Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra at the Lobero Theatre: Maestro Heiichiro Ohyama excels at putting together largely traditional programs that still manage to challenge both his players and the audience. In the SBCO’s 2012-13 season opener, he juxtaposes three divertimenti — two by Mozart, and one for strings by Bartók — with Beethoven’s monumental Grosse Fuge, Op. 133. Originally written as the closing movement of the great composer’s final string quartet, the Grosse Fuge will be performed in an arrangement for string orchestra designed to bring out the heft and accentuate the drama in what critic Alex Ross has called “the most radical work by the most formidable composer in history.” As part of a new program called sbcomes2u, special $14 tickets will be made available to patrons between the ages of 15-35. Tuesday, October 2, 7:30 p.m. Call 966-2441 or visit sbco.org.
Patricia von Blumröder, piano, at UCSB’s Karl Geiringer Hall: It’s the centennial year for iconoclastic American composer John Cage, and in celebration, UCSB’s Department of Music will present a free concert of Cage’s piano Sonatas and Interludes by Oakland-born and German- and American-trained pianist Patricia von Blumröder. These 20 short compositions for prepared piano were inspired by Cage’s exposure to Indian music and reflect his interest in the rasas, a set of nine fundamental emotional states that the music is understood to inspire in listeners. The pieces, which are widely regarded as among Cage’s best work, represent the composer at his most elemental and his most ethereal. Thursday, October 18, 7 p.m. in UCSB’s Karl Geiringer Hall. Call 893-7748 or visit www.music.ucsb.edu.
Santa Barbara Symphony at the Granada Theatre: The Santa Barbara Symphony’s 60th anniversary season-opener features a favorite guest artist of Santa Barbara audiences: pianist André Watts. The program includes the Santa Barbara Overture of Emma Lou Diemer and two great works in C minor, the Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 of Ludwig van Beethoven, and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18. These latter pieces are among the most popular compositions in the history of music, and their reputations are more than justified by the quality of the works. Overall, it’s a great opportunity to hear what maestro Nir Kabaretti has done to elevate this already accomplished orchestra to an international level of prowess. Saturday, October 20, 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 21, 3 p.m. Call 898-9386 or visit thesymphony.org.
Camerata Pacifica. At the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall, Saturday, September 22.
Lang Lang. At the Granada Theatre, Wednesday, October 3.
Murray Perahia. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall, Thursday, October 11.
Camerata Pacifica. At the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall, Friday, October 12.
Nicole McKenzie and Betty Oberacker. At UCSB’s Karl Geiringer Hall, Sunday, October 21.
Ensemble Basiani of Georgia. At the First United Methodist Church, Sunday, October 21.
Manuel Barrueco. At the Lobero Theatre, Wednesday, October 24.
Madame Butterfly, presented by Opera Santa Barbara. At the Granada Theatre, Friday and Sunday, November 2 and 4.
Camerata Pacifica. At the Music Academy of the West’s Hahn Hall, Friday, November 9.
Santa Barbara Symphony. At the Granada Theatre, Saturday-Sunday, November 10-11.
Philharmonia Orchestra of London. At the Granada Theatre, Friday, November 16.
UCSB Chamber Choir. At St. Anthony’s Seminary Chapel, Friday, November 30.