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San Diego Symphony Announces 2023-24 Inaugural Season In Newly Renovated Jacobs Music Center

Conductors making their San Diego Symphony debut include Paolo Bortolameolli, Tianyi Lu, Otto Tausk and Michael Tilson Thomas.

The San Diego Symphony today announced the wide-ranging programs of its 2023-24 Jacobs Music Center season that will introduce audiences to the organization's renovated and revitalized indoor home, Copley Symphony Hall at Jacobs Music Center, beginning November 4, 2023.

Performances of the works of more than 35 composers, spanning symphonic eras and repertoire and representing 250 years of music, will showcase the Orchestra's versatility and virtuosity while bringing to life the enhanced acoustics and capabilities of the hall following a $125 million renovation and restoration.

Highlights of the season will include Mahler's Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection" with the California Festival Chorus, featuring voices from some of the best choruses in the state, and soloists Angela Meade and Anna Larsson; The Ring Without Words, a symphonic journey through Richard Wagner's Ring cycle, conducted by Music Director Rafael Payare as an homage to his mentor, Lorin Maazel; excerpts from Prokofiev's beloved Romeo and Juliet; World Premieres by Texu Kim, Carlos Simon, and Vladimir Tarnopolsky; and the West Coast Premieres of works by Mason Bates, Gabriela Ortiz and Billy Childs.

"We have much to celebrate here in San Diego," said Music Director Rafael Payare, "and an abundance of exciting programs with which to welcome everyone back to Jacobs Music Center. Audiences will discover a new concert experience and hear the phenomenal musicians of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra as never before. At last, the Orchestra will have an indoor home to match its artistry and the enthusiasm of its public."

The opening night concert on November 4 will feature Rafael Payare leading the Orchestra in the World Premiere of a fanfare for Jacobs Music Center commissioned from Korean-born American composer Texu Kim, Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, and the West Coast Premiere of a new saxophone concerto by Billy Childs featuring soloist Steven Banks. Childs, known for his work as a GRAMMY nominated jazz musician and composer, is considered one of the most relevant American composers of today. Also, this marks soloist Steven Banks' first performance with the San Diego Symphony. Rounding out this festive opening night will be Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate, with soprano Liv Redpath and Debussy's La mer.

Additionally, as part of its opening festivities the organization will host its first Family Concert of the year on November 5, as well as free activities and performances throughout the week for San Diegans to enjoy the new performance hall, lobbies, and activity spaces. Details on the week of free programming will be available on the Symphony's Jacobs Music Center website in the coming months.

"It is a once in a lifetime chance to reopen a historic building," said Martha Gilmer, CEO of the San Diego Symphony. "The idea of renewal, renovation, and indeed resurrection are themes for the entire year, and therefore it is only fitting that our first few weeks of the season begin with works like Mahler's 2nd Symphony. This work, also known as his 'Resurrection' symphony, exhibits extremes of emotion, brilliant orchestration, glorious solo voices and chorus, and one of the most exquisite and joyful endings of any work of music." Gilmer continued, "upon our return it will have been over 40 months since we have joined together in our beloved Jacobs Music Center, and we cannot wait to welcome our audience home, and to welcome new friends who are experiencing it for the very first time."

A Revitalized Copley Symphony Hall at Jacobs Music Center
In anticipation of the 2023-24 season, the San Diego Symphony is continuing to make rapid progress on the $125 million revitalization of its historic home at Jacobs Music Center, which began in early 2022. The project will greatly enhance the musical and performance experience for artists and audiences alike while honoring the legacy of the nearly 100-year-old Fox Theatre. Elements of the renovation designed to elevate the hall's acoustics include a custom-designed permanent orchestra enclosure, a tunable acoustic canopy, and the reconfiguration of both the stage and the audience seating, with the addition of a choral terrace behind the orchestra and a completely reshaped main seating level. The hall features new seating and finishes; restored architectural details; modernized lighting, sound, and video equipment; updated and expanded support spaces for musicians; and enhanced audience amenities. The project was designed by architectural firm HGA in collaboration with acoustician Paul Scarbrough of Akustiks and theater planner Schuler Shook. Major upgrades to the main mechanical systems of Jacobs Music Center have already been completed, which not only significantly enhance the comfort within the hall, but also contributes to the hall's acoustic quality, and allows valuable space to be reprioritized for Symphony program uses. The revitalized hall will be inaugurated just two years after the San Diego Symphony opened its new waterfront home, The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Highlights of the 2023-24 Jacobs Music Center Season
In addition to the opening night program, the inaugural season will feature 18 programs curated to showcase the orchestra and a variety of esteemed guest artists, musical perspectives, and experiences.

When the Orchestra opens the renovated Jacobs Music Center, the first two programs will be part of the new California Festival project, in which musical organizations throughout the state will perform the most innovative and compelling music composed around the world in the last five years. Music Directors Rafael Payare, Gustavo Dudamel, and Esa-Pekka Salonen along with the San Diego Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony as organizing partner orchestras will join efforts for this massive state-wide collaboration. The San Diego Symphony's California Festival concerts include a new work by the Ukrainian-Jewish composer Vladimir Tarnopolsky, performed alongside Stravinsky's iconic Rite of Spring, and the Jacobs Music Center premiere of Carlos Simon's new work.

Key elements of the revitalized Jacobs Music Center to be prominently showcased in the 2023-24 season include the Choral Terrace, to be used in the Orchestra's first performance in more than 10 years of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection." The Choral Terrace serves as one of the most visually striking additions to the new hall and will not only be used for musical purposes, but also as extra seating for audiences at select concerts. Additionally, the organ has been refurbished as a part of the renovation and will be the centerpiece of the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3.

Lorin Maazel's unique synthesis of orchestral music from Wagner's Ring cycle promises to be another highlight of the season. Beginning with the first note of Das Rheingold and finishing with the last chord of Götterdämmerung, Ring without Words is a thrilling symphonic journey conveying the breadth and scope of Wagner's monumental four-opera cycle. The piece resonates deeply with Music Director Rafael Payare, who said "Maestro Maazel was one of my greatest mentors and I'm thrilled to conduct his brilliant arrangement The Ring Without Words in the new Jacobs Music Center. This piece is a reinvention of a great work of art, just like what we are doing here at our new hall."

Throughout the season, San Diego Symphony will welcome an outstanding lineup of guest conductors, including the inimitable Michael Tilson Thomas, who will make his San Diego Symphony conducting debut, Principal Guest Conductor Edo de Waart, Paolo Bortolameolli, Tianyi Lu, Ludovic Morlot, Otto Tausk, and Joshua Weilerstein. Soloists appearing with the Orchestra include violinists Augustin Hadelich, Daniel Lozakovich, and Gil Shaham; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; pianists Jeremy Denk, Stephen Hough, Lang Lang, Jan Lisiecki, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet; vocalists Dashon Burton, Anna Larsson, Angela Meade, and Liv Redpath; and Steven Banks, Saxophone; and Pacho Flores, trumpet.

As part of its yearly programming the Symphony is also proud to showcase three of the orchestra's musicians in solo performances. Concertmaster Jeff Thayer and Principal Oboe Sarah Skuster will be featured on Bach's virtuosic Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin, and Andrea Overturf will perform Rorem's Concerto for English Horn.

Within this inaugural season, the Symphony will introduce a contemporary classical series called Currents. This new artistic addition underlines San Diego Symphony's commitment to innovative programming and will use the power of music to illuminate stories of our world, now. In this first year, each interdisciplinary concert is exploring identity - the search for it, the celebration of it, the ways we fight for it, and the courage sometimes needed to express it. Artists featured across this series include GRAMMY nominated cellist Seth Parker Woods, innovative dancer and choreographer Roderick George, Iranian-American composer Gity Razaz, rising star composer Nicolas Lell Benavides, librettist Marella Martin Koch, San Diego Symphony Orchestra musicians, and more.

Family Concerts, Broadway, Jazz, and more!
In its return to Jacobs Music Center, the Symphony is pleased to reintroduce its indoor Broadway @ the Jacobs, Jazz @ the Jacobs and Family Concert series. Jazz @ the Jacobs will include three thrilling concerts: A Tribute to Ella, Billie, and Sarah (Nov 25), Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (Feb 3), and Piano Paragons: The Music of Monk, Powell, Tatum and Corea (May 4). Broadway @ the Jacobs will return in a two-concert series on this season, with its first concert (Dec 3) featuring the incomparable Audra McDonald on the Jacobs Music Center stage for one night only and its second being a curated evening of Broadway favorites by director and pianist Rob Fisher (Feb 4.).

Concerts for families will also be featured at the renovated Jacobs Music Center as the organization reaffirms its commitment to the community through interactive and accessible programming for even the youngest classical music listeners. Family concerts will include Because: A Symphony of Serendipity (Nov 5) featuring a musical score by Jesse Montgomery inspired by Mo Williams' award-winning book Because, composer Caroline Shaw's musical adaptation of Alice McLerran's story The Mountain that Loved a Bird (Feb 3), and Mason Bates's exciting Philharmonia Fantastique (Apr 27). Each program will introduce audiences to the musical voices of today's most talented living composers and feature members of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, in its return to Jacobs Music Center the Symphony is excited to bring back the Linda and Shern Platt Open Rehearsals for Schools Program, pre-concerts talks for all Classical Masterworks concerts, and its partnerships with direct service nonprofit organizations across San Diego County to provide free tickets for most San Diego Symphony performances in the 2023-24 season.

For subscriptions, ticket prices and more information on the San Diego Symphony's 2023-24 Jacobs Music Center season, please visit

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