Press Room


Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 503-5474
[email protected]

Oct 16, 2019


Special guest performers include Ben Folds; Megan Hilty and Cheyenne Jackson; Mariachi Sol de México® de José Hernández; India.Arie with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir; and Peaches Christ, Coco Peru, Courtney Act, Patricia Racette, Beth Clayton, Elliot Franks, and Fou Fou Ha! starring in Holiday Gaiety

The SFS performs live accompaniment to iconic holiday films It’s a Wonderful Life and Love Actually

Traditional Christmas music performed by the SF Symphony and Chorus includes Handel’s Messiah, Holiday Brass, and ’Twas the Night: A Festival of Carols

Family-friendly performances include the Symphony’s annual Deck the Hall celebrations, Music for Families—Holidays Around the World, Peter and the Wolf performed by the SFS Youth Orchestra with guest narrator Dulcé Sloan, and five performances of A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live!

Seth MacFarlane joins the San Francisco Symphony for a special New Year’s Eve Event, December 31

SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) 2019 holiday season runs November 26–December 31 at Davies Symphony Hall, offering a festive array of concerts for all ages. From performances of traditional Christmas classical music, to family-friendly events and holiday-themed film presentations, to a star-studded lineup of featured guest artists, the SF Symphony has something to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Throughout the month of December, the lobbies of Davies Symphony Hall are transformed into a holiday wonderland, complete with towering trees decorated with handmade ornaments made by children and volunteers from local schools and non-profit community organizations. Tours of the hall during December are available on Mondays between 10am–2pm or by appointment.

Kicking off the holiday season on November 26, alt-rock piano sensation Ben Folds joins the San Francisco Symphony and conductor Edwin Outwater for a concert of hits spanning his decades-long career as a solo artist and frontman of alternative rock trio Ben Folds Five. VIP packages are available for this concert, including a Meet & Greet experience or a Master Class led by Ben Folds. On December 4, Broadway stars from stage and screen Megan Hilty and Cheyenne Jackson come together for an intimate holiday concert at Davies Hall, and Mariachi Sol de México® de José Hernández returns for a festive musical tribute to Mexico’s Christmas traditions, performing Mexican and American holiday favorites in a A Merry-Achi Christmas on December 8 (the SF Symphony does not appear in these performances). On December 7, the SF Symphony presents Holiday Gaiety—a fabulously festive holiday variety show co-emceed by conductor Edwin Outwater and San Francisco’s premiere drag sensation Peaches Christ, featuring iconic guests including Coco Peru, Courtney Act, Patricia Racette, Beth Clayton, Elliot Franks, and Fou Fou Ha!, with special appearances by Sister Roma from The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Kylie Minono as Mrs. Claus. Then on December 10–11, four-time Grammy award-winning R&B artist India.Arie and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir join forces with the SF Symphony for an exuberant performance of soul, jazz, and Christmas classics in Holiday Soul, with Thomas Wilkins conducting. A VIP package is available for both Holiday Soul concerts, featuring a Meet & Greet experience with India.Arie.

The Symphony’s holiday line-up includes programs well-suited for children and families, starting with two Deck the Hall performances on December 8 at 11am and 3pm. Conducted by Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, this festive children’s concert and celebration features a lively array of musical vignettes from Symphony musicians and special guests, including members of Teatro ZinZanni, the San Francisco Boys Chorus, Young Women’s Choral Projects of San Francisco, and San Francisco Ballet School trainees. To make the experience even more memorable, guests can order a VIP package that includes premium concert seating plus an exclusive pre-concert party. Proceeds from this event support Deck the Hall Community Day, which invites 3,500 children from public programs to this holiday concert free of charge, providing many of them with their first opportunity to visit a concert hall and hear a live orchestral performance, as well as the San Francisco Symphony’s education and community programs.

On December 14, Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser leads the SFS and vocalist Tiffany Austin in a Music for Families program titled Holidays Around the World, performing holiday music from Europe to the Caribbean, South Africa, China, and more, preceded by an array of fun lobby activities including a conductor photobooth and an instrument petting zoo. The SF Symphony Youth Orchestra presents its annual performance of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf on December 15, conducted by Wattis Foundation Music Director Daniel Stewart and featuring actress Dulcé Sloan as narrator, known for her role as a correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central. On December 21–23, A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live! returns with Randall Fleischer leading the SFS in five performances of Vince Guaraldi’s delightful score, as singers, actors, and dancers bring Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts characters and the Christmas classic animated TV special to life.

The SFS continues the tradition of presenting classical music associated with the Christmas season with performances of Handel’s Messiah on December 13­–14. Ragnar Bohlin conducts the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus in Handel’s glorious masterpiece, featuring soprano Lauren Snouffer, tenor Ben Bliss, bass Adam Lau, and countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen in his SFS debut. On December 15, members of the SF Symphony brass, percussion, and timpani sections, conducted by Edwin Outwater, present a mix of classical and popular holiday favorites in Holiday Brass; and on December 19–20, Ragnar Bohlin conducts members of the SF Symphony and Chorus, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and organist Jonathan Dimmock in ’Twas the Night: A Festival of Carols, a program in which the audience is encouraged to sing along to favorite seasonal tunes.

The holiday season includes screenings of holiday-inspired films with the SFS performing the score live to picture. On December 3, Justin Freer leads the Orchestra in a performance of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, featuring Dimitri Tiomkin’s timeless score. December 17–18 concerts present another holiday favorite—Universal Pictures’ Christmas-themed romantic comedy Love Actually with a score by Craig Armstrong, conducted by Thiago Tiberio.

The Symphony’s annual New Year’s Event on December 31 features Academy and Grammy award-nominated singer, songwriter, actor, producer, and director Seth MacFarlane in a performance of jazz standards and holiday favorites, with Edwin Outwater conducting. VIP tickets are available for an elevated New Year’s Eve experience, including a gourmet pre-performance dinner in the Wattis Room and champagne at intermission.

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