Orchestra Spotlight:
San Francisco Symphony

Full OrchestraThe 105 member San Francisco Symphony (click to enlarge)

The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) gave its first concerts in December 1911, and since then has developed a long and distinguished history marked by artistic excellence, dedication to community, educational initiatives, international tours, acclaimed recordings, and innovative programming for which the Orchestra has garnered numerous awards. Over the years, the SFS has grown in stature and acclaim under a succession of distinguished music directors: Henry Hadley (among the foremost American composers of his era), Alfred Hertz, Basil Cameron, Issay Dobrowen, the legendary Pierre Monteux, Enrique Jorda, Josef Krips, Seiji Ozawa, Edo de Waart, and Herbert Blomstedt (who, after a decade-long tenure that began in 1985, now serves as Conductor Laureate). The ensemble is currently led by Michael Tilson Thomas.

Davies RenovationDavies Hall Rennovation (click to enlarge)

The orchestra performs in 2,743 seat Davies Symphony Hall which opened its doors to the public for the first time on September 16, 2019. The hall underwent a $10.25 million renovation (raised entirely through private funds) during the summer of 1992 and reopened later that fall on September 9th. Improvements included enhanced acoustical properties, updating the interior décor, providing improved facilities for the physically disabled.

The ensemble is comprised of 105 full time players, five conductors, a 217 member chorus of 187 volunteers and 30 professional singers, more than 80 board members, and 100 full time administrators. The organization also maintains a full youth ensemble, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, which is in its 25th year of operation.

Michael Tilson ThomasSFS Music Director, Michael Tilson Thomas (click to enlarge)

Michael Tilson Thomas assumed his post as the San Francisco Symphony's 11th Music Director in September 1995, consolidating a strong relationship with the Orchestra that began some two decades earlier. It was January of 1974 when he made his San Francisco Symphony conducting debut at the age of 29, leading the Orchestra in Mahler's Symphony No. 9. Tilson Thomas's ten seasons as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony have been praised by critics for innovative programming and for bringing the works of American composers to the fore, and have brought new audiences into Davies Symphony Hall. During his inaugural 1995-96 season, Tilson Thomas included an American work on nearly every one of his SFS programs, and ended the season with An American Festival, a ground-breaking two-week celebration of American music.

Comments (Click to Hide)

Any chance we can get Thomas to do an interview about his conducting Mahler? Having sung the Finale from Sypmphony #2, the emotional output required was something else. What does it take to conduct Mahler? Is it the same? What did he learn from Lennie B about Mahler? Lennie was like Bruno Walter, Mahler was in his blood.
zarzuela on July 11, 2019 at 3:06 PM

Please log in to comment: