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Since its beginning in 1911, the San Francisco Symphony has been known for innovative programs that offer a spectrum of traditional repertory and new music. Today, the Orchestra’s artistic vitality, recordings, and groundbreaking multimedia educational projects carry its impact throughout American musical life.
This season of the San Francisco Symphony features astounding performances from the Symphony’s long history, with performances from prestigious soloists, guest conductors, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Symphony’s newest Music Director.
Here are some highlights from the upcoming new season of the San Francisco Symphony, releasing in the Spring Quarter of 2024 as a part of the WFMT Orchestra Series:
- The season begins with the world premiere of Push by Trevor Weston, Emerging Black Composers Project winner. Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts a transcendent performance featuring Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor. Vocalists Golda Schultz and Michelle DeYoung, along with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, join forces to bring Mahler’s glorious vision to life (SFS 24-01 / WOS 23-40);
- Esa-Pekka Salonen continues the symphonic journey, presenting Igor Stravinsky’s explosive ballet score, The Firebird. Soprano Golda Schultz graces the stage for Jean Sibelius’s cosmic Luonnotar, followed by the United States premiere of Daniel Kidane’s San Francisco Symphony commission, Sun Poem (SFS 24-02 / WOS 23-41);
- Experience an extraordinary evening with Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, featuring the world premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Third Piano Concerto, showcasing the exceptional talent of pianist Yuja Wang. The program also includes Carl Nielsen’s sun-drenched Helios Overture and Béla Bartók’s powerful Concerto for Orchestra (SFS 24-03 / WOS 23-42);
- Conductor Elim Chan debuts with the San Francisco Symphony in a captivating performance featuring Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s sunny Second Symphony, Sergei Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto with James Ehnes, and the world premiere of a San Francisco Symphony commission by Elizabeth Ogonek titled Moondog (SFS 24-06 / WOS 23-45);
- Pianist Conor Hanick premieres a San Francisco Symphony commission of No Such Spring by Samuel Carl Adams, which sets the stage for Anton Bruckner’s imaginative Symphony No. 6 in A major. (SFS 24-08 / WOS 23-47)
- Conductor Cristian Măcelaru leads the symphony in Dmitri Shostakovich’s adventurous First Symphony and Wynton Marsalis’ celebration of Black history and folklore, Blues Symphony. San Francisco Symphony English horn player Russ de Luna stars in Outi Tarkiainen’s Milky Ways. (SFS 24-11 / WOS 23-50)
The San Francisco Symphony has grown in stature and acclaim under a succession of such distinguished music directors as Henry Hadley, Alfred Hertz, the legendary Pierre Monteux, Josef Krips, Seiji Ozawa, Edo de Waart, Herbert Blomstedt, and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Esa-Pekka Salonen assumed his post as the San Francisco Symphony’s twelfth Music Director in the 2020–21 season, embarking on a new vision for the present and future of the orchestral landscape. In their inaugural season together, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony introduce a groundbreaking artistic leadership model anchored by eight Collaborative Partners from a variety of cultural disciplines: Nicholas Britell, Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, Bryce Dessner, Pekka Kuusisto, Nico Muhly, Carol Reiley, and esperanza spalding. This group of visionary artists, thinkers, and doers, along with Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony, have set out to explore and develop new ideas inspired by the Partners’ unique areas of expertise, including innovative digital projects, expansive and imaginative performance concepts in a variety of concert formats, commissions of new music, and projects that foster collaboration across artistic and administrative areas.
The San Francisco Symphony has toured extensively to Europe, Asia and throughout the United States. It has won some of the world’s most prestigious recording awards, including 16 Grammy Awards, Japan’s Record Academy Award, France’s Grand Prix du Disque, Germany’s ECHO Klassik, Britain’s Gramophone Award, and International Music Critic’s Awards (ICMA.)
With the launch of the San Francisco Symphony’s own SFS Media label in 2001, Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra recorded all of Mahler’s symphonies and songs for voice and orchestra. SFS Media records and releases audio and visual material reflecting the Orchestra’s restless creativity and commitment to leading-edge production standards and showcasing the vibrant and inclusive musical communities it serves.. SFS Media has been at the forefront of production and distribution among the world’s leading orchestras for more than 20 years. SFS Media productions and recordings have garnered multiple Grammys, Emmys, and Peabody Awards. Recent releases include Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestra’s Grammy-nominated live-concert recording of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Ragnar Bohlin’s Grammy-nominated recording of György Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna, and live-concert recordings of works by Elizabeth Ogonek, Anders Hillborg, Ottorino Respighi, and Jean Sibelius featuring Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony.