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Nir Kabaretti



Internationally acclaimed conductor, Nir Kabaretti, is the Music and Artistic Director of the Santa Barbara Symphony. He also served  as Music Director of Israel Symphonietta Be'er Sheva (2018-2023), the Southwest Florida Symphony (2014-2020)  and the Symphonette Raanana (2002-2008).

Described as “a conductor with immense musicality and warm personality” by Maestro Zubin Mehta, Kabaretti has earned an impressive reputation across continents for his command of a vast symphonic and operatic repertoire, and his profound knowledge of and sensitivity to the music he conducts.

Education & Early History

Born in Israel, Kabaretti  began piano lessons at the age of six, later studied piano and conducting at The Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, and continued his education at the prestigious University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he graduated from in 1995

Upon his graduation, Kabaretti began working as coach and chorus master at the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival. He subsequently advanced to positions as Assistant to the Music Director at the Teatro Real in Madrid and personal assistant to Maestro Zubin Mehta at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy.

During this time he collaborated with some the world most important conductors of the time including Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa, Valery Gergiev and Riccardo Muti.

Collaborations and Appearances

Maestro Kabaretti has worked with some of the world’s most sought-after musicians, leading opera houses, and renowned orchestras.  Some of his collaborators include Lang Lang, Placido Domingo, Joyce Di Donato, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Repin, Hélène Grimaud, and André Watts. He made his Walt Disney Hall debut in 2023.

As guest conductor, Kabaretti keeps a busy international schedule throughout the year. Some of his appearances have included the Israel Philharmonic OrchestraOrchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestra del Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo ToscaniniTokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber OrchestraChicago Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, Orquesta Filarmonica de BogotàOrquestre National du Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse, Orquestre de Chambre de LausanneOrchestre Philharmonie Royale de Liège, Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice di GenovaOrchestra del Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari, Orchestra Sinfonica SicilianaOrchestra Sinfonica di Milano “La Verdi”, Orchestra da Camera di MantovaRochester Philharmonic OrchestraZagreb Philharmonic OrchestraBelgrade Philharmonic OrchestraJerusalem Symphony OrchestraIsrael Symphony Orchestra of Rishon Le TzionHaifa Symphony OrchestraVienna Chamber Orchestra, Niederösterreichisches TonkünstlerorchesterLa Orquesta Sinfonica de MadridLa Orquesta Filarmonica de Gran Canaria, Real Orchesta Sinfònica de Sevilla and the Bochumer Symphoniker. In July 2010, Kabaretti debuted at the summer season of the Caracalla Roman Bath in Rome for Prokofiev’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

Operatic Experience

Kabaretti’s operatic experience includes productions at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Macbeth, Il Trovatore, Gianni Schicchi, The Journey to Reims), Teatro Petruzzelli (Die Fledermaus), Teatro Real in Madrid (Cenerentola, Die Walküre), The Israeli Opera (Fidelio, Manon Lescaut), Opéra de Lausanne (Il Cappello di Paglia di Firenze, Die Fledermaus, Falstaff), Avenches Festival (Nabucco, Barber of Seville, Madama Butterfly), The New National Theatre in Tokyo (The Barber of Seville), Opera Santa Barbara (Carmen) and the Puccini Festival (Madama Butterfly), in Torre del Lago, Italy. He conducted The Diary of Anne Frank by Fried, a guest production of the Vienna State Opera performed at both the Bregenz Festival and Expo 2000 in Hannover. In 2005, Kabaretti lead Teatro San Carlo di Napoli on its first tour to Japan, conducting Il Trovatore both in Kyoto and Tokyo.

Kabaretti is frequent guest of the Opera di Roma Ballet Season and has conducted several ballet productions with Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

During the 2004-05 season, Kabaretti made his debut at Teatro alla Scala di Milano with Tchaikowsky´s The Nutcracker and was invited again in 2007 for the ballet production of Mendelssohn's Midsummer night's Dream (broadcasted by Italian television RAI, and released as a commercial DVD).


Maestro Kabaretti received the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Grant for Young Conductors.  In 1993, he won the Forum Junger Künstler Conducting Competition in Vienna. In 1994 he was among the finalists in the International Competition for Conductors in Douai, France.


Nir Kabaretti speaks fluently English, Italian, German, Spanish and Hebrew.  

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