This fall, Santa Barbara will have a wealth of great classical music performances. Internationally famous artists, such as Andr¡s Schiff and the Emerson String Quartet, will be arriving soon. Local heroes, such as the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, and Camerata Pacifica, will be dazzling us with their new seasons, and a few up-and-coming visitors, such as the Phoenix Piano Quartet and pianist Margaret Mills, will show us something new.
Always interesting and frequently amazing, Camerata Pacifica opens its season with Mozart’s Concerto for Piano and String Quintet in A Major, K 414, and piano sonatas by Liszt (No. 21) and Beethoven (“Waldstein”). Fri., Sept. 14, 1 and 7:30pm. Lehmann Hall, Music Academy of the West, 1070 Fairway Rd. Call 884-8410 or visit cameratapacifica.org.
Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra
In an interesting twist, Heiichiro Ohyama will both conduct and play viola in the chamber orchestra’s first concert of the season. Along with violist Helen Callus, this extraordinary group will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-flat Major and serenades by DvoÅ¡k and Brahms. Tue., Sept. 18, 7:30pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 966-2441 or visit sbco.org.
Margaret Mills, Piano
International touring artist Margaret Mills will explore Buddhist thought in Four Meditations from Dogen by UCSB professor and composer Joel Feigin. The concert will also include works by Ravel, Debussy, Corigliano, and Schumann. Sat., Sept. 29, 8pm. Karl Geiringer Hall, UCSB. Call 893-7001 or visit music.ucsb.edu.
Phoenix Piano Quartet
The UCSB Distinguished Chamber Music Guest Artists Series presents this wide-ranging and adventurous group, with Jonathan Swartz, violin; Nancy Buck, viola; Thomas Landschoot, cello; and Laura Melton, piano. They will play both well-known chamber pieces by Mozart and Brahms, as well as 20th-century works by James DeMars and Stephen Hartke. Sat., Oct. 6, 8pm. Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UCSB. Call 893-7001 or visit music.ucsb.edu.
Andr¡s Schiff, Piano
CAMA’s Masterseries begins with the extraordinary pianist Andr¡s Schiff performing Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas 5-8. Schiff, well-known for his explorations of Bach and Schumann, will certainly give us a concert to remember. Fri., Oct. 12, 8pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 966-4324 or visit camasb.org.
Santa Barbara Symphony Opening Gala
Get ready for an ocean of sound: Conductor Nir Kabaretti and pianist Shai Wosner wash over the beginning of the S.B. Symphony’s season with Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Brahms’s First Symphony. Sat., Oct. 13, 8pm; Sun., Oct. 14, 3pm. Arlington Theatre. Call 898-9326 or visit thesymphony.org.
Emerson String Quartet
The annual return of these Grammy Award winners to Santa Barbara is always a cause for celebration. They’ll play works by Haydn and Shostakovich, as well as Beethoven’s incomparable String Quartet No. 7, the first of the “Razumovsky” quartets and one of the high points in the history of music. Tue., Oct. 23, 8pm. Campbell Hall, UCSB. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Hansel and Gretel
Opera Santa Barbara opens its season with Humperdinck’s opera for children, sung in English and guaranteed to please. Valry Rivkin conducts, with Sarah Campbell as Hansel, Sarah Viola as Gretel, and Teresa Brown as the Witch. Sat., Oct. 27, 2 and 4pm. Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota St. Call 898-3890 or visit operasb.com.
Ingrid Fliter, Piano
CAMA’s Masterseries continues with Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter, who brings her remarkable sensitivity to works by Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, and Chopin. This concert will undoubtedly be a profound experience of some of the greatest works for piano. Tue., Nov. 6, 8pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 966-4324 or visit camasb.org.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
David Finckel and Wu Han, artistic directors of this celebrated chamber group, along with tenor Russell Thomas, violinists Ani Kavafian and Arnaud Sussmann, violist Paul Neubauer, and cellist Fred Sherry, bring the English countryside to Santa Barbara in England 1900-1930: A Musical Renaissance, with works by John Ireland, Sir William Walton, and Edward Elgar. Thu., Nov. 8, 8pm. First United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu St. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Santa Barbara Symphony’s All-American Concert
Nir Kabaretti, with violinist Tai Murray, shows us the full glory of America’s symphonic repertoire, with performances of Copland’s Outdoor Overture, Barber’s Violin Concerto, Gershwin’s An American in Paris, and Bernstein’s West Side Story Symphonic Dances. Sat., Nov. 10, 8pm; Sun., Nov. 11, 3pm. Arlington Theatre. Call 898-9326 or visit thesymphony.org.
St. Petersburg Philharmonic
Nikolai Alexeev will conduct one of Europe’s oldest and most distinguished orchestras in a performance of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major and Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, with pianist Nelson Freire as soloist. Presented by CAMA. Tue., Nov. 13, 8pm. Arlington Theatre. Call 966-4324 or visit camasb.org.