San Francisco Symphony Centennial Exhibition

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September 12, 2011

San Francisco Symphony Centennial Exhibition Celebrates Opening

Symphony Archivist Joe Evans in Conversation with Author Larry Rothe Tuesday, September 13, 6 p.m., San Francisco Main Library


The San Francisco Public Library celebrates the opening of its exhibition, Music for a City, Music for the World: 100 Years with the San Francisco Symphony, with an on stage conversation between Symphony Archivist Joe Evans and author Larry Rothe, who wrote the book on which the centennial exhibition is based. The event begins at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the San Francisco Main Library’s Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco.


The exhibition, organized by Evans, is on view in the Library’s Jewett Galley through Jan. 9, 2012. The exhibition tells the story of the San Francisco Symphony and its role within and impact on its city, from its formative years following the 1906 earthquake to its present position as one of the country’s most respected orchestras.


The exhibition presents historic objects and documents drawn from the Symphony’s archival collections, including photos, concert posters, and programs, most exhibited for the first time. Rarities on display include a formal orchestra portrait from 1914, with founding music director Henry Hadley and violin soloist Fritz Kreisler. In a panoramic photograph from 1916, Civic Auditorium is packed with an audience of 10,000 at a Municipal Concert, one of the orchestra’s early city-sponsored performances. A classic photograph from the 1920s shows violinist Mary Pasmore and her cellist sister Dorothy - both were native San Franciscans who joined the orchestra shortly after the symphony became the first major American orchestra to hire women other than harpists.


A selection of the now-legendary RCA recordings that Pierre Monteux made with the Symphony in the 1940s displays the lavish and whimsical artwork that adorned the album covers. A T-shirt promoting the 1996 American Festival pays tribute to the festival’s famed guests, members of the former Grateful Dead. Eleven music directors have led the San Francisco Symphony, from Henry Hadley in 1911 to Michael Tilson Thomas today. The exhibition is organized chronologically around the tenures of these 11 music directors who have put an indelible mark on an orchestra and the institution that supports it.


Copies of Roth’s book, Music for a City, Music for the World will be available for purchase at the program on Sept. 13.


Upcoming Related Programs:

Documentary screening: San Francisco Symphony: At 100 - Q & A to follow screening with producer Janette Gitler. Oct. 5, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium.


An Audio History of the San Francisco Symphony with Scott Foglesong - Oct. 18, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium.


Music of the Barbary Coast and Beyond: San Francisco’s Musical Origins - Nov. 16, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium.


Musicians of the San Francisco Symphony, Past and Present - Dec. 13, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium.


Related Exhibit: The San Francisco Symphony in the Library’s Collections. The exhibit is drawn from the Art, Music and Recreation Center’s collections featuring programs, posters, newspaper clippings and other ephemera from the Library’s historical files. The focus of the exhibit is on the Symphony’s connection to San Francisco’s musical life, focusing on popular concerts and children’s concerts. Correspondence from the papers of Alfred Hertz, the Symphony’s second conductor during the years 1915 to 1930, will also be on view.

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