Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra

Lobero Box Office (805) 963-0761

SBCO Office (805) 966-2441

Piano Boys – Thank you to our donors!  You made this happen….

The Piano Boys” are brothers, Zeyn and Rhyan Shweyk.  Both play the piano and have been attending concerts through our “Free Seats for Families” program for years.  Thanks to you, our donors. You have provided opportunities for young musicians and their families to attend and learn from our concerts. The Shweyk brothers stated that attending our performances has been inspiring and motivating over the years and you, our donors, made this happen. Guess what?  The “Piano Boys” will be participating in this summer’s Music of the Academy of the West program. You have made a big difference in two young men’s lives as well as many other young music students.  Thank you to our sponsors for making this program possible. 

Learn more about the  "FREE SEATS FOR FAMILIES" program at SBCO


Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra Family

Jo Beth Van Gelderen is almost 100 years young and still loves listening to the magical sounds of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. She has been an intricate part of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra Family for almost forty years, and we recently had the opportunity to provide an intimate and compelling musical experience, in the comfort of her home.  Thanks to our Maestro, Heiichiro Ohyama, and Assistant Concertmaster, Sooah Kim, a special performance was dedicated to her in May. We are forever grateful to Jo Beth for almost four decades of support, enthusiasm, and loyalty for the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

(Pictured top: Joe Campanelli, Jo Beth Van Gelderen, Maestro Heiichiro Ohyama, Assistant Concertmaster Sooah Kim and Linda Rosso)


The Future of SBCO

As many of you may be aware, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra is undergoing a transition concerning our 2017 - 2018 concerts and future seasons.  We have made a decision to place our upcoming season on a temporary hold, as we reexamine our organization and our future as a chamber orchestra.  Most concert attendees and supporters are unaware of the expenses involved in providing large, compelling, musical concerts, which can cost up to $60,000 each.  Ticket sales only generate $10,000 to $12,000, which leaves us with an unrealistic deficit.  We have kept our prices affordable, and to charge enough to fully cover concert costs would be prohibitive to our patrons.

We cannot continue to produce unique musical experiences, distinguished by their intimacy and artistic excellence, without full underwriting of each concert through community support and grants.

On June 3, our board of directors, along with major stakeholders, will participate in a retreat led by a facilitator specializing in crisis management for musical organizations.  Over the last twenty years, the chosen facilitator has provided expertise and guidance to numerous orchestras.  He has helped musical entities, on the brink of closing their doors, transform themselves into thriving, self-sustaining orchestras.

Our retreat goal is to take away one of four options: celebrate 40 years of compelling musical experience and close our doors; continue with smaller venues and eliminate our larger costly concerts; merge with another organization if feasable; provide large concerts if they are entirely underwritten and supported by the community.

We cannot survive without the backing from the Santa Barbara community and look to you for financial assistance and concert participation. Please donate today and help Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra remain a vibrant thread in the tapestry of classical music experiences for the Santa Barbara community.


Study Looks at Cognitive Benefits of Live Music for Elderly Dementia Patients On South Coast

By DEBRA GREENE

Research shows that music can have a healing power, and that’s why it is used as a form of therapy. A study is being conducted on the South Coast that looks at the cognitive impacts of live music performances on elderly dementia patients.

A French horn player and a pianist perform Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 1 in front of about a dozen elderly residents at this retirement home in Santa Barbara called Valle Verde.

“I’ve been happy listening to the live music. It’s wonderful,” said Dorothy, who has dementia.

She says the music transports her to a better place.

“To beautiful paintings and beautiful scenery and beautiful feelings,” she said.

Dorothy and the others are part of a study called “Classical Connections” commissioned by the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra that looks at the therapeutic benefits of classical music performed live versus recordings.

Lori Sunshine, a music therapist and the lead researcher in this study, talks to the participants and records how they feel before the live performance and then how they feel after. And she compares their reactions to recorded classical music.

“We believe in the study that it’s live music. The live interaction as well as the music. It’s the person being there. The entire experience that makes live music much more powerful than recorded,” she said.

Once the performance is over, Dorothy still has trouble recalling her age.

“If I can remember, I think it’s 86,” she said.

But what she does remember is her favorite song.

"Clair de Lune," she said.

And the pianist plays Clair de Lune.

It’s not clear if the live music actually triggered her memory. But, Sunshine says it can.

“It brings upon all four quadrants of the brain to be activated. So all the neurons are being stimulated. The brain is enlivened and more activated. So, you’re more inclined to hear a person who can’t remember something, remember something,” she said.

She says it can also improve mobility, human connection and mood.

Ninety-year-old Barbara says listening to the live music fills her with positive emotions.

“Makes me feel happy. Joy. Peace. Calm. It cheers me up,” she said.

Stephanie Stetson, who’s playing her French horn, says music is powerful.

“Reaching the inside of people. Speaking to them spiritually and emotionally. Touching them. It’s a beautiful thing to see joy on people’s faces,” she said.

And that’s why the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra decided to conduct this study, says Tim Dougherty of SBCO.

“We see value in bringing classical music to everyone regardless of setting. And if it can be shown to have value beyond strictly artistic, creative endeavor, we want to be part of that conversation,” he said.

Researchers say it’s evident from this study that live music provides these dementia patients with far more than just entertainment. It gives them therapeutic benefits that improve their quality of life.


Alessio Bax to Perform Schumann Piano Concerto with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra

Dazzling Italian pianist Alessio Bax will join the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra for a season-ending performance of Robert Schumann’s intensely expressive Piano Concerto in A Minor at the Lobero Theatre on Tuesday, May 16. Also featuring Schumann’s remarkably triumphant Symphony No. 2, the concert will begin at 7:30 pm, following the orchestra’s final “Supper Club” dinner of the season. Ticket sales are underway.

Hailed for his lyrical playing, insightful interpretations, and extraordinary technique, Mr. Bax has appeared as a soloist with more than 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal philharmonic orchestras, the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle. He recently embarked on tours of South America and Asia, and returned to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for engagements in New York and on tour, among other highlights. A 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, Mr. Bax has performed with violinist Joshua Bell on four continents. In 2013, he received the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes young artists of exceptional accomplishment. Mr. Bax’s critically acclaimed discography includes recordings of works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Rachmaninov. According to Gramophone magazine, “His playing quivers with an almost hypnotic intensity.” A local favorite, Mr. Bax has headlined a succession of memorable concerts with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra in recent years, including a spellbinding performance of Beethoven’s monumental “Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5 to conclude last season.  

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra is led by the peerless Heiichiro Ohyama, now in his 34th year as the ensemble’s music director and conductor. Over the course of his distinguished career Maestro Ohyama also has served as principal violist and assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; principal chief conductor of the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra in Fukuoka, Japan, and the Osaka Symphony Orchestra; artistic director of La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; and music director of the Nagasaki Music Festival. Also a professor of music at the University of California from 1973 to 2003, he received the 1991 Gruber Award for Excellence in Chamber Music Teaching in Los Angeles.

The concert on May 16 will be preceded by the Chamber Orchestra’s final “Supper Club” dinner of the 2016-17 season. Featuring Refugio Ranch wines and deliciously unique Italian cuisine by Chef Renato Moiso of Santa Barbara’s celebrated Via Maestra 42 restaurant, the event will take place at 6 pm in the Lobero courtyard, preceded by wine service at 5:30 pm. Dinner tickets cost $50 and seating is limited. Call 805-966-2441 for more information.


KUSC Host Alan Chapman, S.B. Chamber Orchestra Team up for an Evening of Music and Dialogue

Popular radio host Alan Chapman will join several members of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra for an intimate evening of chamber music and related discussion at the University Club of Santa Barbara on Tuesday, April 4. Featuring a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s exquisite String Quartet No. 3, Op. 44, the program will begin at 7:30 pm. Wine and dessert will be served. Tickets cost $64; seating is limited.

Mr. Chapman hosts and produces three regular programs on Classical KUSC, the nation’s largest and most-listened-to public radio and nonprofit classical music station. Currently a member of the music theory faculty at Colburn Conservatory, he was a longtime member of the music faculty at Occidental College and has been a visiting professor at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. His analytical work has appeared in the Journal of Music Theory and in The New Orpheus: Essays on Kurt Weill, winner of the Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing on music. Well known as a pre-concert lecturer, Mr. Chapman has been a regular speaker on the L.A. Philharmonic’s Upbeat Live series since its inception in 1984. He also works closely with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Los Angeles Opera, and Pacific Symphony. His lectures have been presented by virtually every major performing organization in Southern California, and he can be heard globally as programmer and host of the inflight classical channel on Delta Airlines. Mr. Chapman also is active as a composer/lyricist and frequently appears in cabaret performances with his wife, soprano Karen Benjamin. They made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 and performed at Lincoln Center in 2006.

Representing the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra will be Kathleen Sloan and Hwi Eun Kim (violin), Maestro Heiichiro Ohyama (viola), and Catherine Chan Biagini (cello). 

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra will conclude its 2016-17 season on May 16 with Schumann’s intensely expressive Piano Concerto in A Minor featuring the electrifying Alessio Bax at the Lobero Theatre. 


Rosso Named Institutional Advancement Director for the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra

Linda Rosso, a former interior designer turned nonprofit fundraising professional, has been named director of institutional advancement for the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. Her appointment was effective November 16.

Ms. Rosso most recently served as executive director of the Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation, where she oversaw development, outreach, and strategic planning efforts. She previously worked as a development and event-planning specialist with the American Diabetes Association after serving as a development consultant for Lincoln Unified School District in Stockton, California. Having begun her career as an assistant to the vice president of international marketing at Diamond Walnut Growers, Ms. Rosso went on to serve as interior design and project coordinator at California Homes Inc. before founding Corfino Inc., which grew to become a multimillion-dollar firm providing construction, development, and project management services. She studied at San Joaquin Delta College and San Jose State University, and is currently enrolled in the Leadership Program at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara.    

In her new role, Ms. Rosso will oversee patron relations and corporate and foundation outreach for the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.   

“Two years ago, we started on a path to restructure the inner workings of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra with a sound business and strategic plan that would sustain the orchestra for the long term and continue bringing outstanding classical music experiences to our community and region,” said SBCO Board Chair Joe Campanelli. “As we approach our 40th anniversary and look to implement an endowment campaign we are pleased to welcome Linda to the SBCO. Her years of experience and success with the Courthouse Legacy Foundation make her a great addition to our team.”

The SBCO’s 2016-17 season will continue with a performance of Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe featuring Maestro Heiichiro Ohyama on viola at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on February 14. Additional highlights include a woodwind showcase on March 21 (Lobero Theatre), and a chamber music and dialogue event featuring KUSC host Alan Chapman on April 4 (University Club), before Alessio Bax closes out the season May 16 with Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor at the Lobero. 


SBCO Releases Study Results on Cognitive Benefits of Classical Music

Live classical music performances offer greater therapeutic value for individuals suffering cognitive or neurological impairment than do classical music recordings, according to the results of an innovative study recently undertaken by the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra (SBCO). Titled “Classical Connections,” the effort involved chamber music performances for elderly dementia patients by SBCO musicians over a four-week period at Santa Barbara’s Friendship Center Adult Day Care, a project collaborator. According to lead researcher Lori Sunshine, some 95 percent of study participants evinced positive emotional, social, and physical responses to the performances, whereas observable responses to recordings were both less evident and less expressive. The SBCO plans to launch a follow-up study this spring.

Ms. Sunshine believes the results bolster the case for greater human interaction with elderly dementia patients, though she concedes more research is needed.

“These findings are broadly consistent with other studies that were similarly structured, and we know that classical music confers unique therapeutic benefits to those who suffer with dementia,” said Ms. Sunshine, a board-certified music therapist for more than 35 years. “Seniors living in assisted-care residences because of neurological decline invariably come to miss their connections to old friends and loved ones, leading to a sense of isolation. The feeling of belonging they once knew in their community also disappears. Live classical music performances bring beauty, joy, memory, community, and human connection back into their lives.”

Ms. Sunshine currently works with Livingston Memorial Hospice and St. John’s Regional Medical Center, both in Ventura County, and has practiced in New Mexico, New York, and Europe.

“We are proud to be in the forefront of this important work,” said SBCO Board Chair Joe Campanelli. “As an organization, we strive to not only play great music, but to do great things with it. As we move into phase two this spring, we look forward to seeing how these initial studies can open the door for real funding to take this work to a significant level benefiting all those who suffer cognitive impairment.”

Classical Connections was generously supported by Union Bank, the James S. Bower Foundation, the Rotary Club of Montecito Foundation, and the Williams-Corbett Foundation.


Heiichiro Ohyama to Perform on Viola in Valentine’s Day Concert at Area Museum

Heiichiro Ohyama, music director and conductor of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, will be the featured violist in a unique performance of Robert Schumann’s famed Dichterliebe (“A Poet’s Love”) at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s Fleischmann Auditorium on Tuesday, February 14. Schumann’s eminently lyrical song cycle, often cited as the most popular in Western art music, will be arranged for viola and piano. Simon Williams, chair of UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Theater and Dance, will serve as narrator, and guest artist Yi Dong will be the featured pianist. Also including Mendelssohn’s delightful Piano Quartet No. 2 in F Minor, the concert will begin at 7:30 pm, following a wine and chocolate reception. Ticket sales are underway.

Now in his 34th year as the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra’s music director and conductor, Heiichiro Ohyama first made a name for himself as a violist of extraordinary grace and finesse. Over the course of his distinguished career he has also served as principal violist and assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; principal chief conductor of the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra in Fukuoka, Japan, and the Osaka Symphony Orchestra; artistic director of La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; and music director of the Nagasaki Music Festival. Also a professor of music at the University of California from 1973 to 2003, he received the 1991 Gruber Award for Excellence in Chamber Music Teaching in Los Angeles.

The February 14 concert will be preceded by a complimentary chocolate and wine tasting featuring Jessica Foster Confections, Fox Wine Company and Bella Cavalli Farms & Vineyard beginning at 6:30 pm. Tickets for the performance and tasting cost $64 and can be purchased at the Lobero Theatre Ticket Office, 805-963-0761, or by calling 805-966-2441. Additional SBCO ticketing details are available at sbco.org/concerts/tickets.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is located at 2559 Puesta Del Sol in Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra will next present a woodwind showcase on March 21 (Lobero Theatre) and a chamber music and dialogue event featuring KUSC host Alan Chapman on April 4 (University Club) before the electrifying Alessio Bax closes out the 2016-17 season on May 16 with Schumann’s intensely expressive Piano Concerto in A Minor at the Lobero. 


Paul Huang to Join S.B. Chamber Orchestra For Beethoven’s Famed Violin Concerto in D

Paul Huang, whose intensely eloquent interpretations and effortless virtuosity have enthralled audiences and critics the world over, will join the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s expansive and groundbreaking Violin Concerto in D at the Lobero Theatre on Tuesday, January 24. Also featuring Franz Schubert’s much-loved and majestic “Great” Symphony, the concert will begin at 7:30 pm, following the orchestra’s first “Supper Club” dinner of the season. Ticket sales are underway.

Recipient of the prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Mr. Huang has been lauded by The Strad magazine for his “stylish and polished playing.” Following his Kennedy Center debut, The Washington Post proclaimed him “an artist with the goods for a significant career.” In 2013, The New York Times applauded his “masterly account of Barber’s Violin Concerto” with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Alice Tully Hall. Mr. Huang’s appearances with locally based Camerata Pacifica have met with similar critical effusions, at one point prompting the Santa Barbara Independent to note his “commanding tone and confident diction.”

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra is led by the peerless Heiichiro Ohyama, now in his 34th year as the ensemble’s music director and conductor. Over the course of his distinguished career Maestro Ohyama also has served as principal violist and assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; principal chief conductor of the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra in Fukuoka, Japan, and the Osaka Symphony Orchestra; artistic director of La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; and music director of the Nagasaki Music Festival. Also a professor of music at the University of California from 1973 to 2003, he received the 1991 Gruber Award for Excellence in Chamber Music Teaching in Los Angeles.

The January 24 concert will be preceded by the Chamber Orchestra’s first “Supper Club” dinner of the 2016-17 season. Featuring Pence Ranch wines and deliciously unique Italian cuisine by Chef Renato Moiso of Santa Barbara’s celebrated Via Maestra 42 restaurant, the event will take place at 6 pm in the Lobero courtyard. Wine service will begin at 5:30 pm. Dinner tickets cost $50 and seating is limited. Call 805-966-2441 for more information.

The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 East Canon Perdido Street in Santa Barbara. Concert tickets cost $54 and $64, and can be purchased at the Lobero Theatre Ticket Office, 805-963-0761, or by calling 805-966-2441. Additional SBCO ticketing details are available at sbco.org/concerts/tickets.   

The SBCO’s 2016-17 season will continue on Valentine’s Day with a performance of Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. The Chamber Orchestra also will present a woodwind showcase on March 21 (Lobero Theatre) and a chamber music and dialogue event featuring KUSC host Alan Chapman on April 4 (University Club) before the electrifying Alessio Bax closes out the season May 16 with Schumann’s intensely expressive Piano Concerto in A Minor at the Lobero.

Complete season program information is available online at http://sbco.org/concerts/season.    

Founded in 1978, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra is devoted to presenting concerts and programming of exceptional quality, and to fostering engagement with classical music among community members of all ages. The organization’s reputation for excellence has long attracted musicians of uncommon achievement. Current and former SBCO musicians perform with the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera, Pacific Symphony, and the Santa Barbara Symphony. Acclaimed conductor Heiichiro Ohyama has served as music director of the ensemble since 1983. For more information, visit www.sbco.org.