Oct 11, 2021
- Click here to access the online press kit, which includes a PDF of this press release and guest artist headshots.
SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Symphony’s 2021 holiday season runs December 5–December 31 at Davies Symphony Hall, offering a festive array of concerts including performances of traditional Christmas classical music, family-friendly events, holiday-themed film presentations, and a star-studded lineup of featured guest artists. 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.
The San Francisco Symphony’s holiday season kicks off on December 5 with two showings of Deck the Hall at the Drive-In, a digital family holiday program presented on the big screen at FORT MASON FLIX, hosted by the San Francisco Symphony’s Resident Conductor of Engagement and Education Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser and featuring SF Symphony musicians and special holiday characters. Patrons attending the first showing at 4pm are encouraged to dress in their festive holiday best, while the 6:30pm showing encourages holiday pajama party attire. Sponsorship packages to this elevated event include drive-in parking and an exclusive Holiday Cheer Kit with delightful bites, crafts, games, and more. Deck the Hall at the Drive-In is chaired by Maria Hemphill and planned with the help of the San Francisco Symphony Junior Committee League, led by Junior Committee President Thayer Meicler. Proceeds from the event enable the San Francisco Symphony to continue its work in supporting music education in San Francisco’s public schools through the Fisher Family Adventures in Music and Music and Mentors programs, and other initiatives that benefit schoolchildren throughout the Greater Bay Area. Additionally, a recording of the Deck the Hall at the Drive-In program will be shared with all SFUSD elementary schools.
On December 8, vocalist Sheléa* and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir join forces with the San Francisco Symphony for an exuberant performance of soul, jazz, and Christmas classics in Holiday Soul, with Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducting.*Please note that the vocalist for this performance has changed from what was previously announced.
On December 10–11, conductor Grant Gershon leads the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus in performances of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, featuring soprano Rachele Gilmore and bass-baritone Christian Pursell in their SF Symphony debuts, as well as returning soloists mezzo-soprano Leah Wool and tenor Nicholas Phan.
On December 12 at 2pm, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra presents its annual performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s timeless musical fable Peter and the Wolf, conducted by Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Daniel Stewart and featuring a guest narrator Vella Lovell. Later that day, December 12 at 8pm, Mariachi Sol de México® de José Hernández returns to Davies Symphony Hall for a festive musical tribute to Mexico’s Christmas traditions, performing Mexican and American holiday favorites in a A Merry-Achi Christmas. The San Francisco Symphony does not appear in these performances.
The holiday season includes screenings of holiday-inspired films, featuring the San Francisco Symphony performing the score live to picture as the films are projected onto a large screen above the stage. On December 14–15, Thiago Tiberio conducts the SF Symphony in Richard Curtis’ Love Actually with music by Craig Armstrong, followed by performances of Chris Columbus’ Home Alone featuring a score by John Williams, conducted by Joshua Gersen, December 16 & 18.
On December 17, 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 a star-studded lineup of iconic guests including drag performers Coco Peru and Thorgy Thor, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, vocalists Alex Newell and Jimmie Herrod, and dance troupe Fou Fou Ha!, with a special appearance by Sister Roma from The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
On December 21, conductor John Mauceri leads the San Francisco Symphony in The Nutcracker & The Mouse King, starring Tony award-winning actor Alan Cumming as narrator. The production pairs E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King with music from Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s tone poems, orchestral suites, and, of course, The Nutcracker.
On December 22, Broadway vocalist Capathia Jenkins and acclaimed jazz singer and pianist Tony DeSare join the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, led by conductor Steven Reineke, in A Cool Yule Christmas—Holiday Favorites of Frank & Ella, featuring performances of classic holiday hits and jazz standards by the legendary Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.
On December 23, members of the San Francisco Symphony brass, percussion, and timpani sections, conducted by Edwin Outwater, present a mix of classical and popular holiday favorites in Holiday Brass.
The San Francisco Symphony’s annual New Year’s Event on December 31 features award-winning actor, singer, and songwriter Darren Criss—a San Francisco native famed for his roles on television’s Glee and American Crime Story—in a performance of hits and festive favorites, conducted by Bruce Anthony Kiesling.
CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:
All concerts take place at Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA.
Tickets are available at sfsymphony.org, by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office, on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco.
Patrons have the option of saving up to 25% over full-priced single tickets by selecting three or more holiday concerts. Visit sfsymphony.org/Calendar/CYO/Holiday for a complete list of eligible Holiday concerts.
Tickets for children under 12 are 50% off for performances of Home Alone and Peter and the Wolf.
Health & Safety
The San Francisco Symphony requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for everyone ages 12 and up entering Davies Symphony Hall. Audience members under age 12 must show proof of a negative COVID-19 (PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event or antigen [rapid] test taken within 24 hours of the event).
[To download the full PDF version of this press release, which includes calendar listings, click on DOWNLOAD A PDF]