San Diego Symphony Announces 2024-25 Season In Transformed Jacobs Music Center

Opening weekend set for September 28-29 with gala concert and Day of Music, a free community celebration.

By: May. 08, 2024
San Diego Symphony Announces 2024-25 Season In Transformed Jacobs Music Center
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

The San Diego Symphony has announced the wide-ranging programs of its 2024-25 Jacobs Music Center season.

The milestone season will introduce audiences to the orchestra's revitalized indoor home, Jacobs Music Center, following a complete renovation which transforms the nearly-100-year-old-theater into an intimate concert hall designed to match the artistry of the San Diego Symphony. The inaugural season will feature 20 expansive and ambitious programs for its Jacobs Masterworks series, comprised of numerous new works, beloved masterpieces, rarely heard compositions, acclaimed and rising star soloists, and esteemed guest conductors.

In addition, its Jazz @ The Jacobs and Family Concert series will return and San Diego Symphony will expand its offerings in three new series, including a Friday Matinee Jacobs Masterworks series, Currents and Symphony Kids.

The celebratory season has been carefully curated to showcase the virtuosity of the world-class musicians of San Diego Symphony Orchestra and bring to life the enhanced acoustics, features, and capabilities of the newly transformed hall. The Masterworks series opens and closes with monumental works by Gustav Mahler, with the Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” opening the series and the Symphony No. 3 bringing the season to a dramatic close. Both works require massive orchestral resources, powerhouse singers, and full choruses, showcasing one of the hall's new features—its Choral Terrace. 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, giving audiences a unique point of view and acoustical experience. The refurbished pipe organ—another key feature of the new hall—will be the centerpiece of Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3.

“Every time I step into Jacobs Music Center, I am truly excited for what we are creating here, and I know the same is true for our musicians, who have been a central part of envisioning the hall we will open in the Fall of this year” said Martha Gilmer, CEO of the San Diego Symphony. “We are so proud to be a part of the vibrant community of San Diego. And that goes far beyond our two iconic venues in the heart of downtown. We cannot wait to welcome our audience home, and to welcome new friends who are experiencing it for the very first time.”

A Transformed Jacobs Music Center Opens a New Era

The San Diego Symphony's 2024-25 season ushers in an exciting new era for California's first orchestra as it welcomes audiences to a revitalized home.

The transformation of Jacobs Music Center began in early 2022 to 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, video and recording 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 were completed as well, 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 three years after the San Diego Symphony opened its new waterfront home, The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

With this new era comes a new name for the orchestra's indoor home, known as Copley Symphony Hall for more than 30 years. The David C. Copley Foundation has generously given the naming opportunity back to the symphony, so that a new donor can step forward at this momentous time.

“The Board of Directors of the David C. Copley Foundation is grateful that the San Diego Symphony has chosen to recognize the contributions of Helen Copley and the Copley family by calling its venue Copley Symphony Hall for more than 30 years. In recognition of the Symphony's entering into an exciting new era, with the reopening of its renovated venue that will provide new naming opportunities to other community-minded philanthropists like Helen Copley, we are pleased to gift this naming opportunity back to San Diego Symphony in order to inspire a new generation of philanthropic support,” said Dean P. Dwyer, President and CEO of the David C. Copley Foundation.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Copley Foundation and the Copley Family for their legacy of support to San Diego Symphony as well as institutions throughout San Diego,” said David R. Snyder, Chair of the symphony's Board of Directors. “We would not be where we are today, on the threshold of an exciting new chapter for our wonderful orchestra in a spectacular hall, without their generosity.”

Opening Weekend

The opening night concert and gala event on September 28 will feature Rafael Payare leading the Orchestra in the World Premiere of Welcome, Home!!, a fanfare for Jacobs Music Center commissioned by the San Diego Symphony from Korean-born American composer Texu Kim. Distinguished soloists Inon Barnatan (piano), Alisa Weilerstein (cello), Hera Hyesang-Park (soprano), and Jeff Thayer (violin) add extra luster to the historic night that features works by Paganini, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, and Ravel.

“We are so excited to welcome audiences to our new home and for people to experience this extraordinary orchestra in a hall that now matches its virtuosity,” said Music Director Rafael Payare, whose contract extends through the 2026-27 season. “We have assembled an array of exciting and different programs with special guest artists and opportunities for the orchestra to play in a wide range of configurations, demonstrating the sonic capabilities of our new home and the superb artistry of our musicians.”

Additionally, as part of its opening festivities the organization will offer a Day of Music on September 29, a free community day. Additional details will be announced at a later date.

New Music

Following last year's California Festival, San Diego Symphony continues to highlight the work of contemporary composers with more than 16 works, including 3 commissioned by San Diego Symphony. In addition to World Premieres from composers Billy Childs and San Diego based Texu Kim, commissioned by San Diego Symphony, the Symphony will present and perform works by John Adams, Thomas Adès, Mason Bates, Nicolás Lell Benavides, Unsuk Chin, Gareth Farr, Thomas Larcher, Arturo Márquez, Jessie Montgomery, Gity Razaz, Caroline Shaw, Gabriella Smith, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Anna Clyne.

Guest Conductors and Artists

Throughout the season, San Diego Symphony will welcome an outstanding lineup of guest conductors, including the inimitable Michael Tilson Thomas, who served as Music Director at the San Francisco Symphony for 25 years, and will make his San Diego Symphony conducting debut, as will Bernard Labadie, Ludovic Morlot, Daniele Rustioni, Osmo Vanska, and Tianyi Lu. Among those returning the San Diego Podium are, Matthias Pintscher, Ruth Reinhardt, Antonio Mendez, and Elena Schwarz.

The season features an array of acclaimed and rising guest artists who will join the stellar musicians of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Artists making their debuts this season include soprano Angela Meade and mezzo-soprano Anna Larsson for Mahler's Symphony No. 2; pianists Paavali Jumppanen in Beethoven's “Emperor” Concerto, Alexander Malofeev on Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3, Paul Lewis on the Grieg Piano Concerto, Javier Perianes on the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21, and Parker van Ostrand on Rachmoninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; and violinists Francesca Dego on the Busoni Violin Concerto and Alexi Kenney on the Bartok Violin Concerto No. 2. Returning artists include pianists Emanuel Ax on Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25, Inon Barnatan on Shostakovich's Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, Jonathan Biss in Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 5; violinists Paul Huang in Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor, Leila Josefowicz in Thomas Adès' concerto for violin, “Concentric Paths”, and Sergey Khachatryan in Brahms' Violin concerto; cellist Alisa Weilerstein in Unsuk Chin's Cello Concerto; and saxophonist Steven Banks in Yoshimatsu's Soprano Saxophone Concerto.

Highlights of the 2024-25 Jacobs Music Center Season

In addition to the opening night program, the inaugural season will feature 20 classical Masterworks programs curated to showcase the orchestra and a variety of esteemed guest artists, musical perspectives, and experiences.

Rafael Payare leads the debuts of renowned soprano Angela Meade and mezzo-soprano Anna Larsson in Mahler's Symphony No. 2, featuring the San Diego Symphony Festival Chorus and Advisor and Chorus Master Andrew Megill, also making their debuts. Award-winning Austrian composer Thomas Larcher's work, co-commissioned by the San Diego Symphony, Time opens the program (October 4-6).

Two of literature's greatest love stories are brought to life in truly special programs. Rafael Payare conducts Arnold Schoenberg's symphonic poem Pelleas und Melisande as part of international celebrations marking the 150th birthday of the composer (October 12-13). Completing the concert is Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan, First Prize recipient at the International Jean Sibelius Competition in 2000, performing Brahms' Violin Concerto. Prokofiev's score for the ballet Romeo and Juliet is offered in a unique concert experience complete with projections and other theatrical elements from director Gerard McBurney, coupled with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 played by acclaimed pianist Emanuel Ax (October 18-20).

Spanish conductor Antonio Mendez and violinist Paul Huang, recipient of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the 2017 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists, perform Bruch's Violin Concerto in G minor, bookended by Mendelssohn's Ruy Blas Overture and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 (October 25-26).

Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie makes his San Diego Symphony debut conducting Mozart Overtures to Die Zauberflöte and La Clemenza di Tito, and Haydn's Symphony No. 103 “Drumroll”, and leads praised pianist Jonathan Biss in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 (November 9-10). On November 16 & 17, Elena Schwarz conducts violinist and contemporary music advocate Leila Josefowicz in Thomas Adès' Violin Concerto “Concentric Paths”, along with John Adams' The Chairman Dances and Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”. Rafael Payare returns to perform an impressive program featuring Strauss' Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streich, and leads Inon Barnatan in Shostakovich's Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (December 6-8).

2024 starts with the debut of French conductor and Music Director of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Ludovic Morlot, in a program including Californian composer Gabriella Smith's Bioluminescence Chaconne and Augusta Holmès La Nuit et l'amour; and two works by Saint-Saëns, the Symphony No. 3 “Organ” and Violin Concerto No. 3 performed by Jeff Thayer, who holds the Deborah Pate and John Forrest Concertmaster Chair of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra (January 10-11). Brazilian conductor Eduardo Strausser leads Beethoven Symphony No. 2, Anna Clyne's Kaleidoscopic Color Field, and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 with renowned Spanish pianist Javier Perianes in both of their San Diego Symphony debuts (January 17-18). Italian conductor Daniele Rustioni makes his debut in an Italian-themed program with Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture, Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini, Respighi's Roman Festivals, and Busoni's Violin Concerto featuring celebrated violinist Francesca Dego, also making her debut (January 24 & 26). The last concert in January offers Rafael Payare leading the World Premiere of Los Angeles composer Billy Childs' Concerto for Orchestra commissioned by San Diego Symphony, along with Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 performed by the young Russian rising star Alexander Malofeev in his San Diego Symphony debut, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 (January 31 – February 1).

In February, Taiwanese violist and the Karen and Warren Kessler Chair and Principal Viola of San Diego Symphony, Chi-Yuan Chen, tackles Walton's Viola Concerto in a program including Strauss' Death and Transfiguration and Brahms' Symphony No. 2, led by Rafael Payare (February 8-9). Michael Tilson Thomas make his highly anticipated debut and conducts his work Street Song for Symphonic Brass, Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Parker van Ostrand in his debut, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 1 “Winter Daydreams” (February 15-16). Finnish conductor Osmo Vanska and acclaimed Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen make their debuts in Sibelius' Tapiola, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”, and Sibelius' Symphony No. 5 (February 28 – March 1).

Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient violinist Alexi Kenney makes his debut and plays Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2 in a performance led by renowned German conductor Matthias Pintscher, which also includes Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances (March 7 & 9). Rising star Tianyi Lu makes her first appearance and conducts Gareth Farr's From the Depths Sound the Great Sea Gongs: The Invocation of the Sea, Grieg's Piano Concerto with Paul Lewis also making his debut, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 (March 29-30). German conductor Ruth Reinhardt, who made numerous North American debuts in the 2023-24 season, returns to San Diego to lead Smetana's Overture and Three Dances from The Bartered Bride, Yoshimatsu's Soprano Saxophone Concerto with Steven Banks as soloist, and Dvořák's Symphony No. 8 (May 3-4).

Rafael Payare returns to lead the season's three final programs: Unsuk Chin's Cello Concerto with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and Bruckner Symphony No. 7 (May 10-11); followed by celebrated pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet playing Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 5, coupled with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7; “Leningrad” (May 16-17); and Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill making her debut in Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with chorus (May 23-25).

Jazz @ The Jacobs

In its return to Jacobs Music Center, the Symphony is pleased to reintroduce its Jazz @ The Jacobs series. Jazz @ The Jacobs will include three thrilling concerts: A Tribute to Ella, Billie, and Sarah (Nov 23), Piano Paragons: The Music of Monk, Powell, Tatum and Corea (March 22), and Jazz @ The Jacobs: Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn (April 26.) The series - curated by musician, composer, arranger, educator and trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos - features three evenings in the intimate, newly reconfigured concert hall.

New for the 2024-2025 season

A groundbreaking, interdisciplinary contemporary classical series called Currents showcases San Diego Symphony's commitment to innovative programming, using the power of music to illuminate stories of our world, taking audiences on a multimedia journey to explore modern stories through music, visual art, dance, electronics, and spoken word. In this year, the concerts explore 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 Concert and Symphony Kids series

Concerts for families with children of all ages reaffirm the Symphony's commitment to the community through interactive and accessible programming. Family Concerts for children 6-12 will take place Saturdays at 11am and include Because: A Symphony of Serendipity (Nov 2) featuring a musical score Jesse Montgomery inspired by Mo Williams' award-winning book Because, Mason Bates's exciting Philharmonia Fantastique (Mar 15), and composer Caroline Shaw's musical adaptation of Alice McLerran's story The Mountain that Loved a Bird (Apr 26). Additionally, Symphony Kids, a new concert series for families with children 0-5, will feature San Diego Symphony musicians sharing their favorite sing-a-longs, rhymes, dances, and musical games in a series that introduces young listeners to the instruments of the orchestra. This series will also feature pre-concert activities in the lobby.

For subscriptions, ticket prices and more information on the San Diego Symphony's 2024-25 Jacobs Music Center season, please visit


To post a comment, you must register and login.