Opening Weekend FAQs

Welcome Back to the California Symphony!

It’s been more than 18 months since we last gathered for an in-person concert, and the performances of EMPEROR on Saturday, September 18 and Sunday, September 19 will be among the first under the city’s new compulsory vaccination and masking rules. 

Thank you for bearing with us as together we navigate the path back to live performances!

Does California Symphony require vaccination and masks?

In line with city directives and most Bay Area performing arts venues, we ARE requiring patrons, staff, volunteers, and musicians to show proof of vaccination. Additionally, masks must be worn regardless of vaccination status.

For details, please visit:

Are tickets still available for EMPEROR?

Yes! You can buy online at or call the Lesher Center Ticket Office at 925.943.7469, Wed through Sun, from 12:00 noon till 6:00 pm.

I have tickets but I’m not ready to come back to the hall. What can I do?

We understand. You can:

  • Give them to friends
  • Exchange them for another performance in the season
  • Donate them to the Symphony and receive a tax receipt in return

If you’d rather get a refund, please contact the Lesher Center Ticket Office at least two hours before your scheduled performance.

When should I arrive?

Saturday’s performance starts at 7:30 pm and Sunday’s at 4:00 pm, and you are also welcome to attend the free, 30-minute pre-concert talk, starting one hour before each show. We recommend allowing plenty of time to park, complete the vaccine status check, and get to your seat. If you’re late, you’ll be allowed in at a suitable break in the program.

What’s the process for checking vaccine status?

California Symphony’s concerts will be among the first large-scale events at the Lesher Center after the adoption of the vaccine and masking policies. We hope you will bear with us as pioneers of the new system!

Vaccination checks will be on Rudney Plaza, near the front doors to the Lesher Center.  Patrons picking up tickets can visit Will Call before getting in the vaccination queue.  You should have your photo ID and vaccination information ready when approaching the front doors to the Lesher Center.  

The lines should open at approximately 5:00pm on Saturday and 1:30pm on Sunday, giving you plenty of time to get situated before the free pre-concert talk.

Is there a pre-concert talk?

Yes! If you like, you can join Music Director Donato Cabrera and soloist Adam Golka for a free, 30-minute, pre-concert conversation starting one hour before the performance. Patrons are requested to sit in their ticketed seats in the Hofmann Theater for the talk.

Will there be ice cream?

Sadly not this time, but we do expect the volunteer vendors to return in the new year.

Will there be wine?

Is this the California Symphony..?

Wine, beer, sodas and snacks will be available to purchase at the bars on the 2nd floor lobby at Lesher.

Can we still take beverages into the hall?

Not for these concerts. Please finish your beverages in the lobby, before entering the theater, and for everyone’s comfort, please pull your mask down only to take a sip – thank you!

Will there be programs?

Yes, however for at least these first concerts of the new season, we are going paperless. You can access a flippable PDF version of the program online here or by scanning the QR code you will see posted around the lobby.

Anything special happening for opening night?

There will be an area on the 2F lobby where you can take your red carpet selfies. 

Also, in addition to the usual array of beers, wines and sodas, you can treat yourself to some Prosecco to toast the new season. Cheers!