Xian Zhang


Kelley O’Connor


San Francisco Symphony Chorus

San Francisco Symphony


Ballade, Opus 33
[SF Symphony Premiere]
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
[SF Symphony Premiere]
Michael Abels
Symphony No. 9
Ludwig van Beethoven


Davies Symphony Hall

Thu, Dec 1, 2022 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Fri, Dec 2, 2022 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Sat, Dec 3, 2022 at 7:30PM

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If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

Event Description

Xian Zhang leads Ludwig van Beethoven’s enduring Ninth Symphony, which celebrates the bonds of humanity and the glory of the creator in its triumphant “Ode to Joy.” Before that, discover Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade, displaying the depth and maturity of a young composer poised for greatness, and Michael Abels’ Emerge, which tells the story of musicians returning to their art and rediscovering the joy of making music together.

digital program book

At A Glance

Though he died at the age of 37, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor produced a generous catalogue of work. His energetic Ballade, introduced when he was 23, proved a breakthrough hit when he led its premiere at the Three Choirs Festival of 1898. The Festival extended it commission at the urging of Edward Elgar, who thought Coleridge-Taylor was “far and away the cleverest fellow going amongst the young men.”

Michael Abels’s Emerge is about our collective response to, and recovery from, the extended pandemic. He described the piece as imagining “a group of highly trained musicians getting back together after a long break, remembering both the exhilaration and the discipline of performing together.”

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 claims a special place in the history of music and in Beethoven’s growth as an artist and public figure. The finale diverged from symphonic tradition by introducing vocal soloists and chorus to sing the poet Friedrich von Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” a hymn celebrating the bonds of humanity and the glory of the creator. It became a symbol of togetherness and celebration, and a touchstone that inspired or intimidated numerous composers who came after.

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