Press Room


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

(415) 503-5474
[email protected]

Nov 12, 2019


Music for Families kicks off December 14 at 2pm with Holidays Around the World featuring vocalists Tiffany Austin and Kelsey Greenberg, conducted by Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser

All concerts feature giveaways and lobby activities before the performances, including coloring stations, instrument petting zoos, photo stations, piano mats, and more

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) 2019–20 Music for Families series, designed to bring children together with their parents to engage with classical music through fun pre-concert activities and interactive themed performances, kicks off Saturday, December 14 with a program titled Holidays Around the World. Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser leads the SFS in an exploration of wintertime festivities, vibrant music, and rich holiday traditions from around the world, including Juventino Rosas’ Sobre las Olas, Jim Kessler’s arrangement of “O Chanukah,” and traditional Chinese New Year tune Gong Xi Gong Xi.. Jazz vocalist Tiffany Austin joins the SFS for Carmen Dragon’s arrangement of Adolphe Adam’s “O Holy Night” and Bartholomew-Poyser’s arrangement of a Trinidadian Parang Medley. Kelsey Greenberg, a youth vocalist from the San Francisco Girls Chorus’ Premier Ensemble, joins the SFS for Gong Xi Gong Xi. The program also includes excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite and is bookended by Prokofiev’s Troika from Lieutenant Kijé and Leroy Anderson’s Bulger’s Holiday. Guests are invited to arrive at 1pm to enjoy interactive lobby activities. In keeping with the holiday theme, the SF Symphony will also provide free elf hats to all children.

The 2019–20 Music for Families series continues Saturday, February 29 with Out West, in which Erina Yashima makes her SFS debut and leads the Orchestra in Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite, and Randy Newman’s Toy Story Suite from the Disney and Pixar classic. The SF Symphony will provide free sheriff badges to all children. The Music for Families series concludes on Saturday, April 4 with Meet the Orchestra, featuring Wattis Foundation Music Director Daniel Stewart leading the critically acclaimed San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) in their first appearance in a Music for Families concert in more than twenty years. The SFSYO will guide the audience in a program that highlights the roles of different instruments and shows how they join forces to create one big symphonic sound. The program features Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, a joyous work that highlights each individual section of the orchestra through virtuosic variations based on a theme by Purcell. Additional programming for these concerts will be announced at a later date.

Lobby Activities: Beginning one hour before each performance, guests are invited to explore the hands-on activities scattered around Davies Symphony Hall lobbies, including instrument petting zoos, where families can get an up-close look at the instruments they see on stage; a conductor photo station where children can strike a pose as the maestro of the Symphony; piano mats where families can compose their own tunes by hopping from one key to the next; and coloring stations where children can unleash their inner artist with music-themed drawings. Come early to collect stamps from each Instrument Petting Zoo station for your musical passport.

About Music for Families

This popular series for Bay Area families was launched in 1993 and is designed to introduce children and their parents to the wonders of live orchestral music. Part performance and part family outing, the series consists of matinee concerts designed to spark the imagination of the whole family through an exploration of different aspects of the orchestra and its repertoire. Music for Families concerts are designed to be educational, engaging, and fun. They include performances of great symphonic music, fascinating musical discoveries, and informative talks about the orchestra, the instruments, the musicians, and the music. Music for Families concerts are geared to ages 5 and up. Tickets for children age 18 and under are half-price.

About the conductors

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser is the Artist in Residence and Community Ambassador of Symphony Nova Scotia. He has served as Assistant Conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. This season Bartholomew-Poyser will debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Bartholomew-Poyser made his SFS debut at the SF Symphony’s annual Deck the Hall concert in the 2015–16 season and has returned every season to conduct holiday and family programs.

Erina Yashima is the Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which she leads in educational and special concerts. In addition to making her debut with the San Francisco Symphony, her 2019–20 season features several notable debuts including the Rostov Symphony Orchestra in Russia and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra School and Family Concerts, where she won its Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprenticeship. She has also performed with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo and members of the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hanover in various education and chamber music series performances. Yashima is also an emerging opera conductor and made her debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2017 with Der Schauspieldirektor for children.

Daniel Stewart is the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in the 2019–20 season. An alumnus of the SFSYO himself, Stewart has concertized frequently as a viola soloist, performed as a violist with the San Francisco Symphony, and served as principal violist of numerous ensembles, including the New World Symphony, where he studied conducting with Michael Tilson Thomas. He has conducted the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, hr-Sinfonieorchester, Frankfurt Opera-Orchestra, and the Boston Ballet. Stewart currently serves as music director of the Santa Cruz Symphony, where he has established a thriving chamber music series and expanded education and community programs.

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