Longtime musicians reminisce on San Francisco Symphony’s history

Posted on: September 2, 2011

In Thursday’s (9/1) San Jose Mercury News (California), Richard Scheinin writes, “From Henry Hadley—its founding conductor, back in 1911—through the ongoing reign of Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony has logged thousands of concerts attended by countless listeners. … But who remembers the Symphomaniacs? ‘That was our softball team,’ says Robert Ward, the orchestra’s principal horn. ‘Oh yeah,’ says Stephen Paulson, its principal bassoon. ‘And in 1981, the New York Philharmonic was here, and its conductor, Zubin Mehta, pitched against us.’ … Yes, the San Francisco Symphony’s fabled past includes many tucked-away memories that elude the history books. How to unearth them? On the verge of the orchestra’s 100th season, which begins Wednesday with a gala concert led by Tilson Thomas at Davies Symphony Hall, three of its senior members—Ward, Paulson and Stephen Tramontozzi, associate principal double bassist—sat down to reminisce about their shared musical lives. … Collectively, Ward, Paulson and Tramontozzi have tallied 96 seasons with the orchestra. … Today, these three musicians carry the lore of the orchestra—at least from its modern era. And having arrived as youngsters, and having been mentored by storytelling elders, they also carry a connection to the orchestra’s deeper past.”

Posted September 2, 2011