About the SBCO

Celebrating the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra

A Santa Barbara Tradition since 1978

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra celebrates 34 years this season, and the mission has remained the same: to maintain a Chamber Orchestra in Santa Barbara that is of the highest artistic quality possible, to produce the finest music heard in Santa Barbara, and to perform well-known repertoire as well as music written in this century.

 _fcksavedurl=Founded in 1978 by Jeffrey Evans, a 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 we now hold our Chamber Players Series. After five years, Mr. Evans left the area to get his Ph.D. At that time our current Music Director, Heiichiro Ohyama took over and the direction of the Orchestra changed dramatically. Under Maestro Ohyama, the Chamber Orchestra has become an orchestra of professional musicians. Maestro Ohyama’s conducting and programming gifts have led the Chamber Orchestra to be known among many as the best artistic organization in Santa Barbara.

The level of musicianship held by our musicians and conductor is apparent in the number of world-renowned soloists the Chamber Orchestra has hosted over the years, many of whom return again and again due to the great artistic experience they have with the Chamber 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 graced the Lobero stage as guest soloist with the Chamber Orchestra. 

Many Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra musicians have gone on to other exciting musical endeavors. Sheryl Staples, Associate Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic is a former SBCO Concertmaster. Michelle Kim, who replaced Sheryl Staples’ position as SBCO Concertmaster, is now the Associate Assistant Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic.  Current and past SBCO musicians also perform with the LA Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Pacific Symphony, and Santa Barbara Symphony.

The Chamber Orchestra continues to offer the community musically engaging experiences, with its five-concert subscription series at the Lobero Theatre, October through May. The Chamber Players Series, a two-concert chamber music series, features Maestro Ohyama performing as violist with members of the Chamber Orchestra, as well as guest artists.

"Long after the curtains are drawn and the performance has ended, the experience lives with you and continues to inform your daily life. Seeing a fine performance can change your perspective on the world."

- Michael Towbes, Santa Barbara Philanthropist

Please join us for

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra’s

    Season Announcement Party

               for 2015-16

          Thursday, May 21, 2015

             4:00 pm—6:00 pm

                   The University Club 

                   RSVP 805-966-2441

      Admission is free; Reservation required

This event is sponsored by Montecito Bank and Trust 


Get Involved and Keep the Music Playing!


The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra depends more upon donations from individuals than any other source of income. Ticket sales alone do not cover the wonderful music provided by Maestro Ohyama and our world-class musicians. Please join us and help support this local treasure by calling: 966-2441.


The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra relies on its Volunteers to help create an unforgetable experience for our patrons. If you would like to help craft that unique musical experience, please contact us.