Season Calendar

750 B Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619.235.0804
Fax: 619.231.3848
Urgent ticketing issues? Contact us at:

Normal business hours:
Monday – Friday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 12noon - 5pm
Sunday: 12noon - 4pm (sometimes closed)
On performance evenings, the Ticket Office
is always open through intermission.

Seniors, Military (with ID) and Student (with ID) $3 off discounts are available via phone and window sales only (no web), and can be applied to most seats. These discounts are not valid in the Grand Tier, Mezzanine I, AA and A-1 Main sections at Symphony Hall. Family Packs and ongoing Corporate discounting offers must also be processed directly though the Ticket Office window and phones. 


  • Photography and audio/video recording of any kind are not permitted in Symphony Hall's performance chamber.
  • Food and drink (plastic bottled water excepted) are not allowed inside the Symphony Hall performance chamber.
  • Absolute quiet during performance is the audience's critical role in a successful music concert. To maintain the greatest courtesy to your fellow concertgoers, please use maximum care in disabling all noisemaking devices in the performance chamber, including cell phones, pagers and malfunctioning hearing assistance devices. (Audiences of Family Festival concerts should be understanding of the natural restlessness of small children. Parents should welcome an opportunity to teach concert etiquette.)
  • Cell phone photography is strictly prohibited in the performance chamber and may result in temporary confiscation.
  • Please apply perfumes and colognes lightly in respect of others' possible allergies. 
  • All dates, programs, artists and pricing are subject to change.
  • All sales are final.
  • There are no refunds.



A Symphony Exposé Concert
Thursday, January 31, 7:30pm

Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Nuvi Mehta as Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Paul Maley as Miley Balakirev


How in the world did a 19th century Russian Nationalist composer create Scheherazade, one of the most beloved musical evocations of the legendary Arabian Nights? Nuvi Mehta explains all as he portrays Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (with Paul Maley as R-K's composing mentor, Miley Balakirev) in the first Symphony Exposé concert of the new year!


- Free with your ticket
- One complimentary glass of wine or cocktail and limited appetizers
- Must be 21+


Scheherazade, Op. 35


Born March 18, 1844, Tikhvin

Died June 21, 1908, Lyubensk


            In the summer of 1888, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, then 44 years old, went to his summer estate on the shores of Lake Cheryemenyetskoye and set to work on a new orchestral composition. He called it Scheherazade and added a subtitle – “Symphonic Suite on 1001 Nights” – that made clear its inspiration. Each movement had a title that suggested a definite program: The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship, The Tale of Prince Kalander, The Young Prince and the Princess, and the concluding The Festival in Baghdad, which ends dramatically as The Ship Goes to Pieces on a Rock. And the composer included an introductory note in the score: “The Sultan Schahriar, persuaded of the falseness and faithfulness of all women, had sworn to put to death each of his wives after the first night. But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her life by arousing his interest in tales which she told him during a thousand and one nights. Driven by curiosity, the Sultan put off his wife’s execution from day to day and at last gave up his bloody plan altogether.” Scheherazade, composed within the month of July 1888, quickly became one of the most popular works in symphonic literature, played (and over-played) around the world, where audiences could revel in the stories with which the wily Scheherazade entranced her dangerous husband.

            But does this music tell a story? Each of the movements has a descriptive title, and certain themes are obviously musical portraits: the menacing opening is clearly the ferocious Sultan, while the solo violin is just as clearly the sly and sensual Sultana, spinning her tales. And along the way we hear the swaying sea, the sighs of the young lovers, the festival in Baghdad and the crash of the ship against the rock.

            Or do we? Despite what seems obvious musical portraiture, Rimsky-Korsakov discouraged any talk of this music’s telling a specific story and suggested that his intentions were much more general: “In composing Scheherazade, I meant these hints to direct but slightly the hearer’s fancy on the path which my own fancy had traveled, and to leave more minute and particular conceptions to the will and mood of each listener. All I had desired was that the hearer, if he liked my piece as symphonic music, should carry away the impression that it is beyond doubt an Oriental narrative of some numerous and varied fairy-tale wonders . . .” The composer even went so far as to temporarily withdraw the descriptive titles of the four movements.

            And so listeners are free to approach this music in any way they wish. They can experience it as the Sultana’s depiction of a thousand exotic tales and even imagine the specific events the music and movement titles seem to evoke. Or they can listen for Rimsky-Korsakov’s endless transformation of just a few themes, which return in an exotic array of new shapes and colors. Or they can listen for the opulence of the sound he is able to draw from the orchestra, for Scheherazade remains – more than a century after its creation – one of the most sumptuous scores ever composed. Perhaps some of the charm of this music is that it simply cannot be pinned down but remains as elusive, evocative and mysterious as the Sultana’s tales.

            There was a time, a generation or two ago, when Scheherazade was considered the stereotype of the warhorse, music so overplayed and so overfamiliar that the mere mention of its name produced smiles and a certain condescension. But this music appears much less often in concert halls today, and one of the particular charms of a concert like this is the pleasure of hearing this distantly-remembered music burst to vibrant life in front of us one more time.

-Program notes by Eric Bromberger


One of the most dynamic young conductors in America, Mei-Ann Chen is currently in her third year as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. She is also beginning her second season as Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta.  During this time, the impact of her energy, enthusiasm and high level of music-making has been felt by both of these orchestras, their audiences and entire communities as well.   The League of American Orchestras recognized this fact by choosing her for the prestigious Helen M. Thompson Award at their 2012 national conference in Dallas. 

Among Ms. Chen’s 2012-13 season highlights are debuts on the Chicago Symphony subscription series, the San Francisco Symphony’s Chinese New Year Celebration, North Carolina Symphony, São Paulo Symphony in Brazil and the Tampere Philharmonic in Finland.  Among last season’s debuts were the Netherlands Philharmonic at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Aspen Music Festival, the symphonies of Jacksonville, Naples and Sarasota, as well as the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra.

In great demand as a guest conductor, Ms. Chen recently stepped in on short notice for her very well-received subscription concert debut with the Cincinnati Symphony.  She has been engaged by the Cincinnati Symphony for this season as well.  Ms. Chen has also appeared with the Rochester Philharmonic and the symphonies of Alabama, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Edmonton (Canada), Florida, Fort Worth, Nashville, National (Washington, D.C.), Oregon, Pacific, Pasadena, Phoenix, Seattle and Toronto.  Worldwide engagements include all of the principal Danish orchestras, BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Graz Symphony, National Symphony of Mexico, Norrlands Opera Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Trondheim Symphony.  Festival appearances include Grand Teton, Wintergreen, Chautauqua Institute and the Texas Music Festival in Houston.  

The first woman to win the Malko Competition (2005), Ms. Chen has served as Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta, Baltimore and Oregon symphonies.  The positions in Atlanta and Baltimore were sponsored by the League of American Orchestras.  Recipient of the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship, she has appeared jointly with Marin Alsop and Stefan Sanderling in highly acclaimed subscription concerts with the Baltimore Symphony, Colorado Symphony and Florida Orchestra.

In 2002 Ms. Chen was unanimously selected as Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon, the oldest of its kind and the model for many of the youth orchestras in the United States. During her five-year tenure with the orchestra, she led its sold-out debut in Carnegie Hall, received an ASCAP award for innovative programming and developed new and unique musicianship programs for the orchestra’s members. She was honored with a Sunburst Award from Young Audiences for her contribution to music education.

Born in Taiwan, Ms. Chen has lived in the United States since 1989. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Michigan, where she was a student of Kenneth Kiesler. Prior to that, she was the first student in New England Conservatory’s history to receive simultaneous master’s degrees, in both violin and conducting.  Ms. Chen also participated in the National Conducting Institute in Washington, D.C. and the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen.

For more information, visit

Actor Paul Maley graduated from UCLA’s Theatre program in 1984 where he concentrated on acting, playwriting, and a girl named Sharon! After their marriage in 1987, they spent two years creating weekly drama sketches for a Northern California church before moving to San Diego in 1990 to work with Lamb’s Players Theatre’s Educational Touring Company.  Paul served at LPT for 20 years as performer, writer, designer, administrator and grantwriter.   LPT acting credits include educational productions of The Glass Menagerie, Measure for Measure, and over 2,000 performances in 30 touring plays.  His favorite LPT roles include Arnold in The Boys Next Door, Rockfist Slim in The Boy Who Fell Into a Book, Humphrey in See How They Run and multiple roles in The Hit and Leaving Iowa.   He counts it a privilege and a joy to have worked with the San Diego Symphony in several Family Festivals, Young People's Concerts and Symphony Expose programs.   He currently works as an administrative assistant at Point Loma Nazarene University, and frequently performs in outreach programs with his family’s own theatre and education company StageWorks!

January 31, 2013

Online sales for this performance have now been discontinued. Please call the Ticket Office at 619.235.0804.

  • Overview
  • Notes
  • Artists