Press Releases

February 19, 2016

San Francisco Ballet Orchestra Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary with a Special Concert on March 25

SAN FRANCISCO, Friday, February 19, 2016—The San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and is renowned as one of the best ensembles of its kind, will present a special concert on Friday, March 25 at 8pm. The concert will held at the Herbst Theatre at the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center and SF Ballet Orchestra Music Director & Principal Conductor Martin West will conduct.

The program will include the public world premiere of Conversations with Nijinsky by composer C.F. Kip Winger—who also created the score to Christopher Wheeldon’s acclaimed Ghosts, which the Company premiered in 2010. The program will also include Poéme for Violin and Orchestra by Chausson, which will feature newly appointed SF Ballet Orchestra Concertmaster Cordula Merks as a soloist. In addition, the Orchestra will play Stravinsky’s masterpiece Firebird and close with Moszkowski’s Fackeltanz (“Dance with Flares”), which was recorded by the Orchestra as a world premiere and will be released in March.

“The Orchestra is proud of its accomplishments over the past 40 years, including two recent Grammy wins,” said West. “We are thrilled to perform a special concert next month and I’ve selected four diverse pieces of music that showcase the musician’s incredible versatility and depth of talent.”

Tickets go on sale to the general public on February 29 at Tickets are currently on pre-sale to SF Ballet subscribers, friends and family, and select classical music partners. For more information, visit

SF Ballet Orchestra
The San Francisco Ballet Orchestra has been internationally recognized as one of the foremost ballet orchestras in the world. Since its 1975 performance debut accompanying SF Ballet’s Nutcracker (under Music Director Denis de Coteau), the Orchestra’s home has been the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. At that time, the ensemble was credited by the name the Performing Arts Orchestra of San Francisco.  Later, in 1983, the name was officially changed to the SF Ballet Orchestra. With a core group of 49 regular members, augmented up to 65 players for certain productions, the Orchestra’s performance season includes the annual run of SF Ballet’s Nutcracker and its repertory season.  The Orchestra’s repertoire varies from such classics as Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Adam’s Giselle, to the more abstract and contemporary of ballet and symphonic works. Over the years, the Orchestra has also earned the distinction of having accompanied such prestigious ballet companies as American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opéra Ballet,  National Ballet of Cuba, The Royal Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and Paul Taylor Dance Company. In February 2016, the SF Ballet Orchestra’s recording of “Ask Your Mama” won for best engineered album (classical) and producer of the year (classical). 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the SF Ballet Orchestra.

San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. In October 2013, the Company performed at New York’s David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where The New York Times declared SF Ballet “a national treasure.” 2015 marked the 30th anniversary of Helgi Tomasson’s tenure as artistic director of San Francisco Ballet.

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