Classical masterpieces, unusual gems, and modern works offer a feast for your ears at every concert, while Maestro Simon’s engaging onstage talks help you connect more powerfully with the music.

anonymous (Berkeley)

“You are an organization on a roll and I am pleased to be able to play a small part.”

J & L (Berkeley)

“Thank you for all the wonderful concerts! We love New Years Eve with you.”

Linda

“In a world that some days seems to have gone mad, I can come to your concert and leave with renewed hope, and my spirits are lifted. Thank you for touching the hearts of your audiences.”

Trudy

"Every concert is a wonderful experience. I'm always totally absorbed by the music. Thank you so much for all that you do!”

Jennifer

“It was the best concert I have been to in several years!"

anonymous (Oakland)

“Great work! You’re a Bay Area gem.”

Admission is free to all! Supporting members receive priority seating and priority entrance 60 minutes before concert time. Please bring your membership card with you. General seating begins 45 minutes before concert time.

 

 

IN PRAISE OF LOVE

Benjamin Simon, conductor
Robin Sharp, violin
 
Claude Debussy Danses Sacrée et Profane
Percussion set:

Thierry de Mey Table Music
David Lang Percussion Quartet
Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic Trio per Uno

Leonard Bernstein Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium)
 
“Sharp’s playing was elegant and impassioned, in turn sweetly lyrical and dazzlingly virtuosic…”  —SFCV
 
SFCO concertmaster Robin Sharp takes center stage for a rare performance of Leonard Bernstein’s masterpiece for violin, percussion, harp, and strings: his 1954 Serenade, inspired by Plato’s “Symposium” about the nature of love.   This is Bernstein at his symphonic best: a richly colored and dramatic score, with six percussionists powering the stern and our nimble soloist at the bow. An earlier 20th century experiment in sound and color is Claude Debussy’s 1904 Danses Sacrée et Profane; composed for harp and strings, its two movements are colorful musical portraits, intimate in scale and dazzling to the ears. Three short, exciting works for multiple percussionists round out this wide-ranging program.
 

Fri, Oct 23  7:30pm
Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

Sat, Oct 24  7:30pm
First United Methodist Church
625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto

Sun, Oct 25  3pm
First Congregational Church
2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

FAREWELL TO 2015

A MUSICAL COUNTDOWN
Benjamin Simon, conductor
 
Franz Joseph Haydn Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat, Op. 84

Peter Lemberg, oboe
Karla Ekholm, bassoon
Eugene Chukhlov, violin
Eric Gaenslen, cello

J. S. Bach Concerto for Three Violins, BWV 1064R

Grace Huh, Sofie Ledor & Chili Ekman, violin

Aaron Copland Quiet City

Kathy Conner, English horn
John Freeman, trumpet

Franz Joseph Haydn Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor (“Farewell”)
 
4 virtuosic SFCO All-Stars are featured in Haydn’s brilliant Sinfonia Concertante for oboe, bassoon, violin, cello and orchestra.
3 splendid young violinists take center stage to perform Bach’s “Triple” Concerto.
2 noteworthy soloists (English horn and trumpet) lead our string section in Copland’s miniature masterpiece Quiet City.
1 outstanding chamber orchestra gradually vanishes in Haydn’s terrific and theatrical “Farewell” Symphony.
 

Thu, Dec 31  7:30pm
First Congregational Church
2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

Fri, Jan 1  3pm
First United Methodist Church
625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto

Sun, Jan 3  3pm
Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

MAHLER LITE

FEWER PLAYERS, SAME GREAT (MUSICAL) TASTE
Benjamin Simon, conductor
Christine Brandes, soprano
 
Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 4 (arr. Stein)
 
Renowned Bay Area soprano Christine Brandes (“Earthy and affecting… magnificent” —NY Times) makes her SFCO debut in three very special performances of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. Edwin Stein’s beautiful 1921 chamber arrangement for 13 players brings out the intimacy of this heavenly piece without sacrificing any of its power. This program will begin with a guided tour of this complex score, wherein Maestro Simon and the orchestra reveal its secrets and bring listeners into Mahler’s imaginative “sound world,” followed by a complete performance of this 55-minute work.
 

Fri, Feb 26  7:30pm
Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

Sat, Feb 27  7:30pm
First United Methodist Church
625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto

Sun, Feb 28  3pm
First Congregational Church
2345 Channing Way, Berkeley

REVOLUTIONARIES

Benjamin Simon, conductor
Amy X Neuburg, vocals
with Squid Inc

Igor Stravinsky Suite No. 1 for Small Orchestra
Amy X Neuburg Hunger Strike (2016) [World Premiere]
L. V. Beethoven Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92

“Don’t miss the spectacular Amy X Neuburg. She’s the best thing to come out of Oakland since Jack London.” —John Adams, composer

Experience Amy X Neuburg’s “fabulous singing” and “exhilarating originality” in her newest work, Hunger Strike, commissioned by the SFCO for performance with Bay Area string quartet Squid Inc. Featuring vocals by the composer herself, Hunger Strike is paired with Stravinsky’s delightful Suite No. 1 for Small Orchestra, composed in 1925. Beethoven’s revolutionary Seventh Symphony was cutting edge in 1812, a brilliant experiment in sound and color that helped shape the future of classical music.

Fri, Apr 29  7:30pm
Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

Sat, Apr 30  7:30pm
First United Methodist Church
625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto

Sun, May 1  3pm
Valley Center for the Performing Arts
Holy Names University
3500 Mountain Blvd, Oakland