San Francisco Symphony celebrates its Centennial

The San Francisco Symphony will celebrate its Centennial in 2011-12 and today announced highlights for the Orchestra’s milestone year.

Presenting an ambitious season of concerts, programs, and events, expanded education programs and Centennial media initiatives, the Orchestra’s 100th season celebrates the American orchestra and its vibrant role within its community as an artistic leader and civic institution.

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony will break new ground with a two-week American Mavericks Festival both in San Francisco and touring the country; an unprecedented presentation of the most distinguished major American orchestras in one series, in one season; unique concerts and heritage events celebrating the period of the Symphony’s founding; artist and composer residencies featuring world premiere commissions; expanded music education programs including instrument training for public schools and an amateur music program for adults; and a variety of media projects that explore the living heritage of the Orchestra and its role within its community.

“In marking the Orchestra’s first hundred years, this season is the moment to define what this Orchestra will be for its next hundred,” said John D. Goldman, President of the San Francisco Symphony. “We celebrate the role our Symphony plays, not just in the lives of those who enjoy our distinctive brand of music -making here at home, but in sharing this great art form with the world and in celebrating its impact on all of our communities.”

San Francisco Symphony 100 Years


  • Centennial season opens with week of civic celebrations including Opening Gala, All-SF community concert, and free outdoor concert in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza
  • Iconic American Mavericks Festival returns in 2012 with world premiere commissions by John Adams and Mason Bates; soloists Jessye Norman, Meredith Monk, Jeremy Denk, Emanuel Ax, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet; Orchestra to bring American Mavericks concerts and events to audiences in Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Carnegie Hall in NY in two-week tour
  • Project San Francisco artist and composer residencies by Joshua Bell and Mason Bates
  • Unprecedented presentation of the major American orchestras in San Francisco to celebrate the SFS at 100: Two-concert residencies by the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra; all orchestras to bring commissioned works by composers such as Adès, Bates, Carter, Chapela, Clyne, Lindberg, and Sariaaho
  • Semi-staged concerts celebrating the music of early San Francisco, from the Gold Rush and beyond
  • Former Music Directors Edo de Waart and Herbert Blomstedt to return to the podium for concerts
  • Living Heritage media projects include historical book, documentary film, visual art project, and exhibitions featuring rare archival recordings
  • Expanded music education programs bring comprehensive support to every San Francisco public school with a music program, grades 1-12
  • Formation of a new Community Music Program to foster amateur music-making
  • Unique partnership with University of California at Irvine Center for Computer Games and Virtual Worlds to develop new interactive children’s website