- Esa-Pekka Salonen leads world premiere performances of new works by Samuel Adams, Magnus Lindberg, and winner of the 2021 Emerging Black Composers Project Trevor Weston; U.S. premiere of Daniel Kidane’s Precipice Dances
- Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts two weeks of October programs dedicated to myth, magic, and horror, including the suite from Béla Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin, Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, HK Gruber’s Frankenstein!!, the suite from Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho, Franz Liszt’s Totentanz, and Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain
- Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts performances featuring Collaborative Partner Julia Bullock and returning guests Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Michelle DeYoung, Lang Lang, Igor Levit, and Yuja Wang, and Orchestral Series debuts by Bertrand Chamayou, Randall Goosby, Conor Hanick, Christopher Purves, and Golda Schultz
- Esa-Pekka Salonen leads programs anchored by Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica, Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5, Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra, and Igor Stravinsky’s complete The Firebird
FOUR-YEAR PARTNERSHIP WITH DIRECTOR PETER SELLARS
- Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestra announce four-year partnership with acclaimed director Peter Sellars, launching in June 2022 with staged production of Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex
- Peter Sellars directs new staged production of Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater in June 2023
- Future seasons include new Peter Sellars-staged productions of Olivier Messiaen’s La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ in 2024 and Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen featuring Collaborative Partner Julia Bullock in 2025
- Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the San Francisco Symphony’s Opening Night Gala on September 23, and the annual All San Francisco concert on September 22
- Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony perform at UC Davis’ Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall presented by Cal Performances
- Lang Lang plays Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto on a program with Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen
- Yuja Wang plays Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on a program with Gabriella Smith’s Tumblebird Contrails and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Nyx, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen
SPRING 2023 EUROPEAN TOUR TO PARIS, LUXEMBOURG, AND HAMBURG
- Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony embark on their first tour together March 9–17, 2023, with residencies at the Philharmonie de Paris in France and Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany
- Immersive four-day residencies in Paris and Hamburg feature San Francisco Symphony programs with Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Orchestra’s first-ever international SoundBox concerts, performances curated by San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partners Claire Chase and Nico Muhly, and educational and community engagement opportunities
- Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony are joined on tour by pianist Yuja Wang performing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and violinist Johan Dalene performing Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto
- SoundBox concerts in Paris and Hamburg, curated by Collaborative Partner Nico Muhly, feature Esa-Pekka Salonen and San Francisco Symphony musicians with pianist Yuja Wang
- In Paris, Collaborative Partner Claire Chase is joined by members of the San Francisco Symphony for Marcos Balter’s Pan solo flute, live electronics, and mass community participation
- Tour programs feature works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Marcos Balter, Samuel Barber, Béla Bartók, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jean Sibelius, Gabriella Smith, and Steven Stucky
- Julia Bullock joins Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony for Orchestral Series performances of works by George Gershwin and Margaret Bonds
- SoundBox Series features programs curated by Collaborative Partners Nicholas Britell, Pekka Kuusisto with composer Jesper Nordin, and Nico Muhly with pianist Yuja Wang
- San Francisco Symphony brings Collaborative Partner Nico Muhly’s SoundBox program, Codes, on tour to Paris and Hamburg, featuring Yuja Wang and Esa-Pekka Salonen
- Claire Chase performs and directs San Francisco and Paris performances of Marcos Balter’s Pan with members of the San Francisco Symphony and community participants
Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas
- Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas returns for four weeks of Orchestral Series programs
- Michael Tilson Thomas conducts U.S. premiere of Danny Elfman’s Cello Concerto with Gautier Capuçon; an all-Johannes Brahms program featuring Emanuel Ax in Piano Concerto No. 1; and Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Debussy’s Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra
- Performances include works by Igor Stravinsky, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Claude Debussy, Olivier Messiaen, Gustav Mahler, and Heitor Villa-Lobos
2022–23 Artist-in-Residence Pianist Igor Levit
- Igor Levit performs Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 and Ferruccio Busoni’s Piano Concerto with San Francisco Symphony Chorus in Orchestral Series concerts conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen
- Igor Levit performs Great Performers Series recital and Chamber Series program
Additional Orchestral Series highlights
- West Coast premiere of San Francisco Symphony co-commission Her Story by Julia Wolfe, which invokes the words of historical figures and the spirit of pivotal moments to pay tribute to the centuries of ongoing struggle for equal rights, representation, and access to democracy for women in America, featuring the Lorelei Ensemble and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero
- Edwin Outwater conducts the San Francisco Symphony premiere of Gabriel Kahane’s emergency shelter intake form, a song cycle exploring the perpetuation of systemic inequity and homelessness, featuring mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran and vocalists Holland Andrews, Gabriel Kahane, and Holcombe Waller
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY MUSICIANS TAKE CENTER STAGE
- San Francisco Symphony Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik and Principal Oboe Eugene Izotov perform J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C minor, BWV 1060, led by Jane Glover
- San Francisco Symphony English Horn Russ de Luna gives the world premiere of Outi Tarkiainen’s Milky Ways, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and led by Cristian Măcelaru
ORCHESTRAL SERIES DEBUTS
- Orchestral Series debuts by five conductors: Elim Chan, Rafael Payare, Dalia Stasevska, Robin Ticciati, and Thomas Wilkins
- Guest artist Orchestral Series debuts by: Holland Andrews, Ian Bostridge, Alicia Hall Moran, Alina Ibragimova, Gabriel Kahane, Lorelei Ensemble, Branford Marsalis, Beatrice Rana, Gabriella Reyes, Issachah Savage, Reginald Smith, Jr., Conrad Tao, and Holcombe Waller, among others
RETURNING GUEST ARTISTS
- Returning guest conductors include Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, Jane Glover, Giancarlo Guerrero, Manfred Honeck, Philippe Jordan, Cristian Măcelaru, Edwin Outwater, Masaaki Suzuki, Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas, Juraj Valčuha, and Xian Zhang
- Returning guest artists include Behzod Abduraimov, Jonathon Adams, James Ehnes, Ying Fang, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, Kelley O’Connor, Lauren Snouffer, and Leif Aruhn-Solén, among others
Orchestral Series Premieres and Commissions
- Four world premieres, including San Francisco Symphony commissions of new works by Samuel Adams, Magnus Lindberg, and Elizabeth Ogonek, and a new work by 2021 Emerging Black Composers Project winner Trevor Weston
- United States premieres of San Francisco Symphony-commissioned works by Danny Elfman, Daniel Kidane, and Outi Tarkiainen, and the West Coast premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Her Story
- San Francisco Symphony Orchestral Series premieres of works by Margaret Bonds, Ferruccio Busoni, Stacy Garrop, George Gershwin, Gabriel Kahane, Hannah Kendall, Wynton Marsalis, Anna Meredith, Kaija Saariaho, Erwin Schulhoff, Gabriella Smith, William Grant Still, Jan Václav Voříšek, Jörg Widmann, and John Williams
SoundBox, Great Performers Series, Shenson Spotlight Series, and Film Series
- SoundBox returns for its ninth season with five programs curated by Collaborative Partner and composer Nicholas Britell, composer Reena Esmail, Collaborative Partner and violinist Pekka Kuusisto and composer Jesper Nordin, Collaborative Partner and composer Nico Muhly, and pianist and composer Conrad Tao
- Great Performers Series features pianists Leif Ove Andsnes, Igor Levit, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Daniil Trifonov; violinists Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, and Itzhak Perlman; the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason; and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Lahav Shani
- Four-concert Shenson Spotlight Series—featuring rising artists in their Davies Symphony Hall recital debuts—includes performances by violinist Bomsori with pianist Julia Okruashvili, violinist Johan Dalene, cellist Sterling Elliott with pianist Elliot Wuu, and pianist Alexander Malofeev
- Film Series features live-to-picture performances of Black Panther, Fantasia, The Godfather, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars: A New Hope
San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and Music for Families
- Wattis Foundation Music Director Daniel Stewart leads the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in five concerts culminating in a celebratory 40th anniversary performance featuring works by Huan-Zhi Li, George Gershwin, and Igor Stravinsky
- Resident Conductor of Engagement and Education Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts the San Francisco Symphony in three Music for Families concerts designed for families with children ages 5+
Subscriptions available now; single tickets go on sale July 16, 2022
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco Symphony and Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen today announced the Orchestra’s 111th season, bringing vibrant musical experiences and collaborative programming to San Francisco and abroad. Highlights of the new season include fifteen Esa-Pekka Salonen-led programs at Davies Symphony Hall, new and ongoing partnerships with luminaries from across the artistic landscape, Salonen’s first tour with the Orchestra to three European cities in March 2023, and a range of programs encompassing 30 works new to the San Francisco Symphony, including four world premieres and three U.S. premieres.
“I came to the San Francisco Symphony because I felt there was a potential for something powerfully transformative to take place here, in this city where things begin, in this state where anything is possible,” said Esa-Pekka Salonen. “I could feel that there was something fast approaching—something that I wanted to be a part of.
“Though my first season with the Symphony was largely spent away from San Francisco, I was happy to dive into that feeling of newness, to listen to the ideas that the Collaborative Partners, the musicians, and the staff of the Symphony were bringing to the table, and to imagine together how the Symphony could adapt to and outpace the times. Returning for our second season together, I am thrilled to see how enthusiastically the Symphony took to making these ideas a reality, and was struck by the eagerness of both the Symphony and its audience as we began to work together, learn from one another, and craft our future.
“Now, as we embark upon our third season together, I am very happy to take what we have created and share it with the world at large. Everything we have done together thus far has been deeply, deeply inspiring and encouraging for the future, and it is an immense privilege to spend another season working with and learning from this orchestra.”
Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony
In his third season as Music Director, Esa-Pekka Salonen leads fifteen programs at Davies Symphony Hall, in addition to performances in Berkeley and Davis, CA, and a nine-day, nine-concert tour to Europe, launching a new touring model with extended immersive stays in Paris and Hamburg. Salonen’s dedication to fostering collaborative relationships with artists from a multitude of perspectives continues in 2022–23 with a four-year partnership staging major works with director Peter Sellars (beginning in June 2022) and the addition of pianist Igor Levit as San Francisco Symphony Artist-in-Residence. The season also brings more visionary performances and unique programs with five of the San Francisco Symphony’s Collaborative Partners, both in concert in San Francisco and abroad.
2022 Opening Week Celebrations The San Francisco Symphony kicks off the 2022–23 Season with a celebratory opening week of performances conducted by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen.
On September 23, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony present the Opening Night Gala. The evening begins with pre-concert libations, followed by the opening night concert and an after-party for all ticket holders. Patrons can also reserve a Gala Package, which includes special festivities after the concert. Proceeds from the event benefit the Symphony’s education and community programs.
The annual All San Francisco Concert honors local social service and neighborhood organizations, in recognition of and gratitude for the work these groups do to serve and enrich the lives of Bay Area citizens. Attendees include community members, volunteers, and employees from a broad range of organizations such as First Exposures, San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project, Loco Bloco, and Hip Hop For Change, among many others. This year’s All San Francisco Concert on September 22 is guided by an advisory committee made up of local community and nonprofit leaders, with founder of the All San Francisco Concert, San Francisco Symphony Life Governor Ellen Magnin Newman, serving as honorary chair.
Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts six Orchestral Series weeks, September–October 2022In September and October 2022, Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts six weeks of Orchestral Series concerts featuring three world and U.S. premieres by composers Daniel Kidane, Magnus Lindberg, and Trevor Weston; Orchestral Series debuts by pianist Bertrand Chamayou, violinist Randall Goosby, baritone Christopher Purves, and soprano Golda Schultz; and performances at UC Davis’ Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, presented by Cal Performances.
Following the Opening Night celebration, on September 24, violinist Randall Goosby makes his San Francisco Symphony Orchestral Series debut performing Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 2. Salonen also conducts the Overture to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Impresario, K.486 and Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra—a tone poem made famous in popular culture by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
September 29–October 2, Salonen leads the world premiere of a new work by 2021 Emerging Black Composers Project winner Trevor Weston. Developed by the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), and the SFCM President’s Advisory Council on Equity, the Emerging Black Composers Project initiative fosters the creation, workshop, and performance of new music from early-career Black American composers. The second half of the program is devoted to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, featuring soprano Golda Schultz, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. “I heard music by Trevor Weston for the first time at the final jury meeting of the Emerging Black Composers Project, and I was immediately taken by the beauty and the energy of his music, and also the sparkle of ideas, which is rare,” said Salonen. “His music seemed to be completely alive. I’m greatly looking forward to conducting his piece before the Mahler Second Symphony.”
October 7–9, Golda Schultz joins Salonen and the Orchestra again for Sibelius’s Luonnotar. The program includes the U.S. premiere of Daniel Kidane’s Precipice Dances and Igor Stravinsky’s complete The Firebird. On October 6, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony perform this program at UC Davis’ Mondavi Center as part of the venue’s 20th anniversary season.
October 13–15, pianist Yuja Wang makes her first appearance of the season with the Orchestra, performing the world premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto on a program also including Carl Nielsen’s Helios Overture and Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. Wang returns to perform with Salonen and the Orchestra in March 2023 in advance of the Orchestra’s European tour.
October 20–22 and October 27–29, Esa-Pekka Salonen leads two programs dedicated to myth, magic, and horror. October 20–22, Salonen conducts Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, which evokes a witch’s Sabbath; Franz Liszt’s Totentanz, based on the haunting Dies irae and featuring pianist Bertrand Chamayou in his Orchestral Series debut; and Hector Berlioz’s revolutionary Symphony fantastique. The October 21 performance will take place at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, presented by Cal Performances.
The October 27–29 program features the suite to Béla Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin, a tale of prostitution, fraud, theft, and murder; the suite to Bernard Herrmann’s iconic score to Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho; and HK Gruber’s playful and dark Frankenstein!! with baritone Christopher Purves as the chansonnier.
Four programs highlighting the piano with Esa-Pekka Salonen in February & MarchIn the lead up to the Orchestra’s March 2023 European tour, Esa-Pekka Salonen returns February 17–March 2 for four programs highlighting guest pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Conor Hanick, Lang Lang, and Yuja Wang. The Orchestra also performs works by two Bay Area-based composers, Samuel Adams and Gabriella Smith.
February 17–19, pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard returns for Béla Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2, completing his cycle of performances of Bartók’s piano concertos with Salonen and the Orchestra that begins in June 2022. The program also includes Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin and selections from Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. February 20, Lang Lang joins Salonen and the Orchestra for a special one-night-only performance of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto, one of the composer’s most popular works, on a program with Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5. February 23, 25 & 26, pianist Conor Hanick makes his Orchestral Series debut as soloist in the Salonen-led world premiere performances of a new work for piano and orchestra by Bay Area-based composer Samuel Adams, which shares the program with Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6.
March 1 & 2, Yuja Wang joins Salonen and the Orchestra for two nights, performing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, which Wang will also perform during the Orchestra’s March 2023 European tour. The program also includes Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini and the San Francisco Symphony premiere of Gabriella Smith’s Tumblebird Contrails, a work inspired by the composer’s experience hiking Point Reyes National Seashore, which is also performed on the European tour.
A four-year partnership with Peter Sellars and the San Francisco SymphonyBeginning with Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms June 10–12, 2022, as part of the 2021–22 season, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestra launch a four-year partnership with revered theater and opera director Peter Sellars, staging four large-scale works created and premiered in the last century, performed over four years from 2022 to 2025. “I am very moved and excited to be able to create four major projects with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony early in their budding and flowering relationship,” said Sellars. “Each of these four encounters will certainly be lifetime highlights for me and I hope they give the San Francisco Symphony and their public unforgettable, radically liberating, and profoundly refreshing experiences.”
On June 8, 10 & 11, 2023, Sellars directs a new staged production of Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater, the composer’s second opera, an intensely moving work exploring the relationship between a mother and her son as they navigate a world rumbling with the threat of violence. Saariaho dedicated Adriana Mater to Sellars, who directed the world premiere performances at Opéra Bastille in Paris in 2006, which Salonen also conducted. “Adriana Mater was Kaija’s second opera after the huge success of her first one, L’Amour de Loin, which was an allegorical love story, quite static in the best sense of the word,” said Salonen. “In Adriana, Kaija decided to go for drama. It’s a very stark, violent story about a wartime rape, motherhood, and dealing with the past that affect several generations.”
“One of Kaija Saariaho’s most powerful works, her second opera Adriana Mater is waiting to be heard with fresh ears in a society now sharply attuned to issues of violence against women and the human costs of raising children in times of war,” said Sellars. “With a wise, heartbreaking, prescient, and revelatory libretto by the great novelist Amin Maalouf, Kaija’s eloquent opera speaks with the clarity, force, and humanity that our world is searching for.”
Future seasons include new Peter Sellars-staged performances in 2024 of Olivier Messiaen’s ambitious and evocative La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, one of his largest works featuring a chorus of 100; and in 2025 of Leoš Janáček’s tragicomedy The Cunning Little Vixen featuring Collaborative Partner Julia Bullock in the titular role.
“Peter has been my most frequent and most important collaborator in the world of theater and stage performances since we first worked together in 1992,” said Salonen. “We have done countless things together—dramatized concerts, productions, and semi-staged performances. I’m very happy that this collaboration is continuing and developing through this four-year partnership.”
Sellars is one of the leading theater, opera, and television directors in the world today and is known for his ground-breaking and innovative interpretations of beloved operas. Prior to these upcoming performances, he directed San Francisco Symphony performances of two John Adams operas: El Niño in 2001 with conductor Kent Nagano and A Flowering Tree in 2007 with Adams conducting.
Spring 2023 European TourMarch 9–17, 2023, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony embark on their first tour together—and the Symphony’s first international tour since 2016—with performances at the Philharmonie de Paris in France, Philharmonie Luxembourg, and Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany. In a new touring model, Salonen and the Orchestra bring the full breadth of the San Francisco Symphony’s innovative programming and educational initiatives to immersive four-day residencies in Paris (March 9–12) and Hamburg (March 14–17) as part of a multi-year symphonic and cultural exchange between the San Francisco Symphony and each of the cities.
Paris has been a sister city to San Francisco since 1997. The relationship was recently renewed on March 24 alongside a new cultural accord, signed by San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed and Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, dedicated to a collaborative exchange between the San Francisco Symphony and the Philharmonie de Paris, with plans to co-commission new works, create new concert experiences, and commit to regular exchanges between the two orchestras, San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Orchestre de Paris Music Director Klaus Mäkelä. As part of this partnership, Mäkelä makes his San Francisco Symphony Orchestral Series debut April 28–30, 2022 and will travel with the Orchestre de Paris to San Francisco in March 2024. Salonen, the San Francisco Symphony, and Collaborative Partners will also return to Paris for a series of performances in 2024.
Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestra will perform two concert programs in both Paris and Hamburg in March 2023—including works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Marcos Balter, Samuel Barber, Béla Bartók, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Jean Sibelius, Gabriella Smith, Steven Stucky, and his own composition, Nyx. Yuja Wang joins the Orchestra in all three tour cities to perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and violinist Johan Dalene—one of the musicians featured in the San Francisco Symphony’s Shenson Spotlight Series, which highlights ascendent artists in their Davies Symphony Hall recital debuts—makes his San Francisco Symphony debut performing Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto in concerts in Paris and Hamburg.
Salonen and the Orchestra are also joined on tour by two of the Symphony’s eight Collaborative Partners: flutist Claire Chase and composer Nico Muhly. In Paris on March 12, Chase is joined by members of the San Francisco Symphony for Marcos Balter’s Pan, a “musical drama” for solo flute, live electronics, and an ensemble of community musicians. Chase commissioned Pan as a part of Density 2036, a 24-year project that she created in 2013 to commission a new body of repertory for solo flute each year until the 100th anniversary of Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking 1936 flute solo, Density 21.5. Nico Muhly joins Salonen, pianist Yuja Wang, and members of the Orchestra for two performances of his SoundBox program, Codes, in Paris and Hamburg on March 9 and 17, respectively.
In Hamburg, members of the Orchestra will participate in educational events at the Elbphilharmonie.
Collaborative Partners with the San Francisco Symphony San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partners Nicholas Britell, Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, Pekka Kuusisto, and Nico Muhly present innovative programs and special, one-of-a-kind performances throughout the season, both in San Francisco and abroad.
The San Francisco Symphony’s SoundBox series features three Collaborative Partner curators this season: pianist and composer Nicholas Britell curates the April 14 & 15 performances; violinist Pekka Kuusisto, with composer and developer Jesper Nordin, curates the February 10 & 11 performances (postponed from the 2021–22 season); and composer Nico Muhly curates Codes, a SoundBox program performed with pianist Yuja Wang, March 4. Muhly’s SoundBox program will also travel with the Orchestra on its March 2023 European tour with performances in Paris and Hamburg.
In a special presentation in San Francisco and on tour in Paris, flutist Claire Chase performs and directs performances of Marcos Balter’s Pan with members of the San Francisco Symphony and community performers. The performance opens with Alone, another work by Balter composed specifically for Chase.
Closing out the 2022–23 season, on June 29-July 1, Collaborative Partner Julia Bullock joins Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus for a program that includes Margaret Bonds’ “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and “Winter Moon,” and George Gershwin’s “Somebody from Somewhere” and “Soon”—all works receiving their San Francisco Symphony premiere. Salonen also conducts the Orchestra’s first performances of Reena Esmail’s Black Iris, as well as Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé.
The San Francisco Symphony’s Collaborative Partners comprise composer and pianist Nicholas Britell; classical singer and curator Julia Bullock; flutist, educator, and creator of new and experimental music Claire Chase; composer, guitarist, and co-founder of The National Bryce Dessner; violinist, musical director, and artistic trailblazer Pekka Kuusisto; composer and multi-faceted collaborator Nico Muhly; artificial intelligence entrepreneur and roboticist Carol Reiley; and jazz bassist, vocalist, and undefinable artist esperanza spalding. Read more about the Collaborative Partners here.
Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas Music Director Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) conducts the San Francisco Symphony in four concert programs, with performances featuring his longtime collaborators cellist Gautier Capuçon and pianists Emanuel Ax and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. On November 11–13, MTT conducts the U.S. premiere of Danny Elfman’s Cello Concerto with Gautier Capuçon and leads the Orchestra in Igor Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. On November 17–19, MTT leads the Orchestra in an all-Johannes Brahms program including Serenade No. 1 in D major and Piano Concerto No. 1, performed by Emanuel Ax. Concerts on January 26–28 include Claude Debussy’s Prélude à L’Après-midi d’un faune, Olivier Messiaen’s Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine, Chôros No. 10 by Heitor Villa-Lobos with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and Claude Debussy’s Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet. MTT and the San Francisco Symphony’s final 2022–23 season performances together take place March 30–April 1 and are dedicated to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 6.
Artist-In-Residence Igor LevitPianist Igor Levit is the San Francisco Symphony’s Artist-in-Residence for the 2022–23 season, joining the Orchestra for a multi-week concert residency in June 2023. For his residency, Levit performs two Orchestral Series concerts with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony in addition to a Great Performers Series solo recital and a chamber music performance with members of the Orchestra.
June 15–17, Levit joins Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony for a program of works by Ludwig van Beethoven, including the Piano Concerto No. 5 and Third Symphony, Eroica. On June 22, 24 & 25, in his second Orchestral Series concert, Levit performs Ferruccio Busoni’s Piano Concerto with Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, marking the San Francisco Symphony’s first performances of the work. Busoni’s Piano Concerto is one of the most massive and demanding piano concertos in the genre, featuring a large orchestra and chorus and clocking in at 75 minutes.
In his Great Performers Series recital on June 27, Levit performs Johannes Brahms’ Six Chorale Preludes, arranged by Ferruccio Busoni; Fred Hersch’s Variations on a Folk Song, which Levit personally commissioned; the prelude to Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, arranged by Zoltán Kocsis; and Franz Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor. The program for Levit’s Chamber Series performance with members of the San Francisco Symphony will be announced at a later date.
“Few things nowadays make me so happy than thinking forward to playing with the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka so extensively next year,” said Levit. “Especially when part of the program will be Busoni’s magnificent, heroic, huge, long, mounting, and really incredible piano concerto. Playing this piece doesn’t happen too often and getting the chance to play it with such a great orchestra and such a great conductor, in a way, leaves me speechless.”
“Igor Levit is perhaps the hottest pianist in Europe at the moment,” said Salonen. “He plays the piano on a supreme technical and musical level, and when he touches an old war horse piece, like a Beethoven piano concerto or a Brahms piano sonata, it’s almost like he’s a brilliant restorer of old paintings. He treats these paintings with utmost care and respect, but somehow the colors become vivid. It’s a really magical touch he has in this sense. And I’m so especially excited that Igor has decided to play the Busoni Piano Concerto with us, which is the strangest piano concerto ever written. It’s about 75 minutes long and needs a big orchestra and a chorus. And it’s a massive but utterly fascinating journey, full of beauty, struggle, love, and pain.”
Levit became a household name in 2020 when he presented a daily concert online from his home for 50 consecutive days, offering music, hope, and connection during the pandemic. He has been described by the New York Times as one of the “most important artists of his generation,” was Musical America’s “Recording Artist of the Year” in 2020, and received the 2018 Gilmore Artist Award.
Premieres and Commissions The San Francisco Symphony’s 2022–23 Orchestral Series features 30 works new to the Orchestra, including four world premiere, three United States premieres, and one West Coast premiere—many of them commissions by the San Francisco Symphony—as well as 23 San Francisco Symphony premieres.
Esa-Pekka Salonen recently spoke on the importance of performing and commissioning new works with the Orchestra and programming them in addition to repertoire more familiar to San Francisco Symphony audiences:
“I don’t believe in the concept of canon, especially canon as something finished or immovable. If you look back at concert programs from 150 years ago, what then was understood as canon is very different from today. We don’t need the concept of canon as long as music is a dynamic thing that keeps changing, because we keep changing. There’s a tradition of these works we love and want to take care of, there’s a sort of gardener’s duty that we have. We have to take care of the old trees, but we also have to make sure that there’s new growth everywhere, because without the new growth the trees actually won’t survive. Ultimately, it’s all about relevance. Every day that goes by stretches the virtual rubber band between, say, us and Beethoven. And the fear of course is that one day we come to the point where it snaps, and we no longer feel that it’s relevant, which would be a catastrophe in a way because it’s wonderful. The only way to keep that relevance and connection is to make sure that there’s new music. There’s new growth, new composers, new artists who keep this art form alive and take it places that we cannot even imagine. That’s the most important thing—the surprise, the new directions. I want to be part of that process. That’s why we want to commission works from young composers and support new artists. We want to engage new performers and expand the horizons of what we do.”
World premieres this season include a new work for piano by Samuel Adams performed by pianist Conor Hanick in concerts conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, February 23, 25 & 26; a new work for piano and orchestra by Magnus Lindberg performed by pianist Yuja Wang with Salonen conducting, October 13–15; and an orchestral work by Elizabeth Ogonek conducted by Elim Chan, January 12–14. On September 29 & October 1–2, Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the San Francisco Symphony in the world premiere performance of a new work by winner of the 2021 Emerging Black Composers Project Trevor Weston.
United States premieres of San Francisco Symphony-commissioned works include Danny Elfman’s Cello Concerto with cellist Gautier Capuçon and Michael Tilson Thomas conducting, November 11–13; Daniel Kidane’s Precipice Dances, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, October 6–9; and Outi Tarkiainen’s Milky Ways performed by San Francisco Symphony English horn player Russ de Luna with Cristian Măcelaru conducting, April 21–23.
On May 25 & 27, Giancarlo Guerrero leads the West Coast premiere of San Francisco Symphony co-commission Her Story by Julia Wolfe, featuring the Lorelei Ensemble. The 40-minute piece for orchestra and women’s vocal ensemble incorporates text from throughout the history of women’s fight for equality, ranging from a letter written by Abigail Adams, to words attributed to Sojourner Truth, to public attacks directed at women protesting for the right to vote, to political satire.
San Francisco Symphony Orchestral Series premieres of works never before performed by the Orchestra include Michael Abels’ Emerge, Margaret Bonds’ “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and “Winter Moon,” Ferruccio Busoni’s Piano Concerto, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade, Reena Esmail’s Black Iris, Stacy Garrop’s Spectacle of Light, George Gershwin’s “Somebody from Somewhere” and “Soon,” Hannah Kendall’s The Spark Catchers, selections from Wynton Marsalis’ Blues Symphony, Anna Meredith’s Nautilus, Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 2, Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater, Erwin Schulhoff’s Hot-Sonate, Gabriella Smith’s Tumblebird Contrails, William Grant Still’s Darker America, Gloria Isabel Ramos Triano’s amazon, Jan Václav Voříšek’s Symphony in D major, Jörg Widmann’s Violin Concerto, and John Williams’s Escapades. On February 2 & 3, Edwin Outwater conducts the San Francisco Symphony premiere of Gabriel Kahane’s emergency shelter intake form, a song cycle exploring the perpetuation of systemic inequity and homelessness, featuring mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran and vocalists Holland Andrews, Gabriel Kahane, and Holcombe Waller, who serve as members of the Chorus of Inconvenient Statistics.
San Francisco Symphony Conducting Debuts and Returning Conductors The San Francisco Symphony’s 2022–23 Season features a dynamic lineup of international guest conductors bringing fresh and unique perspectives to the podium as they make their San Francisco Symphony Orchestral Series debuts.
Debuting conductors include:
- Elim Chan—Chief Conductor of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (January 12–14)
- Rafael Payare—Music Director of the San Diego Symphony, Music Director Designate of Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Principal Conductor of the Castleton Festival, and Honorary Conductor of Sinfonietta Cracovia (May 11–13)
- Dalia Stasevska—Chief Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (April 27–30)
- Robin Ticciati—Music Director of Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Music Director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera (January 20–22)
- Thomas Wilkins—Principal Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Music Director Laureate of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever Artistic Advisor for Education and Community Engagement (May 4–6)
Returning guest conductors include:
- Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt—Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony from 1985 to 1995; Honorary Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and Danish National Symphony Orchestra; Conductor Laureate of the Swedish Radio Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Staatskapelle Dresden; and Honorary Conductor Laureate of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo (February 9, 10 & 12)
- Jane Glover—Music Director of Music of the Baroque, recently named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2021 New Year’s Honours (April 13–15)
- Giancarlo Guerrero—Music Director of the Nashville Symphony, Music Director of the Wrocław Philharmonic at the National Forum of Music in Poland, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal (May 25 & 27)
- Manfred Honeck, Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (June 1–3)
- Philippe Jordan, Music Director of the Vienna State Opera (May 18–20)
- Cristian Măcelaru—Music Director of Orchestre National de France, Chief Conductor of WDR Sinfonieorchester, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Interlochen Center for the Arts’ World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (April 21–23)
- ·Edwin Outwater, Music Director of San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Music Director Laureate of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (February 2 & 3)
- Masaaki Suzuki, Founder and Music Director of Bach Collegium Japan (December 9 & 10)
- Juraj Valčuha—Music Director of Teatro di San Carlo, First Guest Conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, and Music Director Designate of the Houston Symphony (November 3, 4 & 6)
- Xian Zhang—Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor Emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi (December 1–3)
Guest Artists Perform with the San Francisco Symphony Guest artists making their San Francisco Symphony Orchestral Series debuts include vocalists Holland Andrews, Gabriel Kahane, and Holcombe Waller, performing as the Chorus of Inconvenient Statistics in Kahane’s emergency shelter intake form; the Lorelei Ensemble; sopranos Gabriella Reyes and Golda Schultz; mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran; tenors Ian Bostridge and Issachah Savage; baritone Iain Paterson; bass Reginald Smith, Jr; violinists Randall Goosby and Alina Ibragimova; pianists Bertrand Chamayou, Conor Hanick, Beatrice Rana, and Conrad Tao; and saxophonist Branford Marsalis.
Returning guest artists include pianists Behzod Abduraimov, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Emanuel Ax, Lang Lang, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Yuja Wang; violinists Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, and James Ehnes; and cellist Gautier Capuçon. Vocalists returning to perform with the San Francisco Symphony include baritones Jonathon Adams and Christopher Purves; tenor Leif Aruhn-Solén; sopranos Ying Fang and Lauren Snouffer; countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen; and mezzo-sopranos Michelle DeYoung and Kelley O’Connor. Peter Sellars returns as director for the staged production of Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater in June.
This season, three members of the San Francisco Symphony appear as soloists across two programs, including Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik and Principal Oboe Eugene Izotov, who perform J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C minor, BWV 1060, and English horn player Russ de Luna, who takes his solo turn in a new work written for him by Outi Tarkiainen.
Great Performers Series and Shenson Spotlight Series The 2022–23 Great Performers Series includes orchestral presentations by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Lahav Shani. Soloists presented in the series include pianist Leif Ove Andsnes; violinist Joshua Bell; violinist Hilary Hahn; pianist Igor Levit; violinist Itzhak Perlman in recital with pianist Rohan De Silva; pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; pianist Daniil Trifonov; and pianist Yuja Wang in a special pre-tour performance with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony.
The San Francisco Symphony’s Shenson Spotlight Series, now in its second season, features ascendant artists in their Davies Symphony Hall debuts. Soloists presented by this series include violinist Bomsori with pianist Julia Okruashvili; violinist Johan Dalene; cellist Sterling Elliott in recital with pianist Elliot Wuu; and pianist Alexander Malofeev.
San Francisco Symphony Chorus performances One of America’s most distinguished choruses, the 150-member San Francisco Symphony Chorus is known for its precision, power, and versatility. During the 2022–23 season, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus is featured in eight Orchestral Series programs, including performances of J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, BWV 243, conducted by Jane Glover; Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, conducted by Xian Zhang; Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem conducted by Philippe Jordan; George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, conducted by Masaaki Suzuki; and Oliver Messiaen’s Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine and Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Chôros No. 10, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. The Chorus also performs on three programs led by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen: a fully staged production of Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater, directed by Peter Sellars; Ferruccio Busoni’s Piano Concerto featuring Artist-in-Residence Igor Levit as soloist; and in Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé.
SoundBox The San Francisco Symphony’s groundbreaking SoundBox series returns for a ninth season with five programs curated by Collaborative Partner Nicholas Britell, composer Reena Esmail, Collaborative Partner Pekka Kuusisto and composer Jesper Nordin, Collaborative Partner Nico Muhly, and pianist Conrad Tao, featuring performances by guest artists and members of the San Francisco Symphony, accompanied by unique video projections and lighting design. Launched in 2014 as an experimental, late-night concert series for culturally curious audiences, SoundBox is known for continuously pushing the envelope with adventurous programming, innovative design, and multimedia elements. SoundBox performances take place in a warehouse-like rehearsal space adjacent to Davies Symphony Hall, enhanced by a Meyer Constellation Sound System, which can alter the space’s acoustics to accommodate a variety of musical styles and ensembles, providing ultimate versatility.
The 2022–23 SoundBox series kicks off with performances on December 9 & 10, curated by composer Reena Esmail, followed by a program curated by pianist and composer Conrad Tao on January 13 & 14. San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partner and violinist Pekka Kuusisto curates the February 10 & 11 SoundBox program alongside composer and developer Jesper Nordin (postponed from the 2021–22 season), with the program featuring the first performances of part of a new work that Nordin is writing for Kuusisto. On March 4, San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partner and composer Nico Muhly curates Codes, a program conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and featuring pianist Yuja Wang. Muhly’s SoundBox program will also travel with the Orchestra on its March 2023 European tour with performances in Paris and Hamburg. The final SoundBox performances of the season, curated by San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partner, pianist, and composer Nicholas Britell, take place April 14 & 15.
Film Series The 2022–23 Film Series, which features the San Francisco Symphony performing the live accompaniment to iconic films as they are projected on a large screen above the stage, includes George Lucas’ Star Wars: A New Hope featuring music by John Williams conducted by Damon Gupton, September 16 & 17; Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather with music by Nino Rota, November 23, 25 & 26, marking the 50th anniversary of the film; Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park featuring music by John Williams conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos, January 6 & 7, marking the 30th anniversary of the film; and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther with music by Ludwig Göransson conducted by Anthony Parnther, March 24 & 25. The Orchestra will also present Walt Disney Productions’ 1940 Fantasia with Susie Seiter conducting music by J.S. Bach, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Paul Dukas, Igor Stravinsky, Ludwig van Beethoven, Amilcare Ponchielli, Modest Mussorgsky, and Franz Schubert, November 22.
Music for Families and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra The San Francisco Symphony provides unique opportunities for children, families, and young adults to engage with classical music through programs like the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and Music for Families.
San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. The 2022–23 season marks the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Led by Wattis Foundation Music Director Daniel Stewart, the Youth Orchestra officially celebrates with a 40th Anniversary Concert on May 21 featuring works by Huan-zhi Li, George Gershwin, and Igor Stravinsky. Stewart and the Youth Orchestra open their season on November 20 with a program of music by José González Granero, Maurice Ravel, and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, followed by the annual holiday performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf on December 11. On March 5, Stewart leads the Youth Orchestra in a program of works by Gabriela Lena Frank, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, featuring Eunseo Oh, winner of the 2022 San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition. On March 18, Stewart and the Youth Orchestra perform a Music for Families program.
The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra provides a tuition-free orchestral experience of pre-professional caliber to talented young musicians from the greater Bay Area, with weekly rehearsals led by Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Daniel Stewart. Youth Orchestra members benefit from weekly coachings by San Francisco Symphony musicians and enjoy the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists and conductors performing with the San Francisco Symphony.
Music for FamiliesThe Music for Families series is designed to bring children together with their parents to engage with classical music through interactive themed performances. In 2022–23, Resident Conductor of Engagement and Education Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser leads the San Francisco Symphony in three concerts, including “Audiobook! Music Inspired by Stories” on December 3, “The Elements” on February 11, and “MADSADGLAD” on May 6. Daniel Stewart leads the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in a fourth Music for Families concert, “Discovering Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony,” on March 18.
Día de los Muertos Celebration On November 5, the San Francisco Symphony presents its 15th annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, featuring a concert program of traditional and contemporary Latin American music, conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto. The concert is preceded by a festive array of family-friendly activities and followed by a reception and dinner, with proceeds benefiting the Symphony’s education and community programs. Curated by longtime San Francisco Symphony collaborator Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, one of the key elements of the Symphony’s Día de los Muertos event is participation of local artists who transform the lobbies of Davies Symphony Hall with immersive art installations and altars to honor the living and the deceased.
Lunar New Year Celebration On February 4, the San Francisco Symphony celebrates the Year of the Rabbit with the 23rd annual Lunar New Year Concert. Conductor Earl Lee leads the San Francisco Symphony in the concert performance, which highlights vibrant Asian traditions through Eastern and Western repertoire and multimedia presentations. Patrons can also purchase a Lunar New Year Package, which includes special festivities and stylish Banquet. Proceeds from Lunar New Year benefit the Symphony’s artistic, education, and community programs.
On Sale Dates Subscription packages for the San Francisco Symphony’s 2022–23 season go on sale Tuesday, March 29 at 10am and can be purchased online at www.sfsymphony.org/subscribe or by phone at (415) 864-6000. For additional details and questions visit www.sfsymphony.org/subscribe.
For a limited time, patrons have the option to get 2 additional Orchestral Series concerts free when buying a Davies Symphony Hall 5-concert or more subscription package; 4 additional Orchestral Series concerts free when buying a 10-concert or more package; or 8 additional Orchestral Series concerts, an additional seat upgrade, and 2 complimentary drink vouchers when subscribing to 18 or 24 concerts. Offer expires April 30, 2022.
Single tickets for individual 2022–23 concerts will go on sale July 16, 2022.