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Critic's Notebook: Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Festival

August 16, 2011 |  8:50 am


The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music began at Cabrillo College, in Aptos, just south of Santa Cruz, to give a bit of a boost to West Coast music. It eventually moved its headquarters to Santa Cruz, and for 20 years Marin Alsop has been its music director.

She now owns it. The booster shots have gotten bigger, and their aim has changed. The Pacific Rim and the experimental open mind are no longer priorities. A more middlebrow, crowd-pleasing ethos is the replacement. 

But Alsop has also been an unlikely success for a former hippie enclave. A dynamo conductor who has seen her career blossom during her two Cabrillo decades, she has remained faithful to this small but important, if no longer quirky, festival. And she has won a large. devoted local following.

Read a report on her 20th Cabrillo Festival anniversary.


Critic's Notebook: California music festivals slight region's composers

She could restore lost luster

Marin Alsop thinks big with Mahler's Fifth but is constrained by Bowl

-- Mark Swed

Photo: Marin Alsop rehearsing Michael Daugherty's "Gee's Bend" with electric guitar soloist D.J. Sparr at the Cabrillo Festival. Credit: rr jones/Cabrillo Festival.