City rings in season with music and more music

At Davies Hall, the San Francisco Symphony is offering its usual rich and varied holiday fare: “The Colors of Christmas,” with Peabo Bryson, James Ingram, Stephanie Mills and Deniece Williams continues today through Wednesday; Handel’s “Messiah,” conducted by Jane Glover and featuring soprano Lucy Crowe, mezzo Catherine Wyn-Rogers, tenor Lawrence Brownlee and bass-baritone Derrick Parker is onstage Thursday through Saturday; and the “Vienna Woods” gala, conducted by James Gaffigan and featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell is presented Dec. 29 through Dec. 31. Tickets, available at www.sfsymphony.org, are $20 to $87.

When it comes to holiday presents, how can you improve on the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra’s series of free concerts across the Bay Area? Yes, everyone is invited to these concerts (for details, visit www.sfchamberorchestra.org), conducted by Benjamin Simon, with Robert Schwartz on piano and Jeffrey Strong on trumpet as soloists. The program: Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Georg Frederic Handel’s Trumpet Concerto in G minor. Performances are 8 p.m. Dec. 29 at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco; Dec. 31 at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley and at 3 p.m. Jan. 1 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto.

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