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Francesco Lecce-Chong is back in January to conduct "Tiers of Heaven," featuring Mozart, Mahler and Takemitsu. You can hear more about it, in person, from Francesco Lecce-Chong on January 7 at the Sebastopol library. Also in Sebastopol, on January 18, is a recital by SRS Youth Orchestra concerto competition auditionees.

Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery, the SRS Family concert, on Sunday, January 27, is a great way to spend a couple hours with your favorite young people. At $18 for adults and $12 for children, it costs no more than a movie and popcorn and the children can interact with the performers and learn about orchestral instruments and music. They can even handle and play instruments in the lobby before the concert in the free Instrument Petting Zoo.

From all of us at Santa Rosa Symphony, may your new year be filled with music, love and laughter. 

Clef Notes

with Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to a great 2019! There are many wonderful things ahead for the Santa Rosa Symphony this year, like the announcement of my first season of programming which will start in October 2019 and the return of my beloved predecessors this spring, Jeffrey Kahane and Bruno Ferrandis.
But first, it's my great joy to welcome you back to start off 2019 with an incredible program of Mozart and Mahler. A performance of any Mahler symphony is usually the largest undertaking of an orchestra season and this is no exception. One of the very simple reasons is quite simply the length. Even though his Fourth Symphony is his shortest creation, it still runs about an hour long and requires a mental stamina from the performers unlike any other composer. However, the true devil is in the details. Mahler was also one of the great conductors of all time and he litters the page with directions and admonishments to the performers: "Don't rush," "Don't drag," "Imperceptibly grow in intensity," are some of his favorites. He dictates so many details that most composers leave them up to the performers, like sliding between two notes, a short pause...even how to hold your instrument! Digesting all this information and still keeping the large form intact is what makes this music so challenging. Above all the details and directions in the Fourth Symphony is the ironically humorous and heartbreaking journey of a child's soul to heaven which ends in one of Mahler's most beautiful songs. When the large and small musical gestures come together, Mahler's music truly transforms us. I always feel like a slightly different human being every time I perform a Mahler symphony - like a small window into the meaning of the universe was opened just briefly to me. And, although it's a tall order, I hope we can bring you that same transformative experience this month.
Best wishes for a wonderful start to your New Year and I look forward to seeing you at the Green Music Center!

Yours truly,
Francesco Lecce-Chong

Be moved by Mozart and Mahler

"Tiers of Heaven" January 12, 13 & 14

Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor
Marie Plette, soprano

TAKEMITSU : Signals from Heaven
MOZART : Symphony No. 40
MAHLER : Symphony No. 4

Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong conducts "Tiers of Heaven,"a concert that explores heavenly realms and mortality with vibrant music which evokes emotions from anguish, to peace, to exaltation. It opens with Signals from Heaven, an antiphonal work by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. Mozart's explosive Symphony No. 40 in G minor contrasts Mahler's sublime Symphony No. 4 in G major. Operatic and Orchestral soprano Marie Plette sings the poem in the final movement of Mahler's symphony, which describes a child's view of paradise.

Acclaimed operatic soprano singer Marie Plette's orchestral credits include Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with the New Japan Philharmonic, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Memphis Symphony, Liu in Turandot with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and an evening of Viennese music with the San Francisco Symphony. Her several appearances at Carnegie Hall include singing Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Fauré's Requiem, Bruckner's Te Deum with the New York Choral Society and Rossini's Stabat Mater with the Collegiate Chorale. 

Written months after losing his infant son in a feverish composing spree in which he wrote three symphonies in the space of six weeks, Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor exudes darkness and anguish. 

Mahler's Symphony No. 4 in G major, written around the turn of the 19th century, is the most performed of his symphonies and is the most accessible to Mahler initiates. Contrasting to Mozart's Symphony No. 40, this symphony provides peace and solace.

Primarily self-taught, Toru Takemitsu rose to the stature of Japan's best-known composers before his death in 1996. In Signals from Heaven, Takemitsu, who often wrote elegies for lost friends, presents the modern world and dreamlike landscapes of the realm beyond, with brass instruments "speaking" to each other, creating a dialogue effect similar to that of the works by Venetian composers like Giovanni Gabrieli at the turn of the seventeenth century.  
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Tiers of Heaven: a pre-concert conversation with Francesco Lecce-Chong, Monday, January 7

You are invited and encouraged to attend an intimate evening in conversation with Francesco Lecce-Chong, at the Sebastopol Regional Library on January 7, 2019, at 6:30 pm. Francesco Lecce-Chong will offer insight and inspiration about the upcoming concert--as well as an opportunity for our community to ask questions at the end. This 90-minute Sonoma County Library event is free to the public



Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery

Join Santa Rosa Symphony and Classical Kids Live!  at Weill Hall, Green Music Center on Sunday, January 27, at 3 pm for the music, life and times of Antonio Vivaldi. Explore Venice, including Carnivale and the Island of the Dead, with young orphan Katarina and a friendly gondolier as they search for a special Stradivarius violin and the key to her past. Audience members of all ages will enjoy the music of Vivaldi, get to know the instruments in the orchestra and be entertained by Classical Kids Live! performers in this interactive concert led by Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra conductor Bobby Rogers. Arrive early for the Instrument Petting Zoo, free to all Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery ticket holders. 
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Busy doing good things - all season long

The audited results for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018 paint a picture of a fiscally healthy 2017-2018 season filled with noteworthy accomplishments, which included selecting a new Music Director, responding in tangible and generous ways to those affected by the fires and sending the Youth Orchestra on a central European concert tour. 
Here are a few more season highlights:
  • Established the SRS Institute for Music Education, drawing all education programs and opportunities for youth and adults under one umbrella
  • Performed benefit concert, raising $115,000 for fire relief with all artists, conductors (then current and two former SRS Music Directors) and staff donating their time
  • Issued free Classical Series tickets to fire survivors and first responders; Replaced instruments damaged or destroyed in fires 
  • Ended the fiscal year in the black - now 15 seasons running
  • Reached diverse audience of 4,000 with a mariachi ensemble with SRS' fourth free community concert
  • Honored Donald and Maureen Green in the most successful annual fundraiser of its kind in 14 years
  • April 25, 2018 proclaimed Santa Rosa Symphony Day by the city of Santa Rosa, recognizing 90th anniversary

Meet our musicians

Kymry Esainko, principal piano

Kymry began picking out melodies by ear at six years of age. "Being able to sit down and pick out melodies and chords from the air is still the first and foremost thing that has attracted me to the piano," he said. Kymry, whose name is Welsh though his ancestry is not, especially enjoys playing and listening to 20th century composers like Ravel, Debussy and Durufle, because of their "rich harmonic depth" and Russian modernists Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Prokofiev.

Besides classical music, Kymry loves playing jazz, "everything from early stride and Fats Waller to hard bop and post-Coltrane free jazz. In a way, it's the music that picks up where Ravel and Debussy left off, and it's the improvisatory and creative aspect that is most challenging and fun about it." He grew up listening to '80s pop like Devo and the Cars and notes that some the members of these 80s bands are now film-score composers.  

A highlight of his career was also a nerve-wracking challenge. He played Bach's Piano Concerto in D minor with the Santa Rosa Symphony while worrying that his very pregnant wife, would go into labor while sitting in the Hall at those performances. Her due date was a week before the concerts, making it very hard to concentrate. "As it turned out, Kai was born on the winter solstice Dec. 21st, a week after the last performance. You could say he had the good timing and sense to let dad have his big debut before he made his!”

Kymry is a very proud dad of two children, Kai and Stella, who sing in choirs. Kai recently won a scholarship to Pacific Boychoir Academy. In his spare time he hikes and cycles in East Bay regional parks, watches pro baseball and basketball and he loves to roast his own coffee beans. He does it on his deck with a Coleman camp stove because of the smoke. In 15-20 minutes he turns a pound of $4-$6 raw coffee beans into a $15-$20 roast like you'd get at Peet's. "And it smells great."


Practice-a-thon a huge success!

This year's young Practice-a-thon musicians logged a total of 1643.66 hours of practice time and collected $8,981.35 from more than 100 sponsors. The SRS youth ensembles participants raised an average of $50 each and averaged 13 hours of practice during the five-week period. The largest amount of hours practiced and funds raised, was 116 hours and $650, by an SRS Aspirante Orchestra member. Congratulations to all the students who made this Practice-a-thon the most successful one yet. 

2019 Concerto Showcase Recital

On Friday, January 18, at 7:30 pm, members of the SRSYO will perform music by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Weber, Vaughan Williams, Fiala, Enescu, Strauss and Accolay. These students, ages 13-23, who play flute, violin, bassoon, oboe, trumpet and French horn, are contestants in the  of the January 5th concerto competition. This recital, at Sebastopol Center for the Arts (282 South High Street), is a benefit for the Santa Rosa Symphony Institute for Music Education.

General admission is $15/adult, $10/student and free for youth 10 years old and younger. Tickets are available at the door and through Sebastopol Center for the Arts


Marc Summers Production sponsors concert

The Santa Rosa Symphony thanks Marc Summers Productions, its newest sponsor for the Carlton Senior Living Symphony Pops Series, for underwriting the third concert of the 2018–2019 season, Tribute to Judy & Liza at the Palladium, to be held February 24, 2019, at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.
The generous support of Marc Summers Productions will help make possible this celebration of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli’s unforgettable 1964 concert at London’s famed Palladium Theatre. Joan Ellison and Carolann Sanita, fresh from their appearance in The Boy from Oz, will pay tribute to these dynamic divas—singing “Once in a Lifetime,” “Just in Time” and “Gypsy in My Soul,” plus other favorites such as “Cabaret,” “New York, New York” and, of course, “Over the Rainbow.”
Tickets can only be purchased from the Luther Burbank Center Box Office, (707) 546-3600, or
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Hang with nine or more friends, colleagues or teammates and save 

Did you know the Symphony has group discounts for the Classical Series concerts? Your group members can save from 15% to 50%, depending on the number of members in the group and seat selection. A group can be defined many ways: your club, your coworkers, your clients, your friends, your family, etc. Come to the Santa Rosa Symphony together and save. You can also arrange for a private reception in the Founders Room, priced separately. Call Group Sales Manager Brenda Fox at (707) 546-8742 x210 or email to learn more. 

Program Notes

Read up and take your concert experience to the next level

The Symphony's program notes are a great way to learn more about the works and composers for each concert. You can also learn fun insider news like how Ellen Taffe Zwilich handles the oft-asked question, "What's it like to be the first woman to win the Pulitzer for music composition?" Or what instrument Beethoven added to the standard orchestra instrumentation for his Fifth Symphony. Find the program notes on the SRS website as a printable, color document on the "Passion and Power" event page, where you can also view a short video with SRS Musicologist Kayleen Asbo, PhD, offering an in-depth perspective on the composers and the music. 

Symphony Pro Tip 

Enhance your experience and that of others by ensuring you have left yourself enough time to park, pre-order your drink, find your friends, etc, well before the ten-minute bell. All concert-goers should be in their seats by then, to improve the flow and decrease the chance of having that last-minute thing ruin your opportunity to be seated before the performance begins. Late seating is not guaranteed, as the goal of the Symphony and the GMC volunteer ushers is for everyone's concert experience to be free from distractions.

Take me to the Symphony!

The Santa Rosa Symphony provides bus service to Sunday Symphony concerts. No more worrying about driving at night or in inclement weather, or finding a good parking space. And it’s especially convenient for those living in or near Oakmont, Spring Lake Village or central Santa Rosa.
This affordable service will get you to the Green Music Center on time for the pre-concert talks, which you are sure to enjoy. Get the schedule and purchase tickets by calling Patron Services at (707) 546-8742 (not available online).

A new era. Be here from the beginning!

Santa Rosa Symphony    
50 Santa Rosa Ave, Suite 410, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Patron Services  54-MUSIC (707) 546-8742  Hours: M-F 9 am-5 pm; W 10:30 am-5 pm

Programs, pricing, dates and artists subject to change.
Orchestra and SRS musician photos by Susan and Neil Silverman Photography unless otherwise noted.

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Contact Us

Santa Rosa Symphony
Administrative Office:
Hours: M-F 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
50 Santa Rosa Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Administration: (707) 546-7097

Patron Services Hours: 
M-F - 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
W – 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed Saturdays & Sundays
Patron Services: (707) 546-8742


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