We believe that classical music is a joy to share with everyone,
especially the next generation.
San Francisco Chamber Orchestra is all about exploration!
Through its Family and Very First concerts, the orchestra reaches thousands of students and their families throughout the Bay Area. Our Debut Artists get to experience their first taste of life as a professional musician. Along with our young soloists, SFCO partners with local youth ensembles to play side-by-side with the Bay Area’s best and provides a springboard to composers by commissioning new chamber works. Come explore with us!
“Music is an incredible tool for good—inspiring and connecting our community through transformative musical experiences.”
Concerts for Children and Families
We are setting the stage for a life-long appreciation of this great art form.
San Francisco Chamber Orchestra’s Family Concerts provide an engaging and educational introduction to classical music free-of-charge and direct to families, making classical music accessible to everyone. At approximately 45 minutes in length, these fun and participatory performances are perfect for ages 6 through 12.
Very First Concerts
Designed with toddlers in mind, these delightful 20-minute presentations introduce musical concepts, offer hands-on activities, and encourage movement and dance without needing your wallet.
Become a member and receive priority seating and other special benefits.
“SFCO’s Debut Artist program offers outstanding young instrumentalists the opportunity to rehearse and perform publicly with professional musicians.”
The SFCO has a long and proud history of presenting the professional solo debut of talented young artists from the Bay Area. Why, our own music director, Benjamin Simon, was an SFCO debut artist once upon a time. Each season, Maestro Simon selects one debut artist for inclusion in our MainStage Concert series.
Past Debut Artists:
Rin Homma, piano
Yesenia Espinello, flute
Caleb Chen, violin
Wyeth Minami, viola
Sterling Elliott, cello
Grace Huh, violin
Sofie Ledor, violin
Chili Ekman, violin
San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows
Hilda Huang, piano
Nathan Chan, cello
Isabel Lau, cello
Stephen Waarts, violin
Audrey Vardanega, piano
“We consider it our obligation to harness the life-changing power of music to make our community a better place.”
New Works Program
Since its inception in 2004, our robust New Works Program has commissioned and presented 26 world premieres, while presenting five additional regional and local premieres.
A key element of our organization’s outreach efforts, the production of these contemporary pieces serves to advance 21st century compositional craft that reflects the diverse cultural traditions of our shared past.
Our commissions to date include new works from such leading artists as Paul Dresher, Kurt Rohde, Valerie Coleman, Wayne Wallace, Yu-Hui Chang, Gabriela Lena Frank, and current BMI Foundation Composer-in-Residence Michael Gilbertson.
Become a part of the creative process! Contributions toward our New Works Program put you in direct contact with the up-and-coming composers of classical music today. Please contact us for more information on how you can get involved!
See past productions:
Michael Gilbertson Overture to a Season (2018) [Commission & World Premiere]
Darcy Rindt Positively Sinful (2019) [Commission and World Premiere]
Michael Gilbertson Graffiti: Concerto for Orchestra (2018) [Commission & World Premiere]
Evan Price Concerto for Jazz Violin and Orchestra (2016) [Commission & World Premiere]
Peter Joshef The Dream Mechanic, Four Poems by Carol Vanderveer Hamilton (2016) [Commission & World Premiere]
Amy X Neuburg Hunger Strike (2016) [Commission & World Premiere]
Composed for performance by the SFCO with Amy herself (amplified voice) and string quartet Squid Inc.
Laurie San Martin layover/overlay Concerto for Two Marimbas and Chamber Orchestra [this orchestration: Commission & World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Mayumi Hama, Chris Froh, and the SFCO
Maria Schneider Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories (2013) [West Coast Premiere]
Stephen Saxon Luck or Wisdom? [Commission & World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Joel ben Izzy and the SFCO Companion Work: Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat
Aaron Jay Kernis Dreamsongs for cello and chamber orchestra (2013) [Co-commission]
Composed for performance by Joshua Roman and the SFCO
Gabriela Lena Frank Journey of the Shadow for Narrator & Chamber Orchestra [Commission & World Premiere]
Michael Gilbertson Concerto for Guitar & String Orchestra [Commission & World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Ben Pila and the SFCO
Harold Meltzer Sinfonia Concertante [Commission & World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Scott St. John, Sharon Wei, and the SFCO Companion Work: Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364
Rancho San Miguel for Jazz Trombone & Chamber Orchestra [Commission & World Premiere]
Incredible Shrinking Orchestra Project 2.0
Chamber Orchestration of Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet for 14 Players [Commission & World Premiere]
Arranged by Mark Ackerly, Red Bennett, David Gottlieb, and Noah Luna
The Spirit Is Alive for Solo Violin, Solo Cello, & String Orchestra [Commission & World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Gloria Justen, Eric Gaenslen, and the SFCO
Gabriela Lena Frank
Haílli Lírico Concerto for Violin & Chamber Orchestra [Commission & World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Robin Sharp and the SFCO
Clarinet Concerto [Commission and World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Dimitri Ashkenazy and the SFCO
Mountain is Mountain [Commission and World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Tod Brody and the SFCO
Viola Concerto [Commission & World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Madeline Prager and the SFCO
Concertino for Piano and Chamber Orchestra [Commission & World Premiere]
Cuban Variations for trombone and string quartet [Commission and World Premiere]
Elegy for cello and chamber orchestra [Commission & Wolrld Premiere]
Altar de Neon (2006) [Bay Area Premiere]
Full Faith and Credit (a concerto for two bassoons and chamber orchestra) (2004) [Commission & World Premiere]
Composed for performance by Peter Kolkay, Rufus Olivier, and the SFCO
Still, Rise, Fall Again (2005) [Commission & World Premiere]
"Untitled" for chamber orchestra (2005) [Commission and North Americ an Premiere]
“Youngsters love seeing young people perform, and the Bay Area is rich with wonderful student ensembles that deserve their turn in the spotlight.”
Young Partners in Performance
The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra has proudly featured talented young musicians in our Family and Very First Concerts, alongside our wonderful professionals, since the inception of these series.
Our Young Partners in Performance program brings youth ensembles to our stages for the experience, the thrill, and the sheer joy of performing for an audience of their peers. Collaborating partners include The Crowden Music Center, Oakland’s School for the Arts, Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Hillsdale (San Mateo) High School, and many others.
Young Partners in Performance
SFCM Prep Chamber Orchestra