Just in: the music stops in Santa Barbara

Just in: the music stops in Santa Barbara


norman lebrecht

August 02, 2017

Desperate efforts over the past week to keep the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra alive failed last night when the board voted to shut down the orchestra after 38 years.

‘Efforts to garner increased community support and seat a new Board came up short,’ said Board Chair Joe Campanelli. ‘I want to personally thank all those who have supported this great orchestra over the years. The organization also deeply appreciates the extraordinary dedication of our talented musicians and brilliant music director, Heiichiro Ohyama, as well as our Board. If funding is available, a grand celebratory concert may be planned.’

Sad times.


  • Olassus says:

    They probably didn’t tour enough.

    • Suzanne says:

      Somewhat (at least) ignorant comment (ie “didn’t tour enough”). It takes $$$$ to tour. Thus if you review the USA performing arts scene, you will see many fewer groups actually embark on tours, at all, over the last decade plus. And the goal of SBCO was not necessarily outside of its more immediate base area (Santa Barbara, and occasionally in the past, down to LA, where many of its players reside and also work) as it was.

      • James says:

        I hope Suzanne can see that this was a brilliant, sarcastic comment. Orchestras tour themselves into the ground but sometimes think a tour will save them. Classus was referring to that.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Joe, so sorry to learn this. I do sincerely hope there can be a revitalization within the community to bring a new chamber orchestra to being, which can sustain through challenging times.

  • Erik says:

    Very sorry to see the orchestra go. I had the opportunity to play under Maestro Ohyama away from California and it was a phenomenal experience. The Santa Barbara community supports the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, and Music Academy of the West in addition to the Chamber Orchestra. I do not know any specifics regarding the closing, but supporting three organizations of that caliber would strain any community. I wish the best for the musicians of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, but classical music is still alive and well in Santa Barbara. Just this past week the Music Academy of the West presented a combined outdoor concert with the New York Philharmonic to a sold-out 7,500-person audience.