Program Notes

Each week, thousands of San Francisco Symphony concert-goers open their programs to read about the drama, the passion, and the inspiration behind the music they’re hearing. You can read our critically acclaimed program notes online one week prior to select concerts. 

2019 Chinese New Year Concert

Abbasi, Anahita: . . . within the shifting grounds . . .

Allegro molto from Quartet No. 1 in C minor for Piano and Strings, Opus 15


András Schiff in Recital, April 15

András Schiff in Recital, April 17

Anna Clyne: Masquerade


Arvo Pärt: Fratres for Strings and Percussion

Bach, J.S.: Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248

Bach, J.S.: Concerto in C minor for Oboe and Violin

Bach, J.S.: Goldberg Variations for organ

Bach, J.S.: Concerto No. 3 in D minor for Two Violins, Strings, and Continuo

Bach, J.S.: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1003-1006

Barber: Symphony No. 1 (In One Movement), Opus 9

Barry: Theme from Out of Africa

Bartók: Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra

Bartók: Concerto No. 3 in E major for Piano and Orchestra

Bartók: Suite From The Miraculous Mandarin, Pantomime in One Act, Opus 19 


Beethoven / Taneyev / Mozart Chamber Music Series December 16, 2018

Beethoven: Finale: Ode, "To Joy" from Symphony No. 9

Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Opus 72a

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, Opus 73, Emperor

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F major, Opus 68, Pastoral

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, Pastoral

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Opus 61

Beethoven: Concerto No. 4 in G major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 58

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55, Eroica

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9

Berg: Seven Early Songs

Berg: Violin Concerto

Berlioz: Hungarian March from The Damnation of Faust, Opus 24

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique (Fantastic Symphony: Episode in the Life of an Artist, in Five Parts), Opus 14

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique (Fantastic Symphony: Episode in the Life of an Artist, in Five Parts), Opus 14

Bernstein: Arias and Barcarolles

Bernstein: Candide

Bernstein: Chichester Psalms

Bernstein: Divertimento

Bernstein: Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs

Bernstein: Serenade

Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

Bernstein: The Age of Anxiety, Symphony No. 2

Bernstein: West Side Story

Bizet: L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2

Borodin: Symphony No. 2 in B minor

Borodin: Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1

Brahms: Quartet No. 2 in A minor for Strings, Opus 51, no.2

Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Opus 98

Brahms: Trio No. 2 in C major for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 87

Brahms: Violin Concerto

Brahms: Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 83

Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Opus 73

Bruch: Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 26

Bruch: Octet in B-flat major for Strings

Bruch: Concerto in A-flat minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Opus 88a

Bruckner : Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major

Burritt, Michael: Fandango 13

Buxtehude: Praeludium in G minor, BuxWV 149

Call Me By Your Name 

Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Cipressi (Cypresses), Opus 17

Castiglioni: Inverno in-ver

Chamber Music at the Gunn Theater at the Palace of Legion of Honor, Dec 2

Chamber Music at the Gunn Theater at the Palace of Legion of Honor, February 18

Chamber Music at the Gunn Theater at the Palace of Legion of Honor, May 13

Chamber Music with Members of the SFS (Oct 29)

Chamber Music: Dvořák Piano Trio and More

Chamber Music: Dvořák String Quartet and More

Chamber Music: Mozart and Bartók

Chamber Music: Our Jazz Lineage: Music of Coleridge-Taylor, Chick Corea, & Dvořák

Chamber Music: Tchaikovsky, Janáček, and More

Chen, Qigang: Luan Tan, Variations for Orchestra 

Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasy in A-flat major, Opus 61 Scherzo No. 4 in E major, Opus 54

Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15

Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15

Connesson, Guillaume: E chiaro nella valle il fiume appare

Copland: Appalachian Spring

Copland: Music from the Film Our Town

Copland: Third Symphony

Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man

Dean, Brett: Engelsflügel

Debussy (orch. by Ravel): Sarabande and Danse 

Debussy: Iberia from Images pour Orchestra

Debussy: Ibéria from Images pour orchestre

Debussy: Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maisons

Debussy: Petite Suite

Debussy: Sonata in G minor for Violin and Piano

Debussy: Sonata in G minor for Violin and Piano

Debussy: La Mer

Debussy: La Plus que lente

Debussy: Nocturnes

Debussy: Noël des enfants qui n'ont plus de maisons

Debussy: Prélude à L’Après-midi d’un faune

Debussy: Selections from Children’s Corner

Dvořák: Carnival Overture, Opus 92

Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor

Dvořák: Quartet No. 14 in A-flat major for Strings, Opus 105

Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Opus 70

Dvořák: The American Flag, Opus 102

Dvořák: Concerto in B minor for Cello and Orchestra, Opus 104

Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Opus 70

Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Opus 70 Youth Orchestra   

Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G major, Opus 88

Elgar: Concert Overture, In the South (Alassio), Opus 50

Elgar: Concerto for Violin in B minor, Opus 61

Elgar: Enigma Variations

Elgar: Sea Pictures, Opus 37

Enescu: Sonata No. 3 in A minor for Violin and Piano, Opus 25, In the Rumanian style

FAURÉ: Quartet No. 1 in C minor for Piano and Strings, Opus 15

Fauré: Sonata No. 1 in A major for Violin and Piano, Opus 13

Fauré: Suite from Pelléas et Mélisande

Fauré: Allegro molto from Quartet No. 1 in C minor for Piano and Strings, Opus 15

Franck: Grande Pièce symphonique, Opus 17

Franck: Grande Pièce symphonique, Opus 17

Gabrieli: Canzon septimi toni à 8 and Sonata pian’ e forte

Gardel: Tango, Por una cabeza

Gaubert: Médailles antiques, for Flute, Violin, and Piano

Gautier Capuçon and Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Recital, Dec 2

George Li in Recital

Gershwin: An American in Paris

Gershwin: Cuban Overture

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue

Glanert, Detlev: Prelude No.1, from Three American Preludes

Glanert: Prelude No.1, from Three American Preludes for Orchestra

Grażyna Bacewicz: Overture (Uwertura)

Halloween with Young Frankenstein and Featuring Anderson & Roe

Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah

Harrison: Concerto for Pipa with String Orchestra

Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1

Haydn: Symphony No. 102 in B-flat major

Holiday Brass

Holiday Brass December 16th, 2018 

Holst: The Planets

Home Alone

Ibert: Escales

Ives: Psalm 90

Ives: Symphony No. 3, The Camp Meeting

Ives: Symphony No. 4

J. Strauss, Jr.: Furioso; Polka, Opus 260

J. Strauss, Jr.: Thunder and Lightning, Quick Polka, Opus 324

J. Strauss, Jr.: In Krapfen’s Woods, French Polka, Opus 336

J. Strauss, Jr.: On the Hunt Quick-Polka, Opus 373

J. Strauss, Jr.: Overture to Die Fledermaus (The Bat)

J. Strauss, Jr: Furioso Polka, Opus 260 & Éljen a Magyar, Opus 332

J. Strauss, Jr.: Voices of Spring Waltz, Opus 410

J.S Bach: Concerto No. 3 in D major for Keyboard and Strings, BWV 1054,
Concerto No. 4 in A major for Keyboard and Strings, BWV 1055

J.S. Bach: Concerto in E major for Violin and Orchestra, BWV 1042

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068

J.S. Bach: Passio secundum Joannem (Saint John Passion), BWV 245 (1724-49)

J.S. Bach: Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major, BWV 564

J.S. Bach-Busoni: Chaconne from Violin Partita in D minor No. 2, BWV 1004

Janáček: Taras Bulba, Rhapsody for Orchestra

John Williams: Theme from Schindler’s List

Joseph Strauss: The Dragonfly, Polka Mazurka, Opus 204 



Kevin Puts: Silent Night Elegy 

Lalo: Symphonie espagnole for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 21

Leonidas Kavakos in Recital, January 27, 2019

Ligeti: Concert Românesc

Ligeti: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra  

Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No. 1

Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major

Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2

Lunar New Year Celebration

Lutosławski: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra

Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra

Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D major

MAHLER: Symphony No. 3 in D minor

Mahler: Symphony No. 4 

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D major

Mahler: Symphony No. 7 in E minor

Mahler: Symphony No. 9 in D major

Masters of the Romantic: Trifonov Plays Chopin

Mendelssohn: Concerto in E minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 34

Mendelssohn: Ruy Blas Overture, Opus 95

Mendelssohn: Trio No. 1 in D minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 49

Mendelssohn: Trio No. 2 in C minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 66

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor

Mendelssohn: Fingal’s Cave Overture, Opus 26

Mendelssohn: Fingal’s Cave Overture, Opus 26

Mendelssohn: Lobgesang (Song of Praise), A Symphony-Cantata, Op. 52

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Opus 56, Scottish

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A major, Opus 90, Italian

Meyer, Edgar: Overture for Violin and Orchestra

MFF: Music Around the World: Influences of Africa

MFF: Music, Magic, and Mystery 

Michael Hey Organ Recital 

Michael Tilson Thomas: From the Diary of Anne Frank

Morricone, Ennio and Andrea: Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso  

Mozart : Concerto in A major for Clarinet and Orchestra, K.622

Mozart: Concerto No. 24 in C minor for Piano, K.491

Mozart: Concerto No. 4 in D major for Violin and Orchestra, K.218

Mozart: Exsultate, jubilate, K.165(158a)

Mozart: Overture to The Magic Flute

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major, K.449

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K.453

Mozart: Piano Trio in B-flat major, K.502

Mozart: Selections from Le nozze di Figaro, K.492

Mozart: Six German Dances, K.509

Mozart: Sonata in B-flat major for Piano and Violin, K.454

Mozart: Sonata in E minor for Piano and Violin, K.304

Mozart: Symphony No. 40 

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K.216

Mozart: Ballet Music from Idomeneo, K.367

Mozart: Symphony No. 31 in D major, K.297(300a), Paris

Mozart: Symphony No. 36 in C major, K.425, Linz

Music for Families: Music Around the World—Asia

Music For Families: Once Upon an Orchestra 

Music for Families: Stringing it All Together

Music for Families: Superheros and Villains

Music for Families: the Bold and the Brave

Music for Families: Work Hard, Play Hard—The Lives of Composers and Conductors

Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition


Nathaniel Stookey: Mahlerwerk

Norman, Andrew: Unstuck

North by Northwest


Orff: Carmina burana

Organist Nathan Laube Performs Bach and More

Paul Jacobs Plays Bach

Penderecki, Krzysztof: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima

Peter and the Wolf

Poulenc: Sonata for Violin and Piano

Pozansky: Footnote, Suite for Orchestra

Prokofiev: Concerto No. 1 in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 19

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3

Prokofiev: Sinfonia concertante in E minor for Cello and Orchestra, Opus 125

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 3

Prokofiev: Concerto No. 2 in G minor for Piano, Opus 16

ProkofievSymphony No. 5 in B-flat major, Opus 100 

R. Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) Tone Poem (freely after Friedrich Nietzsche) for Large Orchestra, Opus 30


Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

Rachmaninoff: Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor

Rachmaninoff: Vocalise

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances


Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé

Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess)                                   

Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major

Ravel: Shéhérazade

Ravel: Sonata in G major for Violin and Piano

Ravel: The Enchanted Garden from Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose)

Ravel: Trio in A minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano

Ravel: Alborada del gracioso 

Ravel: L’Enfant et les sortilèges

Ravel: L’Enfant et les sortilèges

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin

Ravel: Shéhérazade

Ravel's Boléro

Respighi: Fountains of Rome

Respighi: Pines of Rome

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Symphonic Suite, Opus 35

Ruggles: Angels for Muted Brass

Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1

Saint-Saëns: Danse Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila

Saint-Saëns: Fantasy in E-flat major

Salonen, Esa-Pekka: Helix

San Francisco Symphony Chorus: J.S. Bach's Magnificat

Sarah Kirkland Snider: Something for the Dark

Schoenberg: Piano Concerto, Opus 42

Schubert: Symphony in C major, D.944, The Great

Schubert: Trio in B-flat major for Violin, Cello, and Piano, D.898

Schubert: Trio No. 1 in B-flat major for Violin, Cello, and Piano, D.898

Schubert: Klavierstück in E-flat minor, D.946, no.1  

Schumann: Concerto in A minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 54

Schumann: Fantasy in C major, Opus 17

Schumann: Overture to Manfred, Opus 115

Schumann: Sonata No. 1 in A minor for Violin and Piano, Opus 105


Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1 in F minor

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Shostakovich: Trio No. 2 in E minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 67

Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 2

Shostakovich: Concerto No. 1 in A minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 77(99)

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Opus 65

Shostakovich: Trio No. 2 in E minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 67

Sibelius: Finlandia 



Sibelius: Violin Concerto

Sibelius: Four Legends from the Kalevala, Opus 22

Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Opus 43

Smetana: Trio in G minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 15

Smetana: Vltava from Má Vlast

Spohr: Nonet in F major for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Double Bass, Opus 31

Stenhammar: Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Opus 34 

Steve Reich: Music for Ensemble and Orchestra

Steven Mackey: Portals, Scenes and Celebrations

Strauss, R.: An Alpine Symphony

Strauss, R.: Ein Heldenleben

Strauss, R.: Serenade in E-flat major, Opus 7

Strauss, R.: Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Opus 28

Strauss, R.: Don Juan, Tone Poem for Large Orchestra (After Nicolaus Lenau), Opus 20

Strauss: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Opus 59

Stravinsky: Petrushka

Stravinsky: The Firebird

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring


Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps

Stravinsky: Perséphone

Suppé: Overture to Poet and Peasant

Taneyev: Oresteia Overture, Trilogy of Aeschylus, Opus 6

Tchaikovsky - Violin Concerto

Tchaikovsky: Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 35

Tchaikovsky: Finale: Allegro con fuoco from Symphony No. 4

Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations

Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 

Tchaikovsky: Trio in A minor for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Opus 50 

Tchaikovsky: Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 35 

Tchaikovsky: Marche slave, Opus 31

Tchaikovsky: Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Opus 24 

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Opus 17, Little Russian

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64 

Timothy Higgins: I am Matteo

Tippett: Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage

Trifonov and Babayan in Recital

Verdi: Overture to I vespri siciliani

Wagner: Good Friday Spell from Parsifal

Wagner: Overture and Venusberg Music (Bacchanal) from Tannhäuser   

Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

Wagner: Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, from Götterdämmerung

Weissenberg: Six Arrangements of Songs Sung by Charles Trénet

Wuorinen, Charles: Sudden Changes

Yefim Bronfman in Recital

Young Frankenstein

Zemlinsky: Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid) Fantasy in Three Movements for Large Orchestra after a Tale of Hans Christian Andersen, Opus 18