The new Lobero Theatre Chamber Music Project kicks off on Jan. 4, the first of three concerts featuring top international performers and ambitious programs. Lobero LIVE presents this new collaboration with Maestro Heiichiro Ohyama which continues with two concerts next month.

Benjamin Beilman

Benjamin Beilman

Alessio Bax

Alessio Bax

The first concert, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at the Lobero Theatre, features two world-renowned talents performing three sonatas. Pianist Alessio Bax joins violinist Benjamin Beilman for Ferruccio Busoni’s “Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in E Minor,” Edvard Grieg’s “Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3, Op. 45,” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Sonata for Violin and Piano in E major, BWV 1016.”

“The Lobero Theatre is cherished for its intimacy, especially for chamber music, and Maestro Ohyama hand-picked the best players and has carefully curated programs to showcase their virtuosity,” said David Asbell, Lobero Theatre executive director.

“All the musicians have international solo careers, and they are looking forward to collaborating on these demanding and beautiful works,” he said.

Local audiences know Ohyama in his past role as music director and conductor of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. He will perform with Beilman and other players in the second and third concerts in the series held Feb. 8-9. Beilman is the Chamber Music Project’s musical advisor and worked with Ohyama to develop the new series.

Series and single tickets for the Lobero Theatre Chamber Music Project are on sale at, or by calling the Lobero box office, 805-963-0761. Single tickets are $106 for VIP, $46 for section A, with student and senior tickets available for $26.

Series subscribers enjoy savings over single ticket prices and premier seating. Series tickets are $318 for VIP, $114 for section A. Prices include a $6 facility fee; other fees may also apply.

The Jan. 4 program combines wildly different musical languages and types of collaboration between violin and piano. Bach’s contribution has both singing melodies and careful counterpoint; Busoni’s epic sonata culminates in a set of variations on a Bach chorale melody, and Grieg’s last sonata brings together passionate agitation, lyrical tunes and dance rhythms.

The concert also showcases a rare selection in Busoni’s “Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano.” Like Franz Liszt, Busoni was both one of the great pianists in history and an innovative composer. This late-Romantic masterpiece shows Busoni’s reverence for tradition, culminating in a set of variations on a Bach chorale melody.

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The two remaining concerts of the series are held over one weekend.  Single and series tickets are available for these performances at the Lobero Theatre.

On Saturday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Ohyama returns to Santa Barbara to perform in two piano quartets, Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 16a; and Johannes Brahms’ “Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25.”

He selected internationally renowned players to join him: Louis Schwizgebel, piano; Beilman, violin (in the Brahms); Ida Kavafian, violin (in the Beethoven); and Clive Greensmith, cello. Beilman and Kavafian also perform Prokofiev’s “Sonata for Two Violins in C major, Op. 56.”

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On Sunday, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m., the players reunite, with Kavafian on violin, to perform another chamber music piece by Brahms, his “Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34.”

Kavafian and Schwizgebel also play Beethoven’s “Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in A Major, Op. 12 No. 2;” and Beilman and Greensmith perform Zoltán Kodály’s “Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7.”

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— Angie Bertucci for Lobero Theatre.