SOURCE: San Francisco Symphony

July 12, 2005 11:00 ET

San Francisco Symphony Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Davies Symphony Hall

Events Include September 7th Opening Gala Concert, Davies Symphony Hall Exhibition, January 2006 Free Concert Thanking 25-Year Patrons, Donors, and Volunteers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 12, 2005 -- The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) celebrates the 25th anniversary of Davies Symphony Hall with a September 7 Opening Gala concert and special events throughout its 94th concert season. To honor the community's support of the Symphony and of Davies Symphony Hall, celebrations include the SFS's 94th Season Opening Gala on September 7, 2005; a historical exhibit on display in September, October, and November at Davies Symphony Hall; and a free concert on January 31, 2006 for subscribers, donors, and volunteers who have been with the Symphony 25 years or longer.

Twenty-five years ago, on September 13, 1980, the SFS opened its new home, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, with a "hard hat concert" for those who had labored on the Hall's construction since groundbreaking in 1978. Three days later, the Hall opened officially with a gala concert that was seen across the country in the Symphony's first national telecast. In the past 25 years, the SFS has welcomed world-renowned musicians to its ranks, captured coveted recording prizes, launched television and multimedia projects, won countless new fans, established an acclaimed Youth Orchestra, founded an active Volunteer Council of more than 1,500 members from throughout the Bay Area, and involved its community through a host of nationally recognized educational and community concerts and services.

The move from the War Memorial Opera House to Davies Symphony Hall in 1980 marked a new era for the San Francisco Symphony. With a concert hall built specifically for symphonic music for the first time since its inaugural performance in 1911, the Orchestra became a completely new entity, separate from its previous incarnation as a symphony and an opera orchestra. The Symphony's new home allowed for year-round programming that raised the artistic quality to new heights and turned the Orchestra into a cultural force in the world. A dedicated home also made possible the establishment of the most extensive education and community programs offered by any American orchestra today. During its 25 years in Davies Symphony Hall, the SFS has grown immensely in stature and acclaim under three Music Directors: Edo de Waart, Herbert Blomstedt, and, for the last 10 seasons, Michael Tilson Thomas.

"We are so lucky to have Davies Symphony Hall," said Tilson Thomas. "The orchestra and I enjoy its warm sound and the close contact we have with our audience. We play in halls all over the world and truly there is no place like home."

A $28 million project, Davies Symphony Hall was designed by architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of San Francisco and Pietro Belluschi of Portland, Oregon. In 1992, Davies Symphony Hall underwent a major renovation enhancing its acoustics to ensure an even better musical experience, and making an already stunning interior more beautiful still.

Louise M. Davies was a SFS board member and philanthropist who supported many projects in the San Francisco community. Those efforts included major support of such organizations as the San Francisco Opera, Stanford University, the Exploratorium, and the medical center named after her husband, Ralph K. Davies. "The hall just wraps its arms around you." Davies said when she stepped inside the newly built Symphony Hall. "We needed a hall, and I had the money, and I gave it," she answered when asked why she gave so much, "and because I love the music." Davies died in 1998.

Special celebrations for the 25th anniversary of Davies Symphony Hall include the following events and activities.

SEASON OPENING GALA: The SFS's 94th Season Opening Gala will take place on September 7, 2005. The gala celebration marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of Davies Symphony Hall and begins at 5:30 p.m. with the Patrons' Dinner, Symphony Supper, and Symphonix Dinner. Yurie Pascarella is Chairman of the 2005 Opening Gala. The SFS's Opening Gala Week is sponsored by Wells Fargo for the sixth consecutive year and also receives generous support from Visa U.S.A. Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS will be joined by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing Shostakovich's "Cello Concerto No. 1." The program will also include Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio espagnol," and Tchaikovsky's "Marche slave."

THE EXHIBIT: Curated by David Reffkin in association with the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum, the 25th anniversary exhibition will include a photographic retrospective of the construction and renovation; photos documenting appearances by notable guests, performances, and community events; and a variety of materials from the hall and its 25-year history. The exhibition will open September 13 and will run until through November in the First Tier Lobby of Davies Symphony Hall.

CONCERT: Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony perform a free concert on January 31, 2006, thanking and recognizing subscribers, donors, and volunteers who have been with the Symphony for 25 years or longer. This is an invitation-only event.

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

Founded in 1911, the San Francisco Symphony has a long and distinguished history marked by artistic excellence, educational initiatives, international tours, acclaimed recordings, and innovative programming. In ten seasons together, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS have formed a musical partnership hailed for its revitalization of the classical music experience. The first orchestra to feature national symphonic radio broadcasts in 1926, the SFS remains a leader in the field of electronic media with endeavors such as the Grammy Award-winning Mahler recording cycle for the Orchestra's own SFS Media label, Minnesota Public Radio's Peabody Award-winning American Mavericks radio series and Web site, inspired by and produced in association with MTT and the SFS, and the Emmy Award-winning PBS/KQED Public Television production of the SFS's Sweeney Todd in Concert. In 2004, the SFS launched Keeping Score: MTT on Music, a groundbreaking project aimed at providing audiences of today with a connection to classical music and the powerful emotions it conveys. The initiative launched with a PBS telecast on June 16 and includes a Web site, educational outreach, a radio series, and a continuing television series. The Orchestra's commitment to education and the community, begun in 1919 with the development of Concerts for Kids, is today recognized nationally and internationally for programs including Adventures in Music, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Music for Families, and www.sfskids.com. For additional information, visit www.sfsymphony.org.

ABOUT DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL

Completed in September, 1980 after more than two years of construction, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is the home of the San Francisco Symphony. The City of San Francisco donated the land for the building, and more than six thousand individuals, foundations, and corporations gave the money needed to build the 2,743 seat, $28 million hall. Davies Symphony Hall is owned by the City and County of San Francisco and managed by the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center. The San Francisco Symphony's home owes its name to the efforts and perseverance of Mrs. Louise M. Davies, the largest individual contributor to the building. During the summer of 1992, Davies Symphony Hall underwent a major renovation, enhancing its acoustics to ensure an even better musical experience, and making an already stunning interior more beautiful still. Special care was also taken to provide improved facilities for the physically disabled. Each year more than 600,000 concertgoers attend performances by the SFS, recitals, visiting orchestras, and the SFS Youth Orchestra. Over 60,000 schoolchildren come to Davies Symphony Hall each year to enjoy the Symphony's free educational programs and concerts.

For further information about the San Francisco Symphony or Davies Symphony Hall, please visit www.sfsymphony.org or call 415-552-8000.

CALENDAR LISTING

The San Francisco Symphony Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Davies Symphony Hall With 94th Season Opening Gala Celebration

WHAT:     2005-2006 Season Opening Gala celebration marking the 25th
          anniversary of the opening of Davies Symphony Hall with the Patrons'
          Dinner, Symphony Supper, and Symphonix Dinner.  Yurie Pascarella is
          Chairman of the 2005 Opening Gala. The SFS's Opening Gala Week is  
          sponsored by Wells Fargo for the sixth consecutive year and also  
          receives generous support from Visa U.S.A. Music Director Michael  
          Tilson Thomas and the SFS will open the 2005-06 season with a special 
          gala concert featuring world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing  
          Shostakovich's "Cello Concerto No. 1."  The program will also include 
          Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio espagnol" and Tchaikovsky's "Marche  
          slave."

WHO:      Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
          Yo-Yo Ma, cello
          San Francisco Symphony

WHEN:     Gala September 7, 2005
          5:30 p.m.  Pre-Concert Dinners
          8:30 p.m.  Opening Gala Concert
          10:30 p.m. Post-Concert Parties

WHERE:    Davies Symphony Hall
          201 Van Ness Street
          San Francisco, CA
          415-552-8000

TICKETS:  Tickets for the Opening Gala are currently on sale. All tickets
          may be purchased through SFS Ticket Services at (415) 864-6000.
          Concert-only tickets, which include Pre-Concert Promenade and 
          Post-Concert Parties, are priced from $125 to $240 per person. 

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