If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.
Music as a Human Right
We believe that access to music and the arts are a human right. Join us as we celebrate music as a unifying space for community, compassion, healing, teaching, and social justice. Leave empowered by the triumph of the human spirit.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, hear Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard narrate Michael Tilson Thomas’ spellbinding musical setting From the Diary of Anne Frank, a piece written for friend and UNICEF ambassador Audrey Hepburn. Then, experience Beethoven’s monumental testament to liberty, the exhilarating Eroica Symphony.
As advocates of peace and hope through the message of music, the entire San Francisco Symphony family extends its deepest sympathies to those affected by the tragic events of October 27 in Pittsburgh. These concerts are dedicated to the memory of the victims.
Tickets to these concerts have been provided free of charge to volunteers and staff from a variety of Bay Area social justice and human rights organizations.
An exhibit in the First Tier lobby explores the ways the SF Symphony honors, fosters, and supports our "right to participate in the cultural life of the community," as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Free to all concert ticket holders
Michael Tilson Thomas
From the Diary of Anne Frank
Symphony No. 3, Eroica
All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.
Beethoven Symphony No. 3, Eroica
MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS
From the Diary of Anne Frank 1990 | 36 mins
MTT offers these comments: "From the Diary of Anne Frank is a melodrama in the form of symphonic variations. It was written for Audrey Hepburn. Audrey had grown up in occupied Holland; she was exactly the same age as Anne Frank and identified strongly with her—and with the suffering of all children. This work was written as a vehicle for Audrey in her role as an ambassador for UNICEF. It takes its shape primarily from the diary passages that Audrey and I selected and read together. While some of the words concern tragic events, so many of them reflect the youthful, optimistic, inquisitive, and compassionate spirit of their author. Above all, we wanted these qualities to come through in the piece, and so I have derived the themes . . . from turns of phrases in traditional Jewish music, especially the hymn to life, Kaddish. . . . I now realize that so much of this work is a reflection not only of Anne Frank, but of Audrey Hepburn. Audrey's simplicity, her deeply caring nature, the ingenuous sing-song of her voice are all present in the phrase shapes of the orchestra. The work would never have existed without her, and it is dedicated to her." MORE
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55, Eroica 1804 | 50 mins
In May 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French. That bold move disenchanted Ludwig van Beethoven, who angrily scratched out his dedication to Napoleon of the newly completed Third Symphony. The score was published instead as a sinfonia eroica—a “heroic symphony . . . composed to celebrate the memory of a great man.” Its first performances were met with conflicting sentiment, with some shocked at the piece’s “lawlessness.” Beethoven had given his audience plenty to talk about—among which included writing a symphony twice as long as they would have expected, with unprecedented demands for orchestral virtuosity, tremendously complex harmonies, and an unbridled force of rhetoric. LISTEN FOR: The symphony’s first audiences questioned weird details like the famous “wrong” French horn entrance during the first movement (the horn confidently reaches an E-flat chord before the rest of the orchestra manages to get there!). In its day, another major departure from form was the shift of the music’s center of gravity from the first movement to the work's finale. Today, we hardly notice this, as Beethoven’s empowering Third set new standards for all symphonic music that followed. As it hurdles to the end, we experience Beethoven fulfilling his “heroic symphony” triumphantly in the affirmative. MORE
JEANETTE YU is Editorial Director at the San Francisco Symphony.