Fresh Look: The Symphony Exposed
What does the conductor do besides wave the baton? What is a clarinetist and where do they sit in the orchestra? Why do the violins sit half on the left and half on the right…except when they don’t? A new program launched in summer of 2018 in English with live Spanish translation, this introductory course for adults aims to answer the questions most orchestras don’t so you can better enjoy all kinds of orchestral music.
Live classes are typically held over four or five weeks in July with Scott Foglesong (San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Symphony). The $30 course fee also includes a $30 voucher to use toward your first purchase of a ticket for a California Symphony concert of your choice the following season.
Sometimes it’s our composer-in-residence talking about how an idea in their head becomes notes on a page for an orchestra to play for the very first time. Sometimes it’s a soloist demonstrating their craft. Sometimes it’s the conductor sharing why they chose those specific pieces of music for that program. Almost always, Music Director Donato Cabrera is leading these discussions, and almost always, these talks happen at various public library locations around the region. Absolutely always, you get to ask your questions (How do you hear an entire orchestra in your head? Is there any piece of music you never want to perform?) and have the experts give you an answer.
California Symphony Alliance
In 1991, founding Music Director Barry Jekowsky asked Jane Seeborg to form an auxiliary group to raise funds in support of the orchestra. A group of seven women named the group the California Symphony Alliance. The Alliance held its first fundraiser at Tourelle’s Restaurant in Lafayette honoring guest conductor David Ogden Stiers. Today the Alliance totals about 30 members and raises thousands each year for the California Symphony, in addition to providing volunteer support for its education programs and events. Alliance members pay annual dues to join and hold monthly meetings and social events.
Every concert is more enjoyable when you know more about the music being performed, the composers who wrote it, and the musicians that make it happen. Free to ticketholders, pre-concert talks begin one hour before the performance, are personally led by Music Director Donato Cabrera, and he usually brings out the guest artist(s) performing that day to join him. So come early and get a better parking space in the garage, bring your drink in the theater if you’d like, sit wherever you want, and enjoy this half-hour pre-party, leaving you thirty minutes between the talk and the performance to stretch your legs, use the facilities, and find your seat before showtime.