the city of Novosibirsk in Siberia, Lake Baikal, and the city of Samarkand. General admission is $3. Show time is 3 p.m. Call 682-4711. The museum is at 2559 Puesta del Sol Road.
Inmates on San Quentin's death row have combined their feelings and artistic talents to produce drawings and paintings on display at Santa Barbara's Guernica Gallery of Graphic Arts through the end of October.
The show, co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union and the anti-capital punishment organization, Death Penalty Focus of California, will feature more than 60 works by these men. The gallery is located at 32 E. Micheltorena St. It is open Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 965-5565.
The Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center will pay tribute to its supporters throughout the community Monday with a party at the 21 West Jazz Club and Restaurant. Food, music and the site itself have been donated for the event. A special tribute will be paid to Nancy Weiss, who will soon vacate her position as agency coordinator. The party will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free. Call 963-6832 in advance if you'd like to attend.
Continuing with its multimedia series on the Holocaust and organized resistance, UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday will present the movie "A Day in October." The 1992 film, starring Tovah Feldshuh, dramatizes the World War II story of the Danish Jews, who were saved from the Nazis by an organized resistance movement made up of Denmark's Gentile population. The movie will begin at 7 p.m. at the university's Campbell Hall.