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 Gala and Classical Special Concert
Saturday, October 12
(Gala @ 6pm, Concert @ 8pm)

Jahja Ling, conductor; Kevin Cole, piano

HARBISON: Remembering Gatsby: Foxtrot for Orchestra
GERSHWIN: An American in Paris
GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue
RAVEL: Boléro

Prefer to experience the entire Saturday night OPUS 2013 Gala Evening
or attend the exciting OPUS Afterparty with dancing and desserts?



A Jacobs Masterworks Concert  
Friday, October 11, 8pm
Sunday, October 13, 2pm

Jahja Ling, conductor

HARBISON: Remembering Gatsby: Foxtrot for Orchestra
BERNSTEIN: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
BERNSTEIN: Overture to Candide
GERSHWIN: An American in Paris

(For more interesting and valuable insight into this Masterworks program, come to the performance chamber 45 minutes before downbeat for Nuvi Mehta's "What's The Score?" pre-concert talk.)

It is a brilliant weekend of American music as music director Jahja Ling and the San Diego Symphony perform music of Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. And on Saturday night, Glitz, Glamour and Gershwin take center stage with a Gala performance of Gershwin's immortal Rhapsody in Blue by acclaimed Gershwin specialist, pianist Kevin Cole. The Saturday Gala concert concludes with Maurice Ravel's pulse-quickening Boléro. (Please note: the Saturday night concert will run without intermission.)

"Friday night it felt like everything is coming together for the 103-year-old orchestra..." CLICK HERE to read U-T San Diego's review!

From 2008, a few minutes of pianist Kevin Cole performing George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Nashville Symphony:

See Kevin Cole perform Rhapsody in Blue with the San Diego Symphony one night only:
Saturday, October 12!


Remembering Gatsby: Foxtrot for Orchestra


Born December 20, 1938, Orange, NJ

            F. Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby in 1925 with the highest hopes, but he was quickly disappointed – the novel sold poorly and was soon out of print. When Fitzgerald died in 1940, at the age of only 44, he believed that The Great Gatsby had been a failure, but over the last 70 years it has been recognized as one of the classics of American literature. It tells of the collision between the mysterious Jay Gatsby (“an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again”) and the forces of a brutal reality (“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made”).

            Such a tale has attracted many other artists, and The Great Gatsby has now been made into four movies. With its Jazz Age setting and quotations from song-texts, the novel has seemed an ideal candidate to be turned into an opera. American composer John Harbison wrote his own libretto from the novel and then composed an opera on this novel, and it was first presented at The Met on December 20, 1999. Harbison, however, had struggled for years to get the rights to the opera, and in 1985, long before he wrote the opera, he gathered some of his preliminary sketches and – in response to a commission from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra – fashioned them into an orchestral work he called Remembering Gatsby. The composer has written a program note, which is reprinted here with the permission of Schirmer:

            Remembering Gatsby was composed for the Atlanta Symphony and is dedicated to the orchestra and its Music Director, Robert Shaw. It was completed during the summer of 1985 at Token Creek, Wisconsin.

            For some years I made sketches for an opera based on Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby; after I abandoned the project I sometimes ran across musical images (in my sketchbooks) and fragrances from the novel (in my senses). A few of these were brought together in this orchestral foxtrot.

            The piece, which runs about eight minutes, begins with a cantabile passage for full of orchestra, a representation of Gatsby’s vision of the green light on Daisy’s dock. Then the foxtrot begins, first with a kind of call to order, then a twenties tune I had written for one of the party scenes, played by a concertino led by a soprano saxophone. The tune is then varied and broken into its components, leading to an altered reprise of the call to order, and an intensification of the original cantabile.

            A brief coda combines some of the motives and refers fleetingly to the telephone bell and the automobile horns, instruments of Gatsby’s fate.

            My father, eventually a Reformation historian, was a young show-tune composer in the twenties, and this piece may also have been a chance to see him in his tuxedo again.

                                                                                                - John Harbison


Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (October 11 & 13 only)


Born August 25, 1918, Lawrence, MA

Died October 14, 1990, New York City


            Though West Side Story has become one of the most popular musicals ever, its creation involved a number of risks. Central among these was the decision to adapt Romeo and Juliet to a contemporary New York setting: the warring Montague and Capulet families are transformed into rival street-gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, while Romeo and Juliet become Tony and Maria. And the grim ending of Shakespeare’s play made for a conclusion seldom experienced in a Broadway musical.

            Yet West Side Story – first produced in Washington, D.C. on August 19, 1957 – turned out to be a huge success. It ran on Broadway for over a thousand performances, and West Side Story’s music is probably Leonard Bernstein’s most memorable score. Central to the original conception of West Side Story was the importance of dance. Jerome Robbins was both choreographer and director of the original production, and some members of the cast were chosen for their abilities as dancers – their singing ability was considered of secondary importance. The dance sequences remain some of the most impressive parts of the musical.

            Several years after the premiere, Bernstein – with the assistance of Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal – made an orchestral suite of the dances from the musical, and the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story were first performed by Lukas Foss and the New York Philharmonic on February 13, 1961. The dances follow the action of West Side Story and in some movements incorporate bits of the songs. A brashly energetic Prologue (which requires fingersnapping from the orchestra) leads to a section based on the song “Somewhere,” which envisions a more peaceful world. A Scherzo leads to Mambo, set at the high school dance which both the Sharks and Jets attend. Tony and Maria dance together in the Cha Cha (which quotes the song “Maria”), and their Meeting Scene is depicted by a quartet of muted violins. Tensions rise in the eerie, twisting “Cool” Fugue, and Rumble accompanies the fight in which the rival gang-leaders Bernardo and Riff are killed. A flute cadenza prefaces the Finale, which incorporates Maria’s “I Have a Love,” and – after so much vitality and violence – the Symphonic Dances come to a subdued close.


Overture to Candide (October 11 & 13 only)



            Voltaire’s novel Candide, a savage attack on the statement by Leibniz that “All is for the best in this best possible of all worlds,” was published in 1759. Two centuries later, this tale of the catastrophic adventures of Candide, his tutor Pangloss and his lover Cunegonde (in a world that is emphatically not the best possible) was transformed into an operetta by Leonard Bernstein and a team of distinguished collaborators, including Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, Richard Wilbur and Bernstein himself. The initial run in 1956 was not a complete success, and Candide went through numerous revisions in the three decades after the first production.

            One part of Candide that has enjoyed complete success is its overture. Bernstein’s four-minute curtain-raiser has become one of the most widely-played overtures of the 20th century, and from the brassy fanfare that opens it to the swirl of energy that ends it, this music is full of the bright spirits and memorable tunes that mark Bernstein’s best music. Bernstein draws several of its themes from songs in Candide itself, including “Oh Happy We” and “Glitter and Be Gay,” and the overture is full of wry humor, featuring excursions into wrong keys and the surprise ending, still one of the best jokes in all music.


An American in Paris


Born September 28, 1898, Brooklyn

Died July 11, 1937, Beverly Hills


            The acclaim that greeted Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and the Concerto in F (1925) made Gershwin more anxious to be taken seriously as the composer of “concert” music, and he resolved to write a work for orchestra alone, without the starring role for piano that had helped make the earlier two works so popular. The composition of this music took place in the spring of 1928, when Gershwin, his sister Frances, his brother Ira and Ira’s wife Leonore took an extended family vacation to Paris. Happily ensconced in the Hotel Majestic, Gershwin composed what he called a “Tone Poem for Orchestra” – a musical portrait of an American visitor to the City of Light – between March and June 1928. It was first performed by Walter Damrosch and the New York Philharmonic on December 13 of that year.

            This is fun music, and from the moment of that premiere it has always been one of Gershwin’s most popular scores, winning audiences over with its great tunes, breezy charm and Gershwin’s obvious affection for Paris. Musically, An American in Paris is a series of impressions strung together with great skill. Gershwin – anxious to insist on his abilities as a classical composer – tried to argue that the piece was in sonata-form, and he pointed to such general areas as exposition, development and recapitulation. But such arguments protest too much. It is far better to take An American in Paris as a set of polished episodes – a collection of sunny postcards from Paris – than to search too rigorously for resemblances to classical forms.

            For the New York premiere, Gershwin and Deems Taylor prepared elaborate program notes, explaining what was “happening” at each moment in the music. These were probably written with tongue slightly in cheek (in fact, Gershwin had made sketches for this piece several years before going to Paris), and they should not be taken too seriously. But it is worth noting that Gershwin structured the music around the idea of an American walking through the streets of Paris, and he included three of what he called “walking themes.” That program note describes the very beginning: “You are to imagine, then, an American visiting Paris, swinging down the Champs-Elysées on a mild, sunny morning in May or June. Being what he is, he starts without preliminaries and is off at full speed at once to the tune of The First Walking Theme, a straightforward diatonic air designed to convey an impression of Gallic freedom and gaiety.”

            Along his way come piquant moments: a snatch of a Parisian popular song in the trombones and the strident squawk of Paris taxi horns – Gershwin had four of these imported for the premiere in New York. One moment – Gershwin called it “an unhallowed episode” – is rarely mentioned: the American is approached by a streetwalker, who bats her eyes at him seductively in a violin solo marked espressivo. Our hero wavers briefly, then makes his escape on one of the walking tunes. At about the midpoint comes the famous “blues” section, introduced by solo trumpet: the American is feeling homesick, and his nostalgia takes the form of this distinctively American music. Matters are rescued by the sudden intrusion of a pair of trumpets that come sailing in with a snappy Charleston tune. The cheerful final section reprises the various “walking” themes, and An American in Paris dances to its close on a great rush of happy energy.


Rhapsody in Blue (October 12 only)


            If – as Dvořák suggested – American classical music would have to come from uniquely American roots, then Rhapsody in Blue is probably the piece of American classical music. In it, Gershwin combined the European idea of the piano concerto with American jazz and in the process created a piece of music that has become famous throughout the world. In addition to its many recordings by American orchestras, Rhapsody in Blue has been recorded by orchestras in England, Germany, Australia and Russia. Gershwin was in fact aware that Rhapsody in Blue might become a kind of national piece; he said that during its composition he “heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America – of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness.”

            Classical purists argue that this is not a true piano concerto, and jazz purists argue that it is not true jazz. Of course both are right, but none of that matters – Rhapsody in Blue is a smashing success on its own terms. Gershwin was right to call this one-movement work a rhapsody, with that term’s suggestion of a form freer than the concerto. Soloist and orchestra are not so tightly integrated as in a concerto, and the Rhapsody tends to be episodic: the piano plays alone much of the time and then gives way to orchestral interludes; only rarely does Gershwin combine all his forces.

            Gershwin wrote the Rhapsody in the space of less than a month early in 1924, when he was only 25. Because he was uncertain about his ability to orchestrate, that job was given to Ferde Grofé, who would later compose the Grand Canyon Suite. At the premiere on February 12, 1924, Gershwin was soloist with a small jazz ensemble, but performances today almost always use Grofé’s version for full orchestra.

            The Rhapsody has one of the most famous beginnings in all of music: the clarinet trill that suddenly spirals upward in a seductive, sleazy glissando leads directly into the main theme, which will recur throughout. The various episodes are easy to follow, though one should note Gershwin’s ability to move so smoothly from episode to episode – these changes in tempo and mood seem almost effortless. Also noteworthy is the big E Major string tune marked Andantino moderato con espressione; near the end Gershwin gives this to the brass and transforms its easy flow into a jazzy romp that ends in one of the most ear-splitting chords ever written. 


Bolero (October 12 only)


Born March 7, 1875, Ciboure, Basse-Pyrennes

Died December 28, 1937, Paris


            Even before its use in the 1980 movie 10, Ravel’s Bolero was one of the most famous works ever written for orchestra, familiar to millions around the world and a favorite even with those who claim to hate classical music. Yet this dazzling piece is remarkable for the utter simplicity of its material. Ravel himself described it as “seventeen minutes of orchestra without any music” and said that it was simply “one very long, gradual crescendo.” But it is just these “non-musical” materials – the hypnotic rhythms, subtle shifts of instrumental color, avoidance of any kind of development, and cumulative expressive power – that make Bolero such a stunning experience in the concert hall (and that have had such a strong influence on today’s minimalist composers).

            Originally, a bolero was a moderately-paced Spanish dance in triple-time in which the dancers sang and accompanied themselves with castanets. Ravel excludes the sound of voices and begins with the simplest of openings: a snare-drum lays out the two-measure rhythmic pattern that will repeat throughout Bolero. Solo flute plays the languorous main idea, a lilting, winding melody that is repeated and extended by other wind instruments. And then Ravel simply repeats this material, subtly varying its orchestration as it gradually grows louder. The music is full of striking effects that make use of uncommon instruments (three kinds of saxophone, E-flat clarinet, and oboe d’amore) or more traditional instruments set in unusual registers. Ravel may have been quite right to call Bolero “orchestral tissue without music,” but he can play this tissue for all it’s worth: at the close, he makes one harmonic adjustment, shifting from C Major to E-flat Major, and in this context even so simple a modulation seems a cataclysmic event. Grinding dissonances drive Bolero to a thunderous close on a great rush of sound.

            Though it is most often heard today in the concert hall, Bolero began life as a ballet – the dancer Ida Rubinstein asked Ravel for a ballet with a Spanish atmosphere, and he wrote this score for her in 1928. In Rubinstein’s choreography, a young woman in gypsy dress mounts a table in a smoky tavern and begins to dance. Men surround the table and begin to pound out the bolero rhythm as her dance grows in excitement. The climax brings an explosion – knives are drawn, but trouble is avoided and everyone vanishes with the last chord. So exciting was the premiere in Paris on November 22, 1928, that the audience rushed the stage, and Rubinstein herself barely escaped injury in the resulting tumult.

-          Program notes by Eric Bromberger



Guest Columnist: Jahja Ling


            Everything is special this October – the programs, the pieces, even the orchestra and the places where it will be playing them. Because creating programs for a tour is a different project than setting up a seven-month series of home-based Masterworks programs, Dr. Mel Goldzband, our archivist, who usually writes these columns, has asked me to take over this month. He hoped that I might provide some insights into WHY tour pieces and programs are so special, and WHY they might be selected for different reasons and different ends than our local concert fare.

It is probably best to begin by discussing the many reasons WHY we are going on a tour at all. We are happy here in beautiful San Diego, with a great hall, a wonderful, responsive audience and increasing pride in our ability to provide fine performances of superb music. That pride is important. I take enormous pride in our orchestra. It has developed incredibly over the last years, an opinion shared by our increasing and increasingly knowledgeable audience, by the critics and by the word that has been spreading throughout musical circles about the San Diego Symphony. Our soloists and guest conductors have shared the news of this wonderfully developing orchestra throughout the world. When I guest-conduct elsewhere, I frequently hear from musicians the good things they have heard about our orchestra. Certainly a terrific barometer is the enormous number of musicians who apply to audition for the SDSO, even knowing that our pay scale cannot compete with the scales of the oldest, legendary orchestras in huge population and industrial centers. I like to describe the SDSO as a twenty million dollar orchestra that sounds and plays like a sixty five million dollar orchestra. Our principal players are well-known elsewhere as superb performers. All of this makes for increasing pride on the part of our musicians, but they need to know even more how the world will see and applaud them for their brilliant music-making, just as we do here. Dr. Goldzband likes to tell the story of the great Fritz Reiner, who built the wonderful Chicago Symphony into an even greater group in the 1950s, and who said, when he took them on a tour to the east coast, “I want them, the players, to recognize how good they really are, and then they will always play up to that standard!”

The image of San Diego will also benefit from our tour. Beautiful, sunny San Diego is becoming a remarkable cultural center. Music is everywhere, in Copley Symphony Hall, on the opera stage and in chamber music venues all over town. Our museums present incredible exhibitions, and our universities demonstrate their capacities to raise our sights. When our orchestra plays wonderfully in a big media center – and New York City is the biggest – our city’s reputation will benefit exponentially. And the kind of benefit that all of us in town will get from our Pacific Rim orchestra playing in large cities in China, our most influential, populous and wealthiest Pacific Rim neighbor, is incalculable.

So, you will see that programs for a series of concerts away from home, to different audiences and to different critical media, must be selected very carefully. In our regular Jacobs Masterworks programs, I always want to show our orchestra off, but on tour the need for that is even greater. In discussing the program and the pieces themselves, we should start by noting our soloists who are at the very top of the musical and personality worlds. They are “big box office,” and we have to acknowledge that we need audience draws like them – until we reach the reputation level of the Chicago and Cleveland Orchestras, who travel without need for extra box office draw. Lang Lang, Joshua Bell and Augustin Hadelich fill concert halls over the entire world, but to say that we are lucky to be able to have them play with us is really false modesty. They love to appear with us. As Lang Lang has said, our orchestra plays on a par with the best European and American orchestras. He describes us as playing with characteristic European warmth and with characteristic American brilliance. The presence of such inspiring soloists as these always makes us play even better. Also, the presence of new audiences in far-off, important venues will cause us to play better yet.

So, let us start with our first October program. Augustin Hadelich is a superb violinist, always welcome here. The Barber Violin Concerto, probably by now the most popular of the American violin concerti, was his choice, but the rest of that program was selected for the tour. Augustin Hadelich will also play the Barber concerto with us in several of our China concerts, although, depending upon circumstances, he also has the option of playing a different concerto. For the Chinese tour, the Tchaikovsky is the violin concerto to be played by Josh Bell, who ended our last season here with it. Night Parade, the new work to be played on our season’s opening concert and our Carnegie Hall program is by a fine, very up-and-coming British-American composer, David Bruce, already active in the New York/Carnegie Hall scene. I had hoped to have not just a new, contemporary piece to take with us but, even better, a piece that actually would be commissioned for our tour. It is a big step for an orchestra to commission works from recognized composers, and our doing so is a testimonial to how much we have grown, and how far we have come. Our great friends, Sam Ersan and Gordon Brodfuehrer, graciously underwrote the costs of David Bruce’s new work, commissioned for us, which we shall premiere on the 2013-14 season’s opening concert, and take with us to Carnegie Hall and to China.

I had thought long and hard about what great piece to choose for the second half of the Carnegie Hall concert. The selection process required thinking on several levels: the quality of the music and the capacity to draw audiences. New York, of course, has its own busy orchestras – more than just the New York Philharmonic – and hosts a large number of visiting groups in both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Carnegie, of course, has the aura of success, but it also has far better acoustics to show off our orchestra. So many visiting orchestras concentrate on the basic repertory: Beethoven, Brahms, etc. I wanted something different, although equally great, because audiences tire of hearing the same standard works over and over. The Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 was my choice. It is a beautiful work, not heard as frequently as it should be. Its most recent performance by the SDSO was in 2006 under my direction, its third hearing here. Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, of course, were the greatest of twentieth century Russian composers, and both created works that have demonstrated their staying power. However, everybody seems to play the Shostakovich Fifth. The Prokofiev, though, is a work almost specially tailored to show off the virtuosity of our orchestra, especially of our incredible principals, and it will be an audience favorite with its stupendous finale. With Lang Lang playing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in Carnegie Hall before the intermission, the audience should be ripe for hearing the Prokofiev. Likewise, with Josh Bell playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in China, the audience there will be beautifully primed for the Prokofiev. The venues in China do have the option of choosing the Dvořák Eighth Symphony instead, which we play here at our October 26th send-off program (along with the Rachmaninoff with Lang Lang), just before leaving for New York.

The second Masterworks program is all-American, with pieces I chose especially for the tour through China. There, too, big touring European orchestras play the basic central European repertory more often than not, and I wanted this American orchestra to play a lot of American music. In fact, the Shanghai concert administration has specifically requested an all-American program. Augustin Hadelich playing the Samuel Barber concerto is an obvious choice there as well as here. All of the pieces in this second Masterworks program (and all that have been planned for the tour) have been played before by our orchestra, some several times, and all under my direction. The musicians’ familiarity with these scores will allow us to polish the performances to exceptionally high levels and ensure our making a big hit in every Chinese hall.  The John Harbison “Gatsby” Foxtrot is special, very listenable and a bit of fun as well. Leonard Bernstein, my revered teacher, is, of course, no longer with us, but he remains an enormously influential figure in 20th century music, a popular icon in China as well as here. I have previously conducted the music from West Side Story in China as well as elsewhere in the Orient, always to great enthusiasm on the part of the audiences. The other American pieces we are bringing are also well-known, especially Gershwin’s An American in Paris, a now-classic piece beloved all over the world. There will also be a few short American pieces that we will have available for encores.

Our “Tour Send-Off” concert, just before we leave for “Carnegie Hall, Beijing and Beyond,” features a program of music that may be very popular but also very significant. Lang Lang, the SDSO’s great friend, will play the very popular Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, just as he will with us in Carnegie Hall three days later. (The remainder of that New York concert features the David Bruce premiere work and the Prokofiev symphony.)

Antonín Dvořák opens the “Send-Off” concert with a series of Slavonic Dances that everybody loves, and closes it with his beautiful Eighth Symphony, probably as popular these days as his “New World” Symphony, now a standard. As I wrote above, this symphony can alternate with the Prokofiev as requested by the Chinese concert administrators. Each will be a big hit with those audiences. The list of pieces we shall bring along will be submitted to each Chinese venue well in advance so that they can determine the program they want us to play. All in all, I believe that every piece that I have chosen for the orchestra to perform on the tour will show our orchestra in the best light – again, to refer to Lang Lang’s opinion, on a par with the best of European and American orchestras. I anticipate some glory days for the San Diego Symphony. Thank you for being such gratifying, attentive audiences. We shall do you proud.



As noted above by our maestro, the Barber Violin Concerto, to be played by Augustin Hadelich, has been presented four times before by the SDSO, beginning with Robert Gerle’s 1957 performance under Robert Shaw. Charles Ketcham introduced our audience to the Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 during the 1979-80 season. Jahja Ling conducted the Harbison Remembering Gatsby: Foxtrot for Orchestra in 2008. Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story was heard here as early as the 1985-86 season, conducted by David Atherton. These presentations mark the work’s seventh appearance on our programs. Bernstein’s Overture to Candide was first conducted here by George Barati, in 1959. It has been repeated subsequently nine times. Gershwin’s An American in Paris was conducted by Fabien Sevitzky during the 1952 season, and its current programming marks its twelfth appearance here.

One or another of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances have been played here often since Charles Ketcham conducted Dance No. 1 in the 1977-78 season. The Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 is probably the world’s favorite and certainly most popular work by the Russian composer. It was first heard in San Diego played by George Sementovsky, conducted by Robert Shaw, in 1957. It has been repeated over the years fourteen times. The beautiful Symphony No. 8 Dvořák was introduced to SDSO audiences during the 1972-73 season, with Donald Johanos on the podium. Nine subsequent presentations have been programmed, including the two most recent performances in the 1998-99 and 2003-04 seasons, when Jahja Ling led the work.    (- Melvin G. Goldzband, Symphony Archivist)



“America’s Pianist” Kevin Cole has delighted audiences with a repertoire that includes the best of 20th Century American music. Kevin Cole’s performances have prompted accolades from some of the foremost critics in America. "A piano genius...he reveals an understanding of harmony, rhythmic complexity and pure show-biz virtuosity that would have had Vladimir Horowitz smiling with envy," wrote critic Andrew Patner. On Cole’s affinity for Gershwin: “When Cole sits down at the piano, you would swear Gershwin himself was at work… Cole stands as the best Gershwin pianist in America today,” says Howard Reich, arts critic for the Chicago Tribune.

Engagements for Kevin Cole include: sold-out performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall; National Symphony at The Kennedy Center; Hong Kong Philharmonic; San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra (London); Boston Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra; New Zealand Symphony, Edmonton Symphony (Canada), Ravinia Festival, Wolf Trap, Savannah Music Festival, Castleton Festival, Chautauqua Institute and many others. Kevin Cole made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Albany Symphony in May 2013.

Mr. Cole has shared the concert stage with Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, William Warfield, Sylvia McNair, Lorin Maazel, Itzhak Perlman, Brian d’Arcy James, Barbara Cook, Robert Klein, Lucie Arnaz, Maria Friedman, Idina Menzel and friend and mentor Marvin Hamlisch. He was featured soloist for the PBS special Gershwin at One Symphony Place with the Nashville Symphony. Cole has written, directed, co-produced and toured a multimedia concert called HERE TO STAY -The Gershwin Experience.

Kevin Cole is an award-winning musical director, arranger, composer, vocalist and archivist who has garnered the praises of Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, Hugh Martin, Burton Lane, Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Sondheim and members of the Jerome Kern and Gershwin families. He has worked as vocal arranger/accompanist for opera, pop and musical theatre performers Sylvia McNair, Dawn Upshaw, Brian d’Arcy James, Karen Morrow, Melissa Manchester, John Lithgow, Donna McKechnie, Christine Andreas, Hollis Resnik, Klea Blackhurst, Kim Criswell and William Warfield.

Mr. Cole has given Master Classes in musical theatre vocal performance at Interlochen Center for the Arts and North Carolina School of the Arts. He has served as Musical Director for Pasadena Playhouse, Michigan Ensemble Theatre, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and Royal George Theatre (Chicago). Kevin has worked with songwriting legend Hugh Martin, vocal coach to Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Judy Garland and many others.

Kevin Cole’s discography includes Gramophone Musical Album of the Year (1995) Gershwin's Oh, Kay! with soprano Dawn Upshaw (Elektra/Nonesuch), his critically acclaimed solo piano disc Cole Plays Gershwin and his vocal/jazz album In the Words Of Ira – The Songs of Ira Gershwin.

Learn more at:

October 11 - October 13, 2013

  • Overview
  • Notes
  • Artists