The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra (SBCO) celebrates 34 years of exemplary music making with a mission that has remained the same over the years - to maintain a Chamber Orchestra based in Santa Barbara that is of the highest artistic quality, to produce the finest music heard in Santa Barbara, and to perform both well-known and contemporary repertoire.
Founded in 1978 by Jeffrey Evans, a conducting student, the Chamber Orchestra had humble beginnings performing in coffee house and other venues in Santa Barbara. Five years later Heiichiro Ohyama became Music Director, and the direction of the SBCO changed dramatically. Under Maestro Ohyama the SBCO become an orchestra of professional musicians, and his conducting and programming gifts have led the SBCO to be known among many as the best artistic producing organization in the Santa Barbara area. 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 appeared as guest soloists with the SBCO. Many Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra musicians have gone on to other exciting musical endeavors. Current and past SBCO musicians perform in the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Pacific Symphony, St Louis Symphony, and Santa Barbara Symphony.
With an orchestra comprising 30 musicians, the SBCO offers the community musically engaging experiences with its five-concert subscription series at the newly renovated Lobero Theatre, one of Santa Barbara’s architectural treasures. The SBCO’s regular concert season runs from October through May. The Chamber Players Series, a two-concert chamber music series, features Maestro Ohyama performing as violist with members of the SBCO and guest artists.