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San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

The orchestra was founded in 1911 with just 13 musicians,  in the years after the San Francisco earthquake.  It gave its first concert in 1911 in the Cort Theater, Ellis Street, under the conductorship of Henry Hadley.

Alfred Hertz took over the position and since him its acclaimed conductors and musical directors have included Pierre Monteaux, Josef Krips, Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Prokofiev, Aaron Copland, John Adams, Seiki Ozawa, Edo De Waart and the current holder of the position, Michael Tilson Thomas.  Herbert Blomfeldt, who conducted for 10 years from 1985, is the Conductor Laureate.

They have performed in concerts worldwide and have made many award winning recordings including Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet which won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance, a three disc set of Stravinsky recordings which won three Grammy Awards in 2000 for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Recording and Best Engineered Classical Album, and a 1999 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance on The Call of Ktulu with the rock group Metallica.  They have also won further Grammy Awards for Orff’s Carmina Burana, Brahms’ German Requiem, Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra as well as the French Grand Prix du Disque, Belgium’s Caecilia Prize and the British Gramophone Award for Nielsen’s symphonies, the Japanese Record Academy Award for Grieg’s Peer Gynt and the German Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (which was also a Grammy Award nomination).

Since 2001 they have had their own recording label, SFS Media, and three of their releases have made it to the top ten of the Billboard Classical Chart. The orchestra currently plays in the Louis M. Davies Symphony Hall which was built in 1980 and was previously housed in the War Memorial Opera House.

John Coolidge Adams Recordings
Shaker Loops – Hymning Slews
Philips 475 7551 (CD: Steve Reich: Variations/ John Adams: Shaker Loops)
Conductor – Edo de Waart