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SF

San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

San Francisco, CA, United States

The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (SFCO) is a distinguished ensemble that has been an integral part of the Bay Area's cultural landscape for several decades. Founded in 1953 by Edgar Braun, a 19-year-old violinist from UC Berkeley, the SFCO began as a vision shared between Braun and his friend Adrian Sunshine. The inspiration for the orchestra's creation came from a summer Braun spent studying with the renowned conductor Pierre Monteux in Maine. When Monteux suggested that Braun would need to start his own orchestra to pursue conducting, Braun took this advice to heart, returning to Berkeley and establishing the SFCO with Sunshine. The orchestra's inaugural concert took place at Berkeley’s Hillel Foundation in April of that same year.\n\nIn its early years, the SFCO provided a platform for San Francisco Symphony musicians to perform additional concerts, quickly becoming an important part of the city's musical scene. After Sunshine moved to Europe in 1958, Braun assumed full leadership of the orchestra and guided it through various challenges and successes over the next four decades. He conducted more than 600 concerts, founded the Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival, initiated the Twilight Series at the M.H. de Young Museum, and showcased numerous Bay Area musicians.\n\nDespite having a background in business administration and law—fields he pursued at the behest of his parents—Braun's passion for music remained undiminished. He led a dual life as a practicing tax attorney and a dedicated conductor, managing to raise a family in Berkeley while also conducting orchestras in 16 countries. His tenure with the SFCO ended with his passing in 2002, marking the end of an era.\n\nBenjamin Simon succeeded Braun as the Music Director in January 2002. A native San Franciscan, Simon brought his experience as a violist and chamber musician, along with a fresh and innovative approach, to the SFCO. Under his leadership, the orchestra has continued to flourish, maintaining its commitment to excellence and community engagement. The SFCO is now recognized as one of the Bay Area's premier chamber orchestras, presenting a full season of over 36 performances that are admission-free, thus ensuring that classical music is accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.\n\nThe SFCO's programming includes MainStage Concerts featuring up to 36 players and world-class soloists, Family Concerts designed for younger audiences, and Very First Concerts in collaboration with Berkeley’s Crowden Music Center. These events are held across various venues in San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Oakland, San Mateo, and Burlingame. The orchestra's commitment to diversity and education is further exemplified through initiatives like Diversity Fellowships and the ELM Summer Camp, fostering the next generation of music lovers and performers.\n\nWith a history spanning over six decades, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra continues to embody the spirit of its founders, offering imaginative and well-performed programs that resonate with both long-time classical music aficionados and those new to the genre. The SFCO's unique approach to classical music, characterized by a relaxed atmosphere and interactive musical experiences, ensures that it remains a beloved institution within the Bay Area's vibrant cultural community.

The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (SFCO) is a distinguished ensemble that has been an integral par...


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San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

San Francisco, CA, United States

2024 Artelize