The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California will mark the fourteenth anniversary of the death of Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia with “Sugar Magnolia: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead” on August 9. The evening’s centerpiece will be Lee Johnson’s Dead Symphony No. 6 performed by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra under Marin Alsop, the festival’s music director. Alsop also led the work’s world premiere in 2008 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Each of the symphony’s twelve movements is dedicated to a Grateful Dead song such as “Blues for Allah,” “Saint Stephen,” or “China Doll,” and the piece includes a symphonic jam session. As part of Cabrillo’s tribute evening, the China Cats, a Grateful Dead cover band, will perform at the outdoor Church Street Stage, and there will be the U.S. premiere of Matthew Hindson’s Rave-Elation (Schindowski Mix). The evening will conclude with a question-and-answer session with Johnson; Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally; and author David Gans, who hosts the nationally syndicated radio show Grateful Dead Hour. The nearby University of California, Santa Cruz houses the Grateful Dead Archive in its Library Special Collections.

Posted May 5, 2009