WELCOME

What does music mean to you?

As we look back on the San Francisco Symphony’s 2021‒22 season, we affirm music’s vital place in our lives. In venues large and small, from the virtual space to community spaces, our offerings brought us together to explore the full range of the human experience. Re-live the season through words, numbers, and images that make one thing clear: Our music makes the world better.

More than a snapshot of the year, this report is a tribute to the people who made it possible. To those who supported us in any capacity, we extend our most heartfelt gratitude. You are making a difference in the life of our Orchestra, and benefiting the tens of thousands of people we serve every year. 

Should you be inspired to learn more and join us, please know that you are welcome here. We invite you to visit us soon to experience firsthand what it means to be part of the San Francisco Symphony family. 

Together, let us discover what we can accomplish with music—and for our world.

Priscilla B. Geeslin
President

Matthew Spivey
Chief Executive Officer


This report reflects activities from September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022. Please address questions or concerns to [email protected].

Take a brief tour of the season.

ARTISTS


Everything we accomplish—performances, education and engagement initiatives, innovative programming, and more—springs from our artists. These gifted individuals spend a lifetime exploring the frontiers of human possibility, all to learn how to communicate with us about who we are and who we can be.

46

CONDUCTORS

8

COLLABORATIVE
PARTNERS

91

ORCHESTRA MEMBERS

32

CHORUS MEMBERS

65

GUEST
ARTISTS

Esa-Pekka Salonen 

COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP
Our Collaborative Partners are forward-looking artists, thinkers, and doers who join with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Symphony to explore new ideas, break rules, and create powerful experiences. Go behind the scenes with Julia Bullock.

A STAGE FOR THE WORLD
The world’s preeminent artists come to San Francisco for consummate creative opportunities and risk-taking audiences. Take a deeper look with Peter Sellars, director of Oedipus rex.

AMPLIFYING VOICES
We bring new music into the world by identifying talented composers, supporting their creative processes, and premiering their work on an international stage. Learn more about Trevor Weston, the first winner of the Emerging Black Composers Project, a partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Get up close and personal with Principal Trombone Timothy Higgins.

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EXPERIENCE

ON STAGE


Each live performance by our artists is a singular opportunity. In coming together for these out-of-the-ordinary occasions, we experience moments of beauty, joy, and unity—moments that can help us lead fuller, more meaningful lives.

189

PERFORMANCES

273,517

ATTENDANCE

62

PREMIERES, INCLUDING

22

WORLD PREMIERES

Largest

Work

BEETHOVEN’S SYMPHONY NO. 9
178 MUSICIANS

Oldest

Work

KARITAS HABUNDAT
BY HILDEGARD VON BINGEN
(1098‒1179)

Newest

Work

PIANO CONCERTO
BY MASON BATES
(b. 1977)

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Deck the Hall

Día de los Muertos

Film Series

Great Performers Series

Holiday Series

Music for Families

Orchestral Series

Shenson Spotlight Series

SoundBox

Special Events

Summer with the Symphony

Teen Night

AROUND THE BAY AREA

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
Laurence Frost Amphitheater at Stanford University
John & Cynthia Gunn Theater at the Legion of Honor
Shoreline Amphitheater
SoundBox
Sigmund Stern Grove

After a year’s hiatus, Opening Night came back with a roar.

Michael Tilson Thomas returned to lead Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.

Composer Jessie Montgomery introduces strum, which received its SF Symphony premiere.

Explore more season highlights at our YouTube channel. 

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EXPERIENCE

ON DEMAND


We produce original content inspired by the intersection of music and digital art, utilizing widely available platforms. In a world connected as never before, audiences can experience our distinctive artistry virtually anywhere.

SFS MEDIA

CURATING THE SOUNDTRACK OF LIFE
Through commercial recordings and streaming services, people around the world make the sounds of the San Francisco Symphony part of their lives.

2

NEW RELEASES

11,000,000+

STREAMS

2

GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
(our 25th and 26th)

CONCERT FILMS

TELLING STORIES IN NEW WAYS
Original video productions fuse music, visuals, and dramaturgy in provocative ways.

2

NEW PRODUCTIONS

70,267

VIEWS

BROADCASTS

FILLING THE AIRWAVES
Television and radio broadcasts enrich the lives of local, national, and international audiences.

52

WEEKS OF LOCAL RADIO BROADCASTS

13

WEEKS OF NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL RADIO BROADCASTS

20,000,000

RADIO AUDIENCE

1

NATIONAL TELEVISION BROADCAST

62,255

TELEVISION VIEWERSHIP

THE WORLD IS LISTENING
Through streaming services, we reach people around the globe.

Go behind the scenes of our re-imagining of Igor Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale.

Experience the fusing of music and artificial intelligence through works by György Ligeti.

Our return to national broadcast television enabled viewers throughout the nation to enjoy Opening Night.

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EXPERIENCE

IN COMMUNITY


Young people, families, and local communities flourish from an abundance of free programs centered around our music. By supporting learning and togetherness, we help people to grow, nurture the future, and build a healthier society through music.

SF Symphony Youth Orchestra

LIFELONG BENEFITS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Exemplary training and performance opportunities prepare young people, ages 12–21, for a life in music or any path they choose.

120

YOUNG MUSICIANS

19

PROFESSIONAL COACHES

5

PERFORMANCES ATTENDED BY 7000+ PEOPLE

The young musicians of the Youth Orchestra show us that music is in good hands.

SAN FRANCISCO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT PARTNERSHIP


EQUITABLE ACCESS TO MUSIC FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Our decades-long partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is a national model of public-private collaboration.

ADVENTURES IN MUSIC

OPENING UP A MUSICAL WORLD
Five years of music education for all SFUSD elementary school students ensure that music will be part of their lives.

21,101

STUDENT PARTICIPANTS

80

SCHOOLS

33

TEACHING ARTISTS WORKING WITH 1,081 EDUCATORS

MUSIC FOR MENTORS

MAXIMIZING SCHOOL MUSIC PROGRAM IMPACT Training and support for all SFUSD middle and high school instrumental programs enable school music teachers to better serve their young musicians.

1,450

STUDENT PARTICIPANTS

23

SCHOOLS

18

TEACHING ARTISTS WORKING WITH 32 EDUCATORS

MINDFUL MUSIC—pilot year

STARTING THE SCHOOL DAY ON A GOOD NOTE
Daily musical meditation helps students get the most out of their time in school.


5

SCHOOLS

COMMUNITY TICKET PROGRAM—pilot year

REMOVING COST AS A BARRIER
By offering complimentary tickets and a warm welcome, we benefit community partners, essential workers, and Bay Area residents..


6,000+

TICKETS DISTRIBUTED

ONLINE EDUCATION RESOURCES

MUSIC RESOURCES AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Virtual content, including Music Connects, Concerts for Kids, and Musical Heroes: Stories of African-American Composers, engages learners of all ages.

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser Hosts Musical Heroes: Stories of African-American Composers uses video and supplementary content to explore contributions by legendary African-American composers.

COMMUNITY CHAMBER CONCERTS

HELPING PARTNERS SERVE OTHERS
Intimate performances in community spaces help fellow nonprofits to provide a variety of experiences for their constituents.


9

PERFORMANCES

MUSIC IN THE WARDS

PROMOTING HEALING THROUGH MUSIC
Performances for patients at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, as well as their families and hospital staff, provide relief at a difficult time.


12

PERFORMANCES

ARCHIVES

CONNECTING PEOPLE
ACROSS TIME
Access to assets supports performance, research, and cultural understanding.


100+

INQUIRIES SERVED


15,000+

ITEMS ADDED, BRINGING COLLECTION TO A TOTAL OF


65,000+

ITEMS

DEEPER CONNECTION THROUGH MUSIC

DEDICATED LEADERSHIP
Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser became our first-ever Resident Conductor of Engagement and Education. Education-oriented performances included Music for Families and—in a first for us or any major US orchestra—Teen Night for adolescent audiences.

The All San Francisco Concert, an opening week performance for the people of Bay Area nonprofit organizations and community groups, includes the presentation of the Ellen Magnin Newman Award. This year, we saluted Loco Bloco.

Día de los Muertos is a vibrant celebration of the Latin American tradition. Take a virtual tour of the altars created for the event by local artists.

Deck the Hall includes seasonal concerts for the young and the young at heart, plus a free event for SFUSD students.

Lunar New Year is a jubilant event that draws on Asian traditions, past and present. This year, we stood in solidarity with our community and in opposition to AAPI hate.

“Thank you for the innovative ways in which you are connecting the Symphony with our students.” 

– SFUSD Assistant Superintendent

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ALLIES


The artists of the San Francisco Symphony never take the stage alone. Backing them are the people who offer their philanthropy, labor, advocacy, and attention. We are as great as the people who support us in all kinds of ways.

7,545

PATRON HOUSEHOLDS

1,000+

VOLUNTEERS FROM
9 COUNTIES CONTRIBUTED
5,000+ HOURS

122

STAFF

61

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

30

LIFE GOVERNORS

182,000

FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS

109,000

INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS

102,000

TWITTER FOLLOWERS

8,500

LINKEDIN FOLLOWERS

United Strength

The number of donor households that supported us grew by 19% compared to the previous year. It would take nearly three Davies Symphony Halls to hold all of them at once. Together, they provide the bulk of the funding that makes our work possible—and remind us that every gift makes a difference.

Vital Volunteerism

Our dedicated volunteers lend valuable support ranging from office assistance and docent work to organizing fundraising events and introducing new audiences to us. We salute 2021–22 Volunteer Award recipients Maria Hemphill, Gloria Leitstein, Irena Matijas, Betty Schlaepfer, and Betsey Schneider.

IN MEMORIAM

We remember great friends and champions.

 < MORE >

“Volunteering for the Symphony is a part of my life and has been for many years.” 

– Lisa Kvetchman

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FINANCIALS


Audited figures for 2021-22 will be available in spring 2023.

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YOU


The San Francisco Symphony is your Orchestra. Our 2021–22 season was the creation of artists, donors, audiences, Board members, staff, volunteers, and a supportive community. To one and all, we say thank you.

Join us in 2022–23 and beyond. Together, let us make the world a better place through music.

SUPPORT YOUR SYMPHONY
DONATE

For more information, contact us at 415.503.5444 or [email protected].

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