Founded in 1953, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra has remained an active voice in the Bay Area music community, presenting free concerts with an ensemble of the region’s top professional musicians.
The SFCO is dedicated to making classical music accessible and enjoyable to audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the Bay Area by providing fully professional, admission-free concerts and educational programming. The organization is also committed to inspiring and enlightening the next generation of music lovers through several outreach programs.
Critical and audience response to the 100+ concerts that the Orchestra has performed since 2002 under the leadership of music director Ben Simon has been overwhelmingly positive. Stylistic breadth and versatility of programming is one of the SFCO’s defining features, and reviews consistently cite the orchestra’s artistic excellence. San Francisco Classical Voice noted “the SFCO’s ability to transverse three centuries of music with consistent liveliness, grace and skill.” In 2004, Maestro Simon unveiled the most ambitious new music initiative undertaken by a professional chamber-sized orchestra in California: the New Works program has commissioned and presented a total of 23 new compositions to date along with numerous regional premieres.
The 2017-2018 season of consists of 36 performances in San Francisco, the East Bay and the Peninsula. They include the Orchestra’s core concert series: MainStage Concerts, dynamically interactive Family Concerts, and Very First Concerts: 20-minute presentations for children and toddlers. Classical at the Freight is a ticketed series of eight concerts at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse with guest artists in a café setting. The SFCO is an SF Weekly Best of San Francisco Award-recipient.