These days in the Bay Area, the California Symphony may be the most forward-looking music organization around.”
– Mercury News
The California Symphony, under the leadership of Music Director Donato Cabrera since 2013, is distinguished by its vibrant concert programs that combine classics alongside American repertoire and works by living composers, and for bringing music to people in new and unconventional settings.
The orchestra includes musicians who perform with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, and others, and is based in Walnut Creek at the Lesher Center for the Arts with additional recent performances around the region in Napa Valley, Concord, Oakland, and Berkeley.
And Still Growing
Over the last four years, the California Symphony’s audience has nearly doubled and the donor base has increased by +180%.
Outside of the concert hall, the Symphony actively supports music education as a driver for social change through its El Sistema-inspired Sound Minds program at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, CA, which brings intensive music instruction and academic enrichment to schoolchildren in an area where 94% of students qualify for the federal free or reduced price lunch program, at no cost to the students who participate. The Orchestra also hosts the highly competitive Young American Composer-in-Residence program and its current composer, Viet Cuong. California Symphony has launched the careers of some of today’s most well-known artists, including violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, cellists Alisa Weilerstein and Joshua Roman, pianist Kirill Gerstein and composers such as Mason Bates, Christopher Theofanidis, and Kevin Puts.
Commitment to Diversity
In 2017, the California Symphony became the first orchestra with a public statement of a commitment to diversity. The statement underscores our commitment, on stage and off in order to make our organization as robust as possible. To read more about our commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion read our full statement here.
Mission & Vision
The mission of the California Symphony is to enhance the lives of those it serves in Contra Costa County and the extended San Francisco Bay Area by performing the full range of orchestral repertoire of the highest quality with special attention to the work of American composers, presenting talented young performers in their first professional concert appearances, featuring performances by world class artists, and providing education outreach programs for the children and adults of our community.
Founded in 1986 under founding Music Director Barry Jekowsky, our vision is to become a 21st-century orchestra, making classical music relevant to those we serve, bringing in new audiences along the way, and ultimately more fully living up to our name across the state of California.