One Hundred Years - SF Symphony
by Alexander Winter

San Francisco is a city filled with music lovers and bursting with musical talent. In the aftermath of the big earthquake of 1906 the city arose from its ashes just like the phoenix on the San Francisco seal. There had been many attempts to organize a symphony orchestra in the city’s early years, but it wasn’t until December 20th 1909 when a group of ten men got together in the Assembly room of the Mercantile Trust Company of San Francisco. These men believed it their civic duty as successful businessmen to institute an orchestra and created the Musical Association of San Francisco with the goal to create a “San Francisco Orchestra”. It became part of a citywide effort to bring the Panama-Pacific International Exposition to San Francisco for 1915. The Musical Association went on to raise $220,000 dollars by August 1911. It might have been funded by some of the wealthiest and most influential San Franciscans, but the goal was to create an orchestra for the people that would transcend the old social cache of a symphony, and not be exclusive.

Henry Hadley was hired as the first conductor for this new orchestra. Within a month of his arrival in San Francisco in October of 1911, Hadley brought together a group of 60 professional musicians and struck a deal with the Cort Theatre at 64 Ellis

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    Symphony Photos courtesy of the San Francisco Symphony.


    Barbary Coast and Beyond: Music from the Gold Rush to the Panama-Pacific Exposition.

    Music from the Gold Rush to the Panama-Pacific Exposition Program to include works by Bull, Gottschalk, Liszt, Meyerbeer, Offenbach, Wieniawski, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Sousa, and Saint-Saëns Sing along with the Orchestra to “California, Here I Come”, “Hello, Frisco, Hello!”, “Hail! California”, and “San Francisco”

    May 10-12
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This article was published:
Throwback Issue - Released May 2012
Issue 4 / Version 2 | Buy print copy here
Issue 11
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