James Ambroff-Tahan

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)

SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
Tenor Pene Pati appears in San Francisco Opera’s stream of Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” in January. (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

S.F. Opera, buffeted by pandemic, resolutely heads for brighter future

Challenging year spurs company to ‘look at new artistic horizons’

Tenor Pene Pati appears in San Francisco Opera’s stream of Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” in January. (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)
Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets appear in “Diamonds” from George Balanchine’s “Jewels,” on Program 4 of San Francisco Ballet’s 2021 virtual season. (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)

SF Ballet adapts to COVID’s challenging footing

Dancers stay in shape preparing for 2021 digital season

Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets appear in “Diamonds” from George Balanchine’s “Jewels,” on Program 4 of San Francisco Ballet’s 2021 virtual season. (Courtesy Erik Tomasson)
Andrew Faulk wrote "My Epidemic." (Courtesy photo)

Doctor’s memoir a fitting remembrance for World AIDS Day

‘My Epidemic’ tells personal stories of men who died

Andrew Faulk wrote "My Epidemic." (Courtesy photo)
Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s Robert Burns Lowman and Chloé Watson perform while incorporating COVID safety protocols at Mori Point in Pacifica. (Courtesy Vin Eiamvuthikom)

Performing arts groups surviving pandemic’s challenges

Local organizations weathering storm with diligent budgeting, creative programming

Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s Robert Burns Lowman and Chloé Watson perform while incorporating COVID safety protocols at Mori Point in Pacifica. (Courtesy Vin Eiamvuthikom)
Obi Kaufmann’s new nature and art volume is “The Forests of California.” (Courtesy photo)

Forum on ‘Forests of California’ towers at virtual Litquake

Beloved SF literary festival goes online during pandemic, remains jam-packed

Obi Kaufmann’s new nature and art volume is “The Forests of California.” (Courtesy photo)
Gaëtan Dugas is the subject of “Killing Patient Zero,” a documentary about a gay flight attendant wrongly accused of starting the spread of AIDS in North America. (Courtesy photo)

Frameline44 revisits LGBTQ+ lessons from the past

Varied film lineup addresses themes that reverberate today

Gaëtan Dugas is the subject of “Killing Patient Zero,” a documentary about a gay flight attendant wrongly accused of starting the spread of AIDS in North America. (Courtesy photo)
San Francisco Girls Chorus Artistic Director Valerie Sainte-Agathe, at right with singers, says the organization has adapted well to life during the pandemic.                                 Courtesy photo

S.F. Girls Chorus concludes virtual season with Carnegie Hall concert re-broadcast

With a dedicated corps of youthful talent, the San Francisco Girls Chorus…

San Francisco Girls Chorus Artistic Director Valerie Sainte-Agathe, at right with singers, says the organization has adapted well to life during the pandemic.                                 Courtesy photo
Jacki Weaver stars in “Stage Mother,” a San Francisco-set feature closing the Frameline44 Pride Showcase. (Courtesy Frameline)

SF-set ‘Stage Mother’ closes Frameline Pride Showcase

Digital film fest offers features, shorts, docs of local and international interest

Jacki Weaver stars in “Stage Mother,” a San Francisco-set feature closing the Frameline44 Pride Showcase. (Courtesy Frameline)
Relentless gay rights and public health activist Larry Kramer was an acclaimed theater and screenwriter as well. (Courtesy HBO)

Larry Kramer’s persistence opened doors, achieved lasting results

Feisty advocate-writer left indelible impact on SF, the world

Relentless gay rights and public health activist Larry Kramer was an acclaimed theater and screenwriter as well. (Courtesy HBO)
Eun Sun Kim conducts San Francisco Opera’s gala opening concert and “Fidelio.” (Courtesy Marc Olivier Le Blanc)

Stories of political struggle on tap for SF Opera’s 98th season

‘Fidelio,’ ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Der Zwerg’ come to War Memorial

Eun Sun Kim conducts San Francisco Opera’s gala opening concert and “Fidelio.” (Courtesy Marc Olivier Le Blanc)
Avshalom Weinstein, left, and his father Amnon Weinstein are the founders of “Violins of Hope.”(Courtesy photo)

Holocaust-era instruments tell untold stories

‘Violins of Hope’ recalls lives, music of those who suffered at hands of Nazis

Avshalom Weinstein, left, and his father Amnon Weinstein are the founders of “Violins of Hope.”(Courtesy photo)
At center, from left, Robin Johannsen, Nicholas McGegan and Nicholas Phan perform in Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale’s “Judas Maccabaeus.” (Courtesy Frank Wing)

Philharmonia Baroque’s ‘Judas Maccabaeus’ a triumph

Soloists, chorus shine in oratorio telling tale of Jewish victory

At center, from left, Robin Johannsen, Nicholas McGegan and Nicholas Phan perform in Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale’s “Judas Maccabaeus.” (Courtesy Frank Wing)
Kitka’s repertoire features music from Eastern Europe and Eurasia. (Courtesy Vincent Louis Carrella)

Kitka’s ‘Wintersongs’ address climate change

Striking vocal ensemble sounds ancient and futuristic at the same time

Kitka’s repertoire features music from Eastern Europe and Eurasia. (Courtesy Vincent Louis Carrella)
From left, Heidi Stober as Gretel, Robert Brubaker as the Witch and Sasha Cooke as Hansel appear in San Francisco Opera’s “Hansel and Gretel.” (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

SF Opera sets holiday mood with gentler, charming ‘Hansel and Gretel’

Family-friendly production lightens Grimm fairy tale

From left, Heidi Stober as Gretel, Robert Brubaker as the Witch and Sasha Cooke as Hansel appear in San Francisco Opera’s “Hansel and Gretel.” (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)
Lianna Haroutounian and Brian Jagde excel in San Francisco Opera’s “Manon Lescaut.” (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

Favorite principals appeal in San Francisco Opera’s ‘Manon Lescaut’

Nicola Luisotti conducts with passion, great reception in return to podium

Lianna Haroutounian and Brian Jagde excel in San Francisco Opera’s “Manon Lescaut.” (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)
Joseph Young, pictured conducting the Berkeley Symphony, opens the orchestra’s season on Oct. 24 at Zellerbach Hall. (Courtesy Dave Welland)

Joseph Young takes lead of Berkeley Symphony

Conductor heads up diverse, premiere-laden 2019-20 season

Joseph Young, pictured conducting the Berkeley Symphony, opens the orchestra’s season on Oct. 24 at Zellerbach Hall. (Courtesy Dave Welland)
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, led by Nicholas McGegan, performs new and old music in “A Cosmic Notion.” (Courtesy photo)

Philharmonia Baroque peforms lofty season opener

‘Cosmic’ concert spans from Handel to otherworldly Shaw premiere

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, led by Nicholas McGegan, performs new and old music in “A Cosmic Notion.” (Courtesy photo)
From left, Jeanine De Bique, Michael Sumuel and Nicole Heaston appear in San Francisco Opera’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

New production fine match for SF Opera’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’

‘Manor home’ trilogy of Mozart works gets off to good start

From left, Jeanine De Bique, Michael Sumuel and Nicole Heaston appear in San Francisco Opera’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)
Michael Tilson Thomas conducted the San Francisco Symphony on Thursday in the premiere of John Adams’ “I Still Dance,” Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4 performed by Daniil Trifonov. (Courtesy Grittani Creative LTD)

SF Symphony debuts John Adams’ lively salute to MTT

Pianist Daniil Trifonov joins orchestra in enaging program

Michael Tilson Thomas conducted the San Francisco Symphony on Thursday in the premiere of John Adams’ “I Still Dance,” Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4 performed by Daniil Trifonov. (Courtesy Grittani Creative LTD)