Press Room


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

(415) 503-5474
[email protected]

Jun 18, 2020


SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco Symphony today announces the cancellation of all concerts through December 31, 2020 due to COVID-19. “While we are deeply disappointed to not present the exciting lineup of live concerts we had planned for Fall 2020, including the start of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s tenure as Music Director and a festival of events featuring our eight Collaborative Partners, we know this action is necessary in order to ensure the health and safety of our Orchestra, Chorus, staff, and audiences,” says San Francisco Symphony CEO Mark C. Hanson. “In accordance with statewide guidelines that live concert performances will not be permitted until the final stage of the reopening process, the City of San Francisco and the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center have indicated that all performances in Davies Symphony Hall must be canceled through the end of the calendar year.”

In light of this extended period of concert cancellations, and in order to best position the organization for financial stability while producing and releasing original digital content and experiences, the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors, Music Director, staff, members of the Orchestra & Chorus, and stagehands, have joined together in implementing a shared sacrifice plan that includes temporary pay reductions for all employees earning more than $75,000 annually, and a staff restructuring that includes the elimination of some positions and some temporary furloughs of varied duration. The San Francisco Symphony has also made the difficult decision to permanently close resale shop Repeat Performance on Fillmore Street effective July 31, 2020.

Throughout the month of June, the San Francisco Symphony continues MTT25: An Online Tributea special 25-day digital tribute in honor of Michael Tilson Thomas’ extraordinary 25-year tenure as Music Director. Each day, the San Francisco Symphony is releasing original and archival content, highlighting achievements, milestones, artistic projects, and relationships illustrative of MTT and the Orchestra’s dynamic 25-year partnership. Days 1–15 are live online now at and feature videos, photos, musician tributes, insights from MTT, and more from 1995 through 2010, the first 15 seasons of MTT’s tenure as Music Director.

This month is also highlighted by the June 21 video release of a new song MTT composed while sheltering-in-place at home in March 2020. “Whistle Tune,” inspired by a tune MTT used to whistle with his father Ted, is performed and filmed by members of the San Francisco Symphony from their homes. On June 26, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony release an album of Tilson Thomas’ From the Diary of Anne Frank Meditations on Rilke on the SFS Media label. Performances feature mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny. Also available on June 26 is a new short-form documentary video about both compositions, featuring commentary from MTT, Isabel Leonard, and Sasha Cooke, and live performance footage. 
The month’s activities culminate with MTT25: An Online Tribute Event for Michael Tilson Thomas on June 28, 2020 at 5pm PDT/8pm EDT, hosted by famed vocalists Audra McDonald and Susan Graham, and featuring contributions and tributes by musicians of the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, an array of distinguished guest artists, and many surprises. This global celebration of Michael Tilson Thomas will stream free of charge on the Symphony’s YouTube channel
Details of a new program—launching in Summer 2020 and comprising an engaging variety of new online content, digital experiences, and opportunities for exploration and learning—will be announced in the coming weeks.


All concerts from September 30 through December 31, 2020 have been canceled and will not be rescheduled.

Ticketholders are encouraged to consider donating the cost of their tickets back to the San Francisco Symphony or to ask for a gift certificate for the value of their tickets. This helps support the Symphony as a nonprofit performing arts organization during this challenging time as we navigate the significant, ongoing impact of the COVID-19 situation. Ticket donations go a long way in helping the San Francisco Symphony come back stronger and more vibrant than ever. Patrons can double the impact of ticket donations with a 1:1 match made possible by a group of generous San Francisco Symphony Board members and donors including President Sakurako Fisher and William Fisher, President-Elect Priscilla B. Geeslin and Keith Geeslin, former President John Goldman and Marcia Goldman, and Development Committee Chair Trine Sorensen and Michael Jacobson.

For those who opt for gift certificates, patrons will receive a 20% credit applied to their gift certificate based on the value of tickets they had purchased for use in future concerts. These credits won’t expire.

For those who are in the position to do so, please consider making an additional gift to support the San Francisco Symphony by visiting

All requests for ticket donations, gift certificates, exchanges, and refunds for the 2019-20 season must be received by August 31, 2020. All requests for ticket donations, gift certificates, exchanges, and refunds for the 2020–21 season must be received by August 31, 2021. For assistance, please contact the Box Office by phone at 415-864-6000 or email [email protected].  Box Office hours (for phone and emails only) are Mon–Fri: 10am–6pm. Box Office windows continue to remain closed.

A small number of concerts that have been previously announced as postponed will be rescheduled for a later date. Ticketholders for those performances may hold onto their tickets until a new date is confirmed. For a full list of those concerts please visit

The current pandemic has changed a lot of things in our world but not our high standard of customer service. As we navigate together into the 2020–21 season, we promise to be there for you just as you continue to be there for us.

We pledge to be flexible, empathetic and accommodating should you be unable to safely attend an event.

If an event needs to be rescheduled or canceled, we will let you know as soon as possible, providing you with the choice of ticket donations, gift certificates, exchanges, and refunds.

We remain committed to bringing the best in music to our stages, while keeping our audiences, musicians and staff safe.

Bearing all this in mind, we ask you to join us on a journey of hope as we look to the future. We continue to be focused on creating exceptional performances and experiences that engage audiences and expand their connections to live orchestral music, to each other, and the world around them.

[To download the PDF version of this press release, click the link at the top of the page]

Please wait...