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By Trent Berry

The San Francisco Philharmonic Orchestra- led by Jessica Bejarano- is our city’s plucky indie orchestra known for its radical inclusivity, creative programming … .and almost Fugazi-like commitment to keeping costs down so that all can enjoy its unique fusions in classical music.

2023 saw the orchestra and its members again tackle the unknown.  Among the highlights: three season concerts at the Herbst Theatre, plus two more shows at the Herbst teaming up with legendary Bay Area rapper Andre Nickatina to perform his classics.  And of course, as there are so few female conductors are criminally underrepresented in the field, the SF Phil created a first-of-its-kind weeklong “conductor masterclass workshop” -bringing together mostly female conductors from around the globe- to share techniques and support.

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With groundbreaking moves the order of the day, one might wonder what the SF Phil had planned up its sleeve for its de facto final performance of 2023.  As it turns out, it’s a move towards traditional holiday fare, but with some special twists.  Saturday, December 16th at the Wilsey Center- a fantastic rendition of Peer Gynt, Suites 1 and 2, Op. 40- the musical children of the original work which was the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen‘s 1867 play of the same name. The suites have become more popular than their parent and are thus on the programming.

And then it seems fitting to send 2023 into 2024 with the final selection of TchaikovskyViolin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 featuring Wyatt Underhill, Associate Concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony. Perhaps no other orchestra in the Bay Area- or even the country- is as closely associated with performances of Tchaikovsky’s music as is the SF Phil. In many ways the composer’s personal life and identity mirrored the diversity and complexity so celebrated by the orchestra’s makeup, audience, and musical selections.

We’d love to tell you what we have cooked up for the 2024 season, but for the moment we are under an NDA!

Nevertheless, this final 2023 tour de force performance will take place at the aforementioned Wilsey center on the Fourth floor of the War Memorial Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue. Tickets can be purchased here:

Happy Holidays from the San Francisco Philharmonic…looking forward to seeing you there!

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