Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

San Francisco Symphony

DJ/Composer Mason Bates Drops New Album With the San Francisco Symphony

When DJ/composer Mason Bates was named to 7x7's 2012 Hot 30, he was having a big year: The composer-in-residence at the San Francisco Symphony had just premiered his electronic orchestral work Mass Transmission at Davies Hall, and another of his works, Alternative Energy, was opening the season at Carnegie Hall. Now, Bates is once again making headlines in the music world with a new album dropping March 11.

Symphonix Fall 2012 Membership Event

On November 28, Symphonix hosted their fall membership event at the newly opened Alibi Restaurant and Lounge in SOMA. Guests in cocktail and business attire braved the rain to show their support and kick-off the 2012-2013 season. The event was complimentary for Symphonix members, while non-members had the opportunity to join and be part of the San Francisco Symphony’s young professional league.

June Classical Roundup: Chanticleer, Yuja Wang, and Placido Domingo

Chanticleer Goes Romantic

One of the world’s best male choruses, Chanticleer hits up its native San Francisco with bell-like harmonies and songs of desire, pain, and euphoria - basically, the sound of every emotion to ever trail hopefully after love. 

Bonus: one their tracks graces the new Brad Pitt/Sean Penn movie, The Tree of Life. So if you want to hear this Grammy award-winning orchestra of voices live, check it out. (Amazing sound, no Brad Pitt - you'll have to weigh your priorities.) 

June 3 and June 12. San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street. Tickets are $20-44 at (415) 392-4400. (Additional dates in Santa Clara, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and Napa.) 


Mahler Gets the Michael Tilson Thomas Treatment

There is a whole lot of Gustav Mahler going on this month. May marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the composer’s death and celebrations are happening everywhere in the world where classical music is a thing. Acclaimed interpreters of Mahler’s work, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been invited to perform in Vienna, Prague, Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, and other European music hot spots this spring. In conjunction with all the mad Mahler action, the Symphony’s Grammy-winning Mahler recording project will be released in a box CD set and KQED will broadcast concerts. So if you ever wanted to learn about Mahler, his music, or Michael Tilson Thomas’s interpretations thereof - here's your chance. 

Classical Roundup: World-Famous Conductor Makes His SF Debut

Donne Virtuose - Music By Remarkable Women

Turns out women wrote classical music too. (RIGHT? Come on, I can't be the only who wants to throw a geek parade with french horns over this.) Featuring female composers who bucked social restrictions to write arias and instrumental sonatas, the program is performed by soprano Jennifer Ellis Kampani and violinists Rob Diggins and Jolianne von Einem. Composers in question are: Francesca Caccini from the Medici Court, Venetian intellectual Barbara Strozzi, Isabella Leonarda from a Novarese convent, and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre of the Parisian aristocracy. There probably won't be a parade. (BUT THERE SHOULD BE.) 

Classical Roundup: Strings and Cinderella Stories

You can check 7x7's concert roll on the right-hand side of the homepage for concerts of the rock, pop and dance varieties, but for the more classical-music inclined, here's our roundup what we're anticipating to be the best performances of the month.

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

Masters at classical guitar genre-bending (their repertoire jumps from Bach to bluegrass to samba to African drum circle), the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet plays Herbst Theatre next weekend. Known on Youtube for its deconstructed version of Pachelbel’s Canon (check it out here), the group has been together for thirty years, playing inventive, critically acclaimed music around the world.

November's Classical Roundup: Rufus Wainwright, San Francisco Symphony, and Exotic Instruments

San Francisco Symphony: Carmina Burana and Haydn

If you’ve ever caught yourself singing “OH, FORTUNA!” when finding yet another parking ticket on your windshield (culturally superior to calling the Dept. of Parking & Traffic egg-swilling pigs), now’s your chance to hear the professionals do it. One of Western music’s most iconic works, Carmina Burana is powerful and impassioned and well-worth hearing in the symphony hall. Alfred Schnittke’s whimsical salute to the Classical period and Haydn’s beloved Symphony No. 97 are also on the program.

October's Classical Music Roundup: Takacs Quartet, Joshua Bell at SF Symphony and New Spectrum Ensemble

Takacs Quartet

Takacs Quartet, one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles, takes the San Francisco stage for the first time in more than 20 years. As does Geraldine Walther, who defected from the San Francisco Symphony five years ago to join Takacs Quartet (as a twenty-nine year veteran, she was probably ready for a change of scenery) (not to imply the SF Symphony scenery isn’t a pleasure to behold). Applying their legendary technical skill and musical magnetism to Haydn, Beethoven, and Bartók (a bow to the ensemble’s Hungarian roots), this Grammy- winning group is a one night only offer.

January's Classical Music Offerings

Classical Revolution

By performing chamber music in bars and cafes, Classical Revolution aims to alter people's perception of classical music; namely, that it's inaccessible and the bastion of gray-haired octogenarians. By playing in venues of the young and hip, local artists of varying pedigree - students or recent grads of top conservatories and accomplished non-professional musicians - help thread classical music through San Francisco's nightlife. Proving that classical music is still relevant, no matter what Lady GaGa might tell you.

Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St. every Sunday night. For information, visit

Murder Most Musical, Lemony Brings in the Goth at the San Francisco Symphony

The Cellos and bass are weary from dragging their large bodies around.  Likewise, the percussion instruments are beat.

(They had employed xylophoniness and cymbalism, you see). Such orchestral shenanigans bare the distinctively peculiar mark of Lemony Snicket, the pseudonymous author whose name is synonymous with macabre mayhem for the younger crowd.

Daily Newsletters

Essential SF knowledge in your inbox