Esa-Pekka Salonen
In an unusual move — in an unusual year — SF Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen is leading some of the summer concerts   

Other organizations may ponder post-pandemic plans for the fall or even next year, but San Francisco Symphony acts on continuing its return to live concerts with a summer plan — meaning just a month ahead.

Plans call for a free Fourth of July concert in Stern Grove, conducted by Edwin Outwater, and live concerts for audiences through Aug. 13 in two venues: Davies Symphony Hall and Stanford’s Frost Amphitheater.

Michael Morgan
Michael Morgan conducts some of the summer concerts | Credit: Oakland Symphony

Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the orchestra in concerts in Davies Hall on July 9 and 16, and in Frost Amphitheater on July 10 and 17. Guest conductors include Outwater, Michael Morgan, Lina González-Granados, and Xian Zhang. Among the soloists: pianists Aaron Diehl and George Li, cellist Pablo Ferrández, SF Symphony Principal Trumpet Mark Inouye and Principal Clarinet Carey Bell.

Each week’s program is presented twice — first in Davies Hall and the following evening in Frost Amphitheater. Tickets for concerts in Davies Hall can be purchased starting June 11 online at or by calling (415) 864-6000; tickets for concerts in Frost Amphitheater can be purchased at Stanford Live. Ticket prices range from $25 to $95. Attendance at the free performance at Sigmund Stern Grove requires reservations for the first time because of pandemic regulations.

Mark Hanson
SF Symphony CEO Mark C. Hanson | Credit: Brandon Patoc

SF Symphony CEO Mark C. Hanson said of the summer season: “The San Francisco Symphony is overjoyed to present a summer full of live performances at Davies Symphony Hall and two of the Bay Area’s most beloved and iconic outdoor music venues — Stanford University’s Frost Amphitheater and Sigmund Stern Grove — both of which have longstanding relationships with the Symphony. Experiencing live concerts together connects and inspires us and, after such a challenging year, we are delighted to share the joy of symphonic music with Bay Area audiences this summer.”

Carey Bell
SF Symphony clarinetist Carey Bell | Credit: Jeanette Yu

The program for the July 2 (Davies Hall) and 4 (Stern Grove) concerts includes John Williams’s Olympic Fanfare and Theme; Morton Gould’s “Pavane” from American Symphonette No. 2; Jennifer Higdon’s “Cathedrals,” from All Things Majestic; Aaron Copland’s “Saturday Night Waltz and Hoedown,” from Rodeo; Quinn Mason’s Reflections on a Memorial; Carlos Simon’s The Block; the jazz-orchestra version George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue; and John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever.

Salonen will conduct on July 9 (Davies Hall) and 10 (Frost Amphitheater), performing Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with Carey Bell as soloist. On July 16 (Davies Hall) and 17 (Frost Amphitheater), Salonen’s program is Anna Clyne’s Within Her Arms, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 (“The Italian”), and Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, with Mark Inouye as soloist.

On July 23 (Davies Hall) and 24 (Frost Amphitheater), Michael Morgan leads the orchestra in Rossini’s La gazza ladra Overture and the Pas de Six from William Tell, Louise Farrenc’s Symphony No. 3, and James P. Johnson’s Charleston.

Concerts on July 30 (Davies Hall) & 31 (Frost Amphitheater) feature two SFS debuts: Lina González-Granados, conductor, and cellist Pablo Ferrández. The program includes excerpts from de Falla’s ballet The Three-Cornered Hat, Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, and Schumann’s Cello Concerto.

Xian Zhang
Xian Zhang conducts SF Symphony debut summer | Credit: University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts

On Aug. 6 (Davies Hall) and 7 (Frost Amphitheater), Xian Zhang leads the orchestra in William Grant Still’s Mother and Child and two works by Mozart — his Piano Concerto No. 24, with George Li as soloist, and Symphony No. 39.

The SF Symphony closes out its summer season with a pair of concerts at Davies Symphony Hall on August 12 and 13, Outwater conducting the orchestra in selections from John Williams’s film scores, including the Star Wars Trilogy, Jurassic Park, E.T the Extra-Terrestrial, and more.