The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra hits the Big 4-0, but they’re not worried about wrinkles or spare tires as they get ready for an anniversary gala harking back to the good old days. First off, there’s Sir Neville Marriner, the legendary founder of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, who was LACO’s first music director (1969-1978), and who returns, at age 84, to conduct a program that includes a work by the orchestra’s first composer-in-residence, Paul Chihara — an arrangement of Schumann’s charming Scenes From Childhood. Then there’s LACO’s current music director, Jeffrey Kahane, who’s tickled to death to be performing as soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 under the baton of his old idol. “When Sir Neville gave the downbeat at LACO’s first concert on October 27, 1969, I was a 13-year-old aspiring piano student,” Kahane recalls. “It is with particular joy that I welcome Sir Neville back to the podium and take my place at the piano, fulfilling a lifelong dream.” The concert and celebratory champagne toast promises to be fun enough, but for those with a few more bucks — say 750 of them — there’s a Ruby Jubilee Celebration afterward that includes a gala for Sir Neville, dinner, dancing and a live auction. Happy anniversary, LACO, and here’s to at least 40 more. Pictured, Jeffrey Kahane; photograph by Michael Burke. Ambassador Auditorium, 131 St. John St., Pasadena; Sat., Sept. 27, 6 p.m. celebratory toast, 6:30 p.m. concert; $30-$125 concert only; $750 Ruby Jubilee. (213) 622-7001, Ext. 215,

Sat., Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m., 2008

LA Weekly