San Francisco Symphony Celebrates Re-Opening Night

Music lovers in festive attire and glittering masks gathered at Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco on October 1 for an evening of rousing music, spirited dance and new beginnings



“I can’t wait to see what Esa-Pekka has planned for us,” said arts philanthropist Komal Shah. “It’s going to be an exciting year.”

That’s Esa-Pekka Salonen, the music director of the San Francisco Symphony; in its first full year under his leadership (after his truncated first season), the orchestra has initiated a dramatic concept to create new works with eight collaborative partners, including classical singer Julia Bullock, flutist Claire Chase, composer Nico Muhly, singer esperanza spalding (who performed in the Re-Opening Night program), artificial intelligence roboticist Carol Reiley and violinist Pekka Kuusisto.


Esa-Pekka Salonen took the podium to open his first full season as music director of the San Francisco Symphony.


“I’m so happy to greet all my friends and see new faces,” said Carolyn Chang before the performance. “Everyone is excited to be finally coming together.” Among those who came together in attendance were Natasha and Dagmar Dolby, Yuan Yuan Tan, Lisa Goldman and Leona Bridges.


The Alonzo King LINES Ballet performed choreography by their founder to a suite from Alberto Ginastera’s Estancia.


Symphony president Priscilla Geeslin, who was out front greeting arriving guests, thanked everyone for their continued support over the last year. Allison Speer commented on the symphony’s education programs for schools, funded by the re-opening fundraiser evening. (The evening before, the 41st All San Francisco Concert honored community groups and first responders.)


Singer/bassist esperanza spalding and pianist Leo Genovese were part of the guest jazz combo for Wayne Shorter’s Gaia.


As the lights dimmed, Salonen ran onto the stage and seemed to bound onto his podium to get started. The season opener was John Adams’ high-energy, full-orchestra composition Slonimsky’s Earbox (1995), with the joyful sounds of xylophones, gongs, cymbals, tambourines, trombones and a tuba. Happy music indeed — the audience cheered and whistled their appreciation and pleasure.


Feature image: Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the San Francisco Symphony on Re-Opening Night.


October 15, 2021

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