San Francisco Symphony’s fall gala moves outdoors

Posted on: October 5, 2021

San Francisco Symphony’s “Re-Opening Night” afterparty outside Davies Symphony Hall. Photo: Laura Morton/San Francisco Chronicle

“The San Francisco Symphony’s ‘Re-Opening Night’ celebration Friday struck the difficult balance between preserving the event’s beloved traditions while making graceful adjustments,” writes Tony Bravo in Monday’s (10/4) San Francisco Chronicle. “The usual dinners and tent over the ‘Lake Louise’ parking lot next to Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall were replaced with receptions on Grove Street and a VIP event in an open-air setup. Vaccination cards were checked and masks were required indoors…. Esa-Pekka Salonen’s first-season opening concert as music director after a year delayed heightened anticipation, but this was also Priscilla Geeslin’s first outing as Symphony president. What hasn’t changed is the event’s essence, mixing formal gala pageantry with a block party spirit…. The tent-free setup feels like a keeper for the future…. ‘We wanted this to be open, welcoming, more part of the community we’re in,’ Geeslin explained…. After the performance by the Symphony, Grove Street flooded with attendees…. Moving lantern light sculptures illuminated the scene…. At the backstage reception, … Symphony Collaborative Partner Esperanza Spalding [noted] one positive shift … since the pandemic: ‘The audience is more attentive and generous with their intention. You don’t see people on phones. People are very present.’ ”