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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 11:58 pm | Fair 45º


After Four Decades, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra to Play Grand Finale

For 40 years, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra has captivated Santa Barbara audiences with musical performances. On Oct. 9, the orchestra will celebrate its legacy with a final concert of Mozart, Mendelssohn and more.

Music Director Heiichiro Ohyama, who has led the orchestra since 1983, will conduct the finale performance at the historic Lobero Theater, the orchestra’s favored concert venue. To commemorate the orchestra’s 40 years in the community, the concert ticket price is $40.

The evening’s program features guest soloist Jennifer Frautschi in Mozart’s Violin Concerto #3, K.216. The program also includes Mendelssohn’s Symphony #3, Scottish, and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll.

The first two exemplify the classical repertoire so well performed by the orchestra over the last four decades, and the Idyll bookends the orchestra’s history as it was included in its first concert in 1978.

Concertgoers will also enjoy pop-up performances by Opera Santa Barbara — in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Education Foundation’s Pianos on State — in front of the Lobero, pre-concert and at intermission.

“With this final farewell concert, the Chamber Orchestra offers the community a last signature experience,” said Joe Campanelli, SBCO Board chair.

“The board voted and our devoted subscribers agreed that we needed one last crescendo — a final tribute event to show Maestro Ohyama and our musicians how much we appreciate them, and all the supporters of this Chamber Orchestra," Campanelli said.

"It is also the orchestra’s moment to thank the community, and to share that unique sound they have perfected over these 40 years," he said.

Founded in the late 1970s by Jeffrey Evans, a UCSB conducting student, the Chamber Orchestra had humble beginnings as a community orchestra performing in coffee houses and libraries, working its way to the Natural History Museum where they later held the Chamber Players Series.

After five years, Evans left the area to get his Ph.D. At that time, Ohyama, who was teaching at UCSB, took over and the direction of the orchestra changed dramatically.

Under Ohyama, the Chamber Orchestra became an company of professional musicians. His conducting and programming gifts led the Chamber Orchestra to be known among many as the best artistic organization in Santa Barbara, and well respected in the classical music world at large.

The level of musicianship held by SBCO musicians and the conductor is apparent in the number of world-renowned soloists the Chamber Orchestra has hosted over the years, many of whom returned again and again due to the great artistic experience they had with the orchestra.

Critically acclaimed pianists such as Alessio Bax, Tong Il Han, Wu Han, Jerome Lowenthal, David Golub, Yefim Bronfman and André Michel Schub, violinists Cho-Liang Lin, Mark Kaplan, and Kyoko Takezawa, and cellists Lyn Harrell, Gary Hoffman, and Carter Brey have been guest soloists with the Chamber Orchestra.

A number of Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra musicians have gone on to other musical endeavors.

Sheryl Staples, principal associate concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, is a former SBCO concertmaster. Michelle Kim, who replaced Staples’ position as SBCO concertmaster, is now the assistant concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic.

Current and past SBCO musicians also perform with the LA Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, and Pacific Symphony.

Local resident Nina Bodinar soloed for SBCO as a rising star at age 18, then became the orchestra’s concertmaster. She eventually became concertmaster under Leonard Slatkin for the St. Louis Symphony.

Concert tickets are available at Lobero.org, and at the Lobero box office, 963-0761. For more information on the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, visit sbco.org.

— Sheri Mobley for Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.


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