Oct 21, 2020
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY AND MUSIC DIRECTOR ESA-PEKKA SALONEN PRESENT THROUGHLINE: SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY—FROM HALL TO HOME, NOVEMBER 14
Concert program features world premiere of Throughline, a new SF Symphony commission composed by Nico Muhly with performances by Esa-Pekka Salonen, all eight Collaborative Partners, and the San Francisco Symphony
Event to stream free at sfsymphony.org and broadcast locally on KQED Public Television at 7pm PST
. . .
Family-friendly Día de los Muertos and Deck the Hall programs to broadcast locally on NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48 and stream free at sfsymphony.org
Live 1:1 Concerts expand to multiple weekly performance sets at Davies Symphony Hall terraces
CURRENTS Episodes I—IV to broadcast on NBC Bay Area / Telemundo 48
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
—The San Francisco Symphony and Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen
announce details of Throughline: San Francisco Symphony—From Hall to Home
, a concert event featuring all eight Collaborative Partners on November 14. Reflecting the forward-looking creativity of the SF Symphony and the vibrant personalities of the Bay Area and beyond, this free online event features performances led by Esa-Pekka Salonen and includes music by Ellen Reid, John Adams, Kev Choice, Beethoven, and the world premiere of a new SF Symphony commission by Nico Muhly filmed in locations around the world.
Throughline: San Francisco Symphony—From Hall to Home will broadcast locally on November 14 at 7pm PST on KQED Public Television
and simultaneously stream worldwide at sfsymphony.org
, where it will remain for on-demand viewing. The program will re-broadcast on NBC Bay Area
on Monday, November 30 at 7pm PST.
The one-hour concert program is anchored by the world premiere of Throughline
by SF Symphony Collaborative Partner Nico Muhly
, commissioned by the Symphony for this occasion. Throughline
consists of thirteen interconnected sections, with each movement highlighting a small ensemble of SF Symphony musicians; eight of the movements feature one of the collaborative partners as soloist. Adding to the unique nature of Throughline
, the filming and recording of all the individual parts—in particular, of the Collaborative Partners—took place in various places around the US and the world. Pianist Nicholas Britell
was filmed in Los Angeles, CA; classical singer Julia Bullock
in Munich, Germany; flutist Claire Chase
in New York, NY; guitarist Bryce Dessner
in St-Pée-sur-Nivelle, France; violinist Pekka Kuusisto
in Helsinki, Finland, and jazz bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding
in Northern Oregon. Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen was filmed, in part, in Finland, while composer and pianist Nico Muhly, who also served as conductor for the piece, was filmed at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Collaborative Partner Carol Reiley
used artificial intelligence to co-compose a movement for Throughline
from Los Altos, CA, and Esperanza Spalding improvisationally composed her own performance.
In addition to Nico Muhly’s Throughline
, the concert program includes performances of Ellen Reid’s Fear / Release
for percussion quartet; John Adams’ Shaking and Trembling from Shaker Loops
, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen; Kev Choice’s Movements
—an SF Symphony commission recently released as part of the CURRENTS series, and the opening movement from Beethoven’s String Quartet in F minor, Op. 95. All performances were filmed under strict adherence to local public health and safety guidelines.
Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen
is the sort of piece I came to the San Francisco Symphony to do. Screens, remote collaboration, and video communication were ubiquitous parts of our lives even before the pandemic. It’s natural that the Orchestra would begin to expand out of the concert hall and evolve new ways of presenting music to suit a visual, technologically-driven culture.
The power of the orchestra lies in its ability to behave as one cohesive organism, greater than the sum of its parts. But a piece like this requires that level of coordination, not only from the musicians, but from the administrators and the producers as well; the entire institution has to behave as one, with all of the creativity, ingenuity, and flexibility that entails. Luckily for me, this is already how the San Francisco Symphony musicians and members of staff operate, and they are more than up for the challenge.”
Collaborative Partner Nico Muhly
is one of the more challenging pieces I’ve written, not just as a piece of musical logistics but also as a piece of technical, practical logistics. Compositionally, the challenge was to create something with an even flow that takes advantage of—rather than runs up against—the health restrictions. Each of the thirteen movements is a mini-concerto, not just for a Collaborative Partner but for members of the Orchestra; for instance, one movement features Nicholas Britell playing with principal trumpet Mark Inouye, and in another movement, Pekka Kuusisto plays a kinetic, hyperactive duet with principal violist Jonathan Vinocour.
When I got to San Francisco, I found that the musicians were fantastically up for it despite the strange circumstances, and without exception navigated this new structure of music-making without a blink. For me, it was a joy to work directly with individuals, which, in a symphonic context, is nearly impossible with the usual model. I was also delighted and bolstered by the incredible amount of work Throughline
required from the often under-appreciated technical and administrative staff; this isn’t just the artistic leadership who commissioned the piece, but stage management and the producer of the recording and personnel management and operations and the sound crew all performing in a concerto grosso of their own.”
San Francisco Symphony CEO Mark C. Hanson
: “This concert event is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the entire San Francisco Symphony ecosystem. It shows exactly the type of flexible thinking and inclusive collaboration we know will define this next phase of the Symphony’s identity. The event is at once global and local, bringing together our Collaborative Partners from three states and four countries, while also directly reflecting our Bay Area community, our Orchestra, and this moment in time. As we replanned our fall with Esa-Pekka, the Symphony used this opportunity as a catalyst for innovation, investing in filming our musicians inside and outside Davies Symphony Hall and creating meaningful, one-of-a-kind musical performances. I am thrilled that we are able to make this first such concert of the season free and accessible to the widest possible audience through television broadcast and streaming, and I look eagerly ahead to continuing to share the projects we are currently capturing as we move towards the new year.”
Throughline: San Francisco Symphony—From Hall to Home is dedicated to the memory of longtime SF Symphony friend and supporter Ann Getty. The event is co-chaired by James C. Hormel and Michael P. N. Hormel along with All San Francisco Community Concert co-chairs Andrea Ceseña and Selina Weiss. In light of the pandemic, elements of the Symphony’s annual All San Francisco Community Concert are now included in this event, which is accessible on a global scale but grounded with a local focus.
As such, this event includes the presentation of the Ellen Magnin Newman Award
honoring an outstanding local community-service organization. Named after SF Symphony Board member and founder of the All San Francisco Concert Ellen Magnin Newman, the award is presented each year to a community-based arts organization that strengthens the city’s cultural fabric, serves the city’s most vulnerable families and individuals, and creates a more just and equitable society for everyone who lives here. This year’s recipient is Hip Hop For Change
, a Black-led grassroots nonprofit in Oakland that seeks to address the injustices of misrepresentation through Hip Hop pedagogy and community building. By educating people about the power of Hip Hop culture—especially as a tool for social justice—Hip Hop For Change empowers all people with a platform to express themselves through the arts.
Throughline: San Francisco Symphony—From Hall to Home and the Ellen Magnin Newman Award are made possible in part through the generosity of Community Impact Sponsor Wells Fargo. Additional support is provided by Signature Education Sponsor Chevron, Music & Wellness Sponsor Kaiser Permanente, and Digital Sponsor Franklin Templeton/Fiduciary Trust International. For an elevated experience, guests are invited to upgrade to one of the VIP Sponsor Packages
. Sponsor benefits include access to an hour-long virtual VIP Happy Hour featuring a unique digital design by Blueprint Studios, and a McCalls Catering Festivity Kit home-delivered to pair with this concert event. Sponsors at the Preferred Sponsor level and above will also have the opportunity for exclusive engagement with San Francisco Symphony musicians. The San Francisco Symphony is honored to partner with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank
to raise awareness for this important organization during their busiest time of year. Sponsors of Throughline: San Francisco Symphony—From Hall to Home have the option to donate a part or all of the value of their gift boxes to the Food Bank. The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s mission is to end hunger in San Francisco and Marin, where prior to the pandemic one in five neighbors was at risk of hunger. Now the need is even greater with 60,000 households a week turning to the Food Bank compared to 32,000 prior to COVID-19.
Proceeds from sponsors support the San Francisco Symphony’s myriad artistic, education, and community programs, and allow the Symphony to provide this virtual event free of charge and accessible to all. To learn about sponsorship levels and associated benefits please contact Rosie Fraser at (415) 503-5478 or [email protected]
Community Events: Día de los Muertos and Deck the Hall
The San Francisco Symphony’s family-friendly Día de los Muertos and Deck the Hall concerts and festivities—annual traditions at Davies Symphony Hall—will be celebrated virtually this season, streaming for free at sfsymphony.org
and broadcasting on both NBC Bay Area
and Telemundo 48
On October 31, the San Francisco Symphony presents a bilingual virtual Día de los Muertos
celebration, hosted and curated by Bay Area musician and educator Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, with a special appearance by Founder and Director of Casa Círculo Cultural Verónica Escámez, and featuring SF Symphony musicians, members of Los Cenzontles, and guitarist David Tanenbaum performing music by Gabriela Lena Frank, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Domingo Lobato, and Manuel M. Ponce. The Día de los Muertos Virtual Celebration is co-chaired by Nicole Cooper and Robin Giustina. The event will broadcast in English Saturday, October 31 at 3pm on NBC Bay Area
; in Spanish on Saturday, November 14 at 11am on Telemundo 48
, and will be available in both English and Spanish for on-demand streaming at sfsymphony.org
The fun-filled Día de los Muertos celebration begins with a three-day online interactive silent auction presenting unique and coveted items, Friday, October 30 at 3pm–Sunday, November 1 at 1pm. The festivities culminate with a virtual Live Tequila Mixology Lab led by one of McCalls’ master mixologists, Jim Sevilla, and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the history and traditions around Día de los Muertos featuring special guests on October 31 at 2pm. Guests can register to participate for free
by Wednesday, October 28. For an elevated experience, in partnership with McCalls MC Market, guests can purchase a Día de los Muertos-inspired meal with an added cocktail kit to be delivered on October 30, in time for the virtual mixology lab the following day.
On Saturday, December 5, the San Francisco Symphony presents a festive virtual Deck the Hall
celebration hosted by conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, marking the event’s 40th anniversary with a program of holiday music and audience sing-alongs. The program includes selections from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker
and holiday favorites, arranged for string quartet; Harry Simeone’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
, narrated by NBC Bay Area News Anchor Raj Mathai and conducted by Wattis Foundation Music Director of the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra Daniel Stewart; and more, featuring musicians of the San Francisco Symphony, organist Jonathan Dimmock, members of the SF Symphony Chorus directed by Ragnar Bohlin, and the San Francisco Boys Chorus directed by Eric Choate. The concert program will broadcast on Saturday, December 5 at 3:30pm on NBC Bay Area;
Sunday, December 6 at 11:30am on Telemundo 48;
Saturday, December 19 at 3:30pm and Friday, December 25 at 11am on NBC Bay Area
; and will be available for on-demand streaming at sfsymphony.org.
Deck the Hall is chaired by Thayer Meicler and planned with the help of the San Francisco Symphony Junior Committee League, led by Junior Committee President Amy Christodoulo. The event is made possible in part through the generosity of Supporting Partner Bank of America.
Deck the Hall VIP packages include exclusive pre-event digital content as well as tangible deliverables to enhance the watch-from-home experience. Each VIP package includes exclusive access to a virtual holiday activity, a home-delivered Deck the Hall care package, and other perks. Through the generosity of VIP sponsors, Deck the Hall is presented completely free of charge and is accessible across multiple platforms, including to a broad number of schools and community partners. For more information and to purchase a VIP package visit: www.sfsymphony.org/deck-VIP
Due to high demand, the SF Symphony’s popular 1:1 Concert series has increased in frequency from one afternoon a week to two days a week. Now accommodating sixteen audience members weekly at Davies Symphony Hall, the Symphony plans to add a third set of weekly 1:1 Concerts in an additional location in Fall 2020. Launched in Summer 2020, 1:1 Concerts have been overwhelmingly well received by attendees and musicians alike. The series has garnered critical acclaim including glowing reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle
, which noted the “intimacy and directness” of the series, and KQED
, which described the concerts as a “lifeline” and “a chance to experience classical music in a casual, unusually personal setting.” In an essay published in the San Francisco Chronicle
, SF Symphony cellist Barbara Bogatin reflects on how much she and her San Francisco Symphony colleagues have “been missing the personal, visceral human connection with our audiences.” 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. Guests for these 1:1 performances are invited 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 sfsymphony.org/OnetoOne
for more information and to sign up for the opportunity to attend 1:1 Concerts.
CURRENTS Episodes 1– to broadcast on NBC Bay Area / Telemundo 48
All four video episodes of the San Francisco Symphony’s digital CURRENTS series, which have been released since the series launched in July 2020, will be televised throughout the fall on NBC Bay Area
or on Spanish language companion station Telemundo 48
. Hosted and curated by conductor Michael Morgan and members of the San Francisco Symphony, the CURRENTS series explores the intersection of classical music with other musical cultures, illuminating the connections and ways that they influence each other and evolve together. Each episode features members of the San Francisco Symphony in collaboration with local musicians and performers, presenting music and conversation around the changing perspectives for symphony orchestras today. ¡Viva México!, exploring Mexico’s multi-generational musical culture, will broadcast with new Spanish subtitles October 24 on Telemundo 48
at 11:30am; From Scratch, exploring art and activism in Oakland’s Hip Hop culture, airs October 24 on NBC Bay Area
at 3:30pm. Bay Area Blue Notes, focusing on freedom and expression in Jazz, and Enter the Pipa, which looks at stories, sounds, and traditions of San Francisco’s Chinese community, will broadcast November 28 on NBC Bay Area
at 3:30pm. For more information and to view all four CURRENTS episodes, visit sfsymphony.org/currents
[To access the PDF version of this press release, click the link at the top of this page]