Behind the brochure: a chat with UCSB Arts and Lectures’ master booker

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Yo-Yo Ma coaches UCSB violist Jacob Adams in a master class. Photo: David Bazemore

Get your sticky notes and calendar ready. The brochure announcing UCSB Arts and Lectures’ 2015-16 season is out. But, for those with a fixed budget and an already stocked schedule, hitting them all is an impossible feat. To help navigate the season, KCRW’s Larry Perel spoke with A&L’s executive director Celesta Billeci about how she lands these performers, and her top musical picks.

Trust us, it was hard for her to choose just a few.

Celesta’s picks:

  • Biggest Party: Trombone Shorty

“We have a lot of classical music, but we try to throw you off a bit.”

  • Hidden Gem: Cécile McLorin Salvant

“She is handpicked by Wynton Marsalis to be the next great jazz singer. She is Ella Fitzgerald and more.”

  • Hardest to Book: Ry Cooder, Sharon White and Ricky Skaggs

“Actually, I was told no three times, but I’ve learned in this business, never take no for an answer.”

  • Had to Have: Yo-Yo Ma

“There’s only one cellist that’s the best in the world, and that’s him.”

  • Up and Coming: Lake Street Dive

“This band is going to get huge really fast, and we have them at Campbell Hall.”

Tickets and more information on these shows, along with many, many more, can be found here.