Esa-Pekka Salonen, pictured in his first performance with the orchestra as music director designate, won’t be opening San Francisco Symphony’s fall 2020 season in Davies Hall. (Courtesy Brandon Patoc/San Francisco Symphony)

San Francisco Symphony cancels concerts through Dec. 31

Fall 2020 season will not go on in Davies Hall due to pandemic

The San Francisco Symphony’s fall 2020 season, including the highly anticipated start of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s tenure as music director, will not go on due to COVID-19.

“This action is necessary in order to ensure the health and safety of our orchestra, chorus, staff, and audiences,” said San Francisco Symphony CEO Mark C. Hanson in a news release Thursday. “In accordance with statewide guidelines that live concert performances will not be permitted until the final stage of the reopening process, the City of San Francisco and the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center have indicated that all performances in Davies Symphony Hall must be canceled through the end of the calendar year.”

None of the concerts slated between Sept. 30 and Dec. 31, 2020 will be rescheduled.

In efforts to deal with the financial impact, the organization announced the implementation of a “shared sacrifice plan that includes temporary pay reductions for all employees earning more than $75,000 annually, and a staff restructuring that includes the elimination of some positions and some temporary furloughs of varied duration.”

Also, the symphony will permanently close its resale shop Repeat Performance on Fillmore Street effective July 31.

Ticketholders are encouraged to consider donating the cost of their tickets back to the symphony, which announced philanthropic funding matching programs; or to opt for gift certificates, which include a 20% credit, that won’t expire, based on the value of tickets they had purchased for use in future concerts.

All requests for ticket donations, gift certificates, exchanges, and refunds for the 2019-20 season must be received by Aug. 31, 2020, by phone or email only, at (415) 864-6000 or

Meanwhile, throughout June, the symphony continues MTT25: An Online Tribute, its digital programming honoring Michael Tilson Thomas’ 25-year tenure as music director, culminating in an event on June 28 at 5 p.m., hosted by vocalists Audra McDonald and Susan Graham and featuring plentiful special guests. To participate, visit

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