2021–22 SEASON REVIEW
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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BEETHOVEN’S SYMPHONY NO. 9
BY HILDEGARD VON BINGEN
BY MASON BATES
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Deck the Hall
Día de los Muertos
Great Performers Series
Music for Families
Shenson Spotlight Series
Summer with the Symphony
AROUND THE BAY AREA
Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
Laurence Frost Amphitheater at Stanford University
John & Cynthia Gunn Theater at the Legion of Honor
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.
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.
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.
(our 25th and 26th)
TELLING STORIES IN NEW WAYS
Original video productions fuse music, visuals, and dramaturgy in provocative ways.
FILLING THE AIRWAVES
Television and radio broadcasts enrich the lives of local, national, and international audiences.
WEEKS OF LOCAL RADIO BROADCASTS
WEEKS OF NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL RADIO BROADCASTS
NATIONAL TELEVISION BROADCAST
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 The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
Access to assets supports performance, research, and cultural understanding.
DEEPER CONNECTION THROUGH MUSIC
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
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.
9 COUNTIES CONTRIBUTED
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
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.
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.
“Volunteering for the Symphony is a part of my life and has been for many years.”
– Lisa Kvetchman
Audited figures for 2021-22 will be available in spring 2023.
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.