More than half a millennium of classical music comes to Santa Barbara this winter, including both medieval and modern works it’s likely you’ve never heard before-but that you will want to hear again-and the most familiar work of music in history, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Jordi Savall’s Hesprion XXI group takes us back to the 15th century with an extraordinary concert produced by CAMA in February; Camerata Pacifica and Philip Glass send us forward to the 20th and 21st centuries in February and March. You’ll hear lots of Beethoven, too, by Pinchas Zuckerman and the Royal Philharmonic, among many others.
The southland’s most adventurous chamber group gives us the world premiere of Ian Wilson’s “Heft for Flute and Piano,” along with works by Mozart and Harbison.
Fri., Jan. 11, 1 and 8pm. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta del Sol Rd. Call 884-8410 or visit cameratapacifica.org.
International Percussion Festival
When the International Percussion Festival comes to town, you’ll know it. The festival starts with a free concert at Casa de la Guerra featuring Dancing Drum (ask anyone younger than eight about them), and winds up with the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto as performed by the Santa Barbara Symphony with soloist Colin Currie, as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, most likely the one symphony by Beethoven you haven’t already heard. Currie will also play in a Rhythm Rainbow concert at Victoria Hall Theater on Thursday, January 17, with an all-star group of percussionists from the world’s finest symphony orchestras.
Festival Kickoff: Sat., Jan. 12, 3pm; Casa de la Guerra, 15 E. De la Guerra St.
Percussion Festival Grand Finale: Sat., Jan. 19, 8pm and Sun., Jan. 20, 3pm; Arlington Theatre. Call 898-9626 or visit thesymphony.org.
Helen Callus and Robert Koenig
In this program, titled Seasons of Life, the new head of Collaborative Piano at UCSB, Robert Koenig, and virtuoso violist Helen Callus present works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and Hindemith, each with references to seasons or months in their titles.
Sun., Jan. 13, 3pm. Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St. Call 893-7001 or visit music.ucsb.edu.
This concert, part of the Pearl Chase Society series of musical events held in historical settings, will take place at the Eichheim House in Montecito, a 1922 George Washington Smith home designed for composer Henry Eichheim.
Sun., Jan. 13, 3 and 5pm. Eichheim House. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra
If you like British Romantic poetry, you’ll love British Romantic music. Heiichiro Ohyama conducts the S.B. Chamber Orchestra and violinist Kyoko Takezawa in Sir Edward Elgar’s breathtaking Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op. 61. (Elgar also wrote “Pomp and Circumstance,” but give him a chance anyway.)
Tue., Jan. 22, 7:30pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 966-2441 or visit sbco.org.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
This distinguished British orchestra, led by renowned violinist Pinchas Zuckerman, comes to Santa Barbara with more Elgar (Serenade for Strings, Op. 20), Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and the Bruch Violin Concerto.
Wed., Jan. 23, 8pm. Arlington Theatre. Call 966-4324 or visit camasb.org.
Alexander Russakovsky and Amber Shay Nicholson
UCSB graduate Alexander Russakovsky returns to play the Beethoven Cello Sonatas as part of the UCSB Music Department’s Guest Artist Series.
Sat., Jan. 26, 8pm. UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. Call 893-7001 or visit music.ucsb.edu.
Chamber works with an Eastern European accent dominate the program in Camerata Pacifica’s February concert, with Penderecki’s “Cadenza for Solo Viola,” Schnittke’s “Praeludium in Memoriam D. Shostakovich,” and other works by Bart³k, Kod¡ly, Kurt¡g, and Schumann.
Fri., Feb. 8, 1 and 8pm. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta del Sol Rd. Call 884-8410 or visit cameratapacifica.org.
Scholar, musician, and conductor Jordi Savall, his ensemble Hesprion XXI, and the voices of La Capella Reial de Catalunya explore the “Lost Paradises” of America and Spain before 1492, with early music works from the Christian, Arab, and Jewish traditions.
Thu., Feb. 14, 8pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 966-4324 or visit camasb.org.
Opera Santa Barbara Festival
Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci get the double-bill treatment at this year’s opera fest, and tenor Allan Glassman will go for opera’s version of the iron man by singing leads in both on the same night, a feat only attempted by a few singers in history, most notably Enrico Caruso and Pl¡cido Domingo. The second weekend of the festival brings Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore.
Cav/Pag program: Sat., Feb. 23, 7:30pm; Fri., Feb. 29, 7:30pm; Sun., Mar. 2, 2:30pm; Sat., Mar. 8, 7:30pm.
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
This illustrious orchestra, founded by DvorË¡k himself, comes to Santa Barbara on its tour of the New World. You’ll hear Czech composer Bohuslav MartinuË’ ‘s First Symphony and the overpowering sound of Mahler’s Fifth.
Thu., Feb. 28, 8pm. Arlington Theatre. Call 966-4324 or visit camasb.org.
Composer Philip Glass brings his enigmatic, minimalist style to UCSB with a concert of his works for solo piano.
Sun., Mar. 2, 7pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.