Press Room


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

(415) 503-5474
[email protected]

Jul 23, 2020



Digital programming includes CURRENTS—a four-part series curated and hosted by Michael Morgan in collaboration with San Francisco Symphony musicians and guest artists from the Bay Area  

CURRENTS Video Series and companion Podcast Series explore the intersections between classical music and Chinese, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Mexican musical cultures 

CURRENTS Explore & Create further guides conversations, activities, and opportunities for learning, curated and hosted by Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser 

Summer programming also features intimate, outdoor 1:1 Concerts performed by San Francisco Symphony musicians to one audience member at a time  

CURRENTS content can be accessed via 

Click here to access the Online Press Kit, which includes downloadable images, artist bios, and a PDF of this press release. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CAToday the San Francisco Symphony launches CURRENTS, dynamic online programming featuring music and conversation around the changing perspectives for symphony orchestras today, curated and hosted by conductor Michael Morgan and San Francisco Symphony musicians. CURRENTS includes a four-part video series and companion podcast series, telling the stories and sharing the music of Bay Area communities by highlighting classical music’s changing and symbiotic relationship with vital influences and influencers in Chinese, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Mexican cultures. Both series prompt bespoke performances and candid, personal reflections by members of the San Francisco Symphony and local musicians, personalities, and creators, which reflect a synergy of perspectives. Hosted and curated by conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, CURRENTS: Explore & Create furthers the cultural dialogue through a series of video conversations and activities designed to guide curious patrons through the characteristics that shape musical styles explored in CURRENTS.

Additionally, throughout the summer, San Francisco Symphony musicians present unique 1:1 Concerts, shared by only one performer and one audience member at a time in an outdoor setting. Though small in scope, these intimate concerts aim to reach a broad swath of the San Francisco community, including San Francisco Symphony family and friends; community and education partners; and members of the general public.

CURRENTS Video Series
The four-part CURRENTS Video Series—released every two weeks starting July 23—explores the intersection of classical music with four musical cultures, illuminating the connections and ways that cultures influence each other and evolve together. Curated and hosted by conductor Michael Morgan, the videos present music and conversation around the changing perspectives for symphony orchestras today, featuring members of the San Francisco Symphony alongside local musicians and performers. CURRENTS Episode 1: Enter the Pipa features Shenshen Zhang (pipa); CURRENTS Episode 2: Bay Area Blue Notes features Jason Hainsworth (saxophone) and Tammy L Hall (piano); CURRENTS Episode 3: ¡Viva México! features Los Cenzontles (guitar, vocals, percussion); and CURRENTS Episode 4: From Scratch features Kev Choice (vocals, emcee with synth/laptop) and AÏMA the DRMR (vocals, emcee with synth/laptop).

Michael Morgan says, “I am thrilled to be helping the San Francisco Symphony share all the wonderful things they do with a wider and more diverse audience. In this series an array of Bay Area artists will perform with members of the SF Symphony and we will visit locations that played a role in the creation of these various styles of music, all of which together are part of the musical atmosphere of San Francisco. Within the Symphony we have musicians with almost every musical interest. We just want to share our broad interests with our audience, old and new.” 

Conductor Michael Morgan was born and raised in Washington DC and is recognized worldwide for innovative and thematically rich programs that make connections between a wide range of artists and musical cultures. A key part of the Bay Area’s artistic and community fabric for three decades, he serves as Music Director of the Oakland Symphony and Artistic Director of the Oakland Youth Orchestra. Morgan’s ties to the San Francisco Symphony stretch back to 1994, when he first led Concerts for Kids performances. In 2022 he will present a boldly varied SF Symphony subscription program of works by Carlos Simon, Price, Brahms, and Franck—a concert that was originally to have taken place in April 2020 and was canceled due to COVID-19. 

CURRENTS Podcast Series 
The CURRENTS Podcast Series aims to further elaborate on and personalize the conversations and themes introduced in the CURRENTS video episodes. Released the week following each video episode, the four audio episodes provide additional opportunities to tie in current events, personal stories and perspectives, and explorations outside the musical sphere.

CURRENTS Explore & Create 
To further encourage learning and exploration for all ages, CURRENTS Explore & Create is a series of conversations and activities designed to guide curious patrons through the characteristics that shape the musical cultures explored in CURRENTS video episodes—Chinese, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Mexican. Hosted and curated by conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, these videos and interactive activities provide audiences with tools and inspiration to deepen their listening skills and express their own creative spark. Episode 1 features a conversation with Chinese-born and San Francisco-raised violinist Strauss Shi, who explores Chinese culture through studying and performing the erhu. Episode 2 will feature a conversation about improvisation from professionals in musical and non-musical fields, including San Francisco Symphony Principal Bass Scott Pingel, San Francisco Chronicle Restaurant Critic Soleil Ho, and others.

Bartholomew-Poyser will announce and explain the interactive activities at the end of each video. He notes, “We don’t want you just to listen. We want you to engage and respond to what you’re hearing in our CURRENTS series.” Audiences are invited to create and share submissions on social media using the hashtag #SFSCurrents, with the submitted posts to be aggregated and shared on the San Francisco Symphony’s website throughout the project at

From a young age, Canadian conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser turned to orchestral music to bring light, beauty, and healing to his personal and professional life. Currently Artist-in-Residence and Community Ambassador at Symphony Nova Scotia, he is also on the Board of Orchestras Canada, where he serves as chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Committee. Bartholomew-Poyser was the subject of the CBC/Iron Bay Media documentary Disruptor Conductor, which features footage of him conducting the San Francisco Symphony during the 2018–19 season, in addition to documenting other significant projects he was involved in throughout that season. Since December 2015, when he led his first holiday Deck the Hall concert with the San Francisco Symphony, Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser has returned to lead the Orchestra almost every season. In addition to Deck the Hall, he has conducted the San Francisco Symphony’s Music for Families and Adventures in Music concerts, and led a set of SoundBox performances in December 2019.

1:1 Concerts
While in-person performances by the full San Francisco Symphony are on hold, the Symphony remains committed to creating exceptional performances and experiences that engage audiences and expand their connections to live music, to each other, and the world around them through unique 1:1 Concerts. These intimate concerts are shared only by one performer from the San Francisco Symphony and one audience member at a time, with the musical selections chosen by each performer and announced in person. The performances last 20–30 minutes and take place on the two outdoor terraces on the Orchestra Lobby level at Davies Symphony Hall, while adhering to current health guidelines from the City of San Francisco. The Symphony has selected guests for this initial set of one-on-one performances from across broad constituent groups, including San Francisco Symphony donors, subscribers, and volunteers; Prelude and Symphonix members; community partners; teacher partners; and other groups. Members of the public may visit for more information and for future opportunities to attend 1:1 Concerts.

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

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