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March is about to shower some symphonic joy. Subscription renewal packets go out in less than a week, the SRS Youth Orchestra's Concerto Concert is March 9, at Weill Hall and the SRS Young People's Chamber Orchestra performs its "Lives of the Composers" concert on March 10, at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma. The following weekend, Conductor Emeritus Jeffrey Kahane returns to lead the orchestra in an all-American program March 16-18, with Gershwin's infectious An American in Paris, Copland's epic Symphony No. 3, and guest violinist Elena Urioste showing off her virtuosity in Barber's Violin Concerto. Bring your friends to share the joy. And bring your renewal forms, too. Patron services staff will be in the lobby at all three "American Dreams" performances for your convenience.

Not a subscriber yet? They can help you with that, too. 

Clef Notes

with Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong

When I became Music Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony last spring, in addition to my post with the Eugene Symphony, I knew I had been given the unique opportunity to build a connection between two amazing orchestras known for their strong community engagement and musical innovation. What started out as an ambitious dream nine months ago, became a reality earlier this month as both orchestras announced a four-year collaboration, the "First Symphony Project." Over the next four seasons, four acclaimed composers will participate in eight community residencies culminating in the premiere of four new symphonies. I wanted a project on this scale to begin to shift the perception of composers and new music. 
The phrase "new music" can have a negative spin among audiences who have been disappointed, bewildered or even angered (and rightly so) by a genre of music in the past century that often sought to have a shocking and brutal effect on its listeners. However, "new music," by its very definition has no preconceived sound and I believe that the past decade has taken us into the beginnings of a Golden Age of composition. Every day I hear a new composition that has a profound affect on me whether passionate, humorous, joyful or terrifying. Composers are reflecting our cultural need to connect with each other and embracing the power of the performing arts to strengthen community. Just think back to how we were all moved by Paul Dooley's work Sonoma Strong, performed in October to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the tragic fires. It was a shared moment that no other work from the past could have brought us no matter how genius the composer. This project takes that idea one step further in asking for an entire new "symphony": the most important orchestral form that every great composer from Beethoven to Mahler used to express their most personal and universal ideas. In taking these journeys over the next four years, we will take part in shaping the musical landscape of our time and providing a model for how to grow our art form for future generations.
If you have a moment, be sure to check out our project more in depth and learn about our amazing composers. 
Sincerely yours,
Conductor Emeritus Jeffrey Kahane
Elena Urioste, violin

"American Dreams"  

March 16, 17 & 18

Gershwin: An American in Paris 
Copland: Symphony No. 3
Barber: Violin Concerto 


Conductor Emeritus Jeffrey Kahane returns for a program of American composers. Take a stroll through the streets of Paris with George Gershwin's An American in Paris. Inspired by his travels there, the music transports the listener to that vibrant city. Aaron Copland wrote his Third Symphony as a birthday present for his son. It's filled with hope, humor and concludes with a triumphant brass fanfare celebrating our common humanity. 

Elena Urioste joins the orchestra for Samuel Barber's only Violin Concerto. The concerto, which opens with the violin, is lush, colorful and serene - until the fiendishly fast finale. The Guardian declared Elena's interpretation of the finale "virtuosic."  

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Bring Elena's virtuosity home with you.

Estrellita (little stars) is a collection of 19 violin miniatures by various composers from the romantic and modern repertoire, performed with pianist Tom Poster. Echoes is the first recording with Elena's long-time performing partner, pianist Michael Brown. They play Strauss, Ravel, Amy Beach and a work written by Brown. Elena will be in the lobby during intermission at all "American Dreams" performances to sign these titles, which are $20 each. 

Renew your subscription at "American Dreams"

What can be easier? See the helpful SRS Patron Services staff and volunteers in the lobby during any performance of "American Dreams" to renew your subscription. Bring your completed renewal forms, or bring incomplete ones with your questions. If you forget your forms, no worries. Copies will be available. Make your payment with cash, check or credit card. Need a different seat? Remember that seat change requests are processed in the order (down to the minute!) in which they are received. 

Symphony Pro Tip

The Symphony has recently upgraded its ticket scanners. Patrons now have the option of showing the eTicket from their phones for scanning. Simply have the original pdf that was attached to the ticket email ready for the usher to scan. Saves ink and paper!
NOTE: It must be the original pdf; scanners cannot read a screen shot. 

The Composer is Dead 

A symphonic murder mystery!

April 7   3 pm 

Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor 
Jeff Cote, narrator

In this fun, interactive Santa Rosa Symphony Family Series concert, a wily detective interrogates sections of the orchestra, looking for the culprit. Young audience members will learn about the instruments of the orchestra in this deliciously dark, highly-engaging work, which has been performed by more than 100 orchestras on four continents. 

Bring the young people in your life, and bring them early, for the free Instrument Petting Zoo. The Petting Zoo, facilitated by SRS Institute for Music Education staff, Youth Ensemble members and volunteers, is free to all ticket holders. 
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FREE Masterclass with Elena Urioste

Thursday, March 14 at 4 pm (Note new date!) 

Virtuoso violinist Elena Urioste will work with two violinists from the SRS Institute youth ensembles on Thursday, March 14, 4-5 pm on the Weill Hall stage. You're invited to listen and learn with them. Much of the advice given in a masterclass can be applied to any instrument. A masterclass is a fun and informative opportunity to see a top-flight musician and music educator share insights and techniques. Admission is FREE, but parking is not.

Reservations required: (707) 546-8742.

Meet our musicians

Susan Jette


Although Susan Jette's first instrument was the piano, she chose to play percussion in the school band, because she thought it would be more fun. Now she bases her home- and car-buying decisions on how many instruments she needs to accommodate, which include a large collection of world music instruments, gongs, prayer bowls, Tibetan bells, etc.
Susan loves both extremes of playing percussion with the Santa Rosa Symphony – the excitement and the moments of zen, and says Santa Rosa Symphony has "the best vibe," of all the symphony orchestras she's played in. 
Susan is a full-time music therapist at Napa State Hospital, certified drum circle facilitator, sound healer,  yoga teacher and conducts individual music therapy sessions. She's very proud of her work with adult psychiatric patients. "Seeing people engage with each other in a positive way during my Monday morning drum circle is very rewarding."

In her spare time, Susan, who is from a small town in New Hampshire, enjoys yoga, gardening, water polo, animals and travel.

Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Ensembles

Spring concerts and recitals

Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra
Concerto Concert
Saturday, March 9, 3 pm
Bobby Rogers, conductor
Featuring concerto winner: Grace Yarrow, violin
Special Guests: Napa Valley Youth Symphony and Santa Rosa High School String Orchestra
Weill Hall, Green Music Center

Young People’s Chamber Orchestra
The Lives of Composers: a seriously delirious musical pageant
Sunday, March 10, 7 pm
Aaron Westman, director
Featuring concerto winner: Devon Bolt, flute
Special Guest: Jim Beloff, ukulele
Phoenix Theater, Petaluma
Advance tickets: $15 adults; $5 youth; $10 group
At the door: $20 adults; $10 youth
Buy Tickets

Music Around Town

On Saturday afternoon, March 23, from 2-5 pm, musicians and faculty from the Santa Rosa Symphony Institute for Music Education will play music in various Railroad Square venues. These "Music Around Town" performances are free to the public. The Institute has partnered with a select group of historic businesses and venues to create community and expose more people to classical music and the amazing array of SRS education programs. The public is invited to stroll through the shops, restaurants and galleries as chamber ensembles of 2-14 young musicians and faculty perform 20-30 minute sets.

Maps will be available at each of the following participating Railroad Square venues: Museums of Sonoma County, 6th Street Playhouse, Cast Away Yarn Shop, Chevy’s Fresh Mex and A'Roma Roasters.

Youth in Recital 

Free public events - no tickets or reservations needed

Simply Strings Recital
Friday, March 8, 6 pm
Piner High School
Santa Rosa
SRSYO Chamber Players Recital
Sunday, March 24 at noon
First Congregational Church
of Santa Rosa

Summer Music Academy

Registration open - spots for adults, too!

Register for Summer Music Academy for three weeks of amazing music immersion July 15- August 2, with a concert for Performance Academy participants on Saturday, August 3. Find more information and register online at

First Symphony Project - have you heard? 

The Santa Rosa Symphony and Eugene Symphony have partnered for a four-year commissioning project in which four prolific American composers are given the opportunity to go big and write their first symphony.

The orchestra performing the world premiere will also perform a shorter work by that composer earlier in the same season. Additionally, each of the composers will be Composer-in-Residence for both performance weeks, participating in community outreach activities.

"Our art form relies on the creative vision of today's composers," says Francesco. "In the large-scale form of a symphony, these composers will be able to create a musical world that is both deeply personal and powerfully universal. Just as importantly, the multiple residencies will allow us to not only celebrate these new creations, but bring us closer to their creators."
Matt Browne – 2019-2020
Gabriella Smith – 2020-2021
Angélica Negrón – 2021-2022
Michael Djupstrom – 2022-2023
The project is jointly commissioned by the two symphonies and four patron households from each, along with Francesco Lecce-Chong, who is also Music Director for the Eugene Symphony. The commissioning households from Santa Rosa Symphony are Board Emeritus members Nancy and David Berto, Chuck and Ellen Wear, Creighton White and current board member Gordon Blumenfeld. All nine donors will be listed on the music scores as co-commissioners.

For more information, visit the First Symphony Project page on the SRS website. 


Santa Rosa East Rotary supports music in the schools

Symphony education programs like It’s Elementary, now in its 12th year, continue to make an impact in Sonoma County schools like Brook Hill Elementary of Santa Rosa, where hundreds of students are receiving daily listening-and-response exercises, interactive on-campus and off-campus concerts, free training on recorders, and arts instruction that integrates into classroom curricula, helping their teachers fulfill state educational standards. The Symphony is able to provide these comprehensive services for free to six schools each year because of generous supporters throughout the community, including the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East, which recently awarded the Symphony a grant to fund It’s Elementary at Brook Hill for the 2018–2019 school year.

Fazioli & Friends

The Fazioli is a 10-foot grand piano, a precious instrument, perhaps one of its kind in Sonoma County. The Friends are Ken Piters, Piano; Roy Zajac, Principal Clarinet, Santa Rosa Symphony; and members of Scattered Winds, a woodwind ensemble. These two afternoon performances will be held at a Calistoga residence on April 13 and 14 from 2-4 pm. Refreshments will be served, along with wine from Petrified Forest Vineyards.

Tickets, available on the League's website are $50.

Proceeds will be shared by the SRS League in support of SRS music education and FACE 2 FACE, whose mission is to end HIV in Sonoma County.

The Revolutionists

A Signature Lauren Gunderson Play

Join members of the Symphony League on March 14 at 7 pm for an evening of suspense and humor that rewrites the French Revolution. Wine and nibbles will be provided by the League. 

Tickets, available on the League's website, are $45. 
Symphony League event tickets

A new era. Be here from the beginning!

Donate to the Symphony
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.
PHOTO CREDITS: Orchestra, Music Director, SRS musician and youth photos by Susan and Neil Silverman Photography. Jeffrey Kahane by E F Marton Productions. Elena Urioste (in order of appearance) by Sophie Zhai and Allesandra Tinozzi. Matt Browne by Suby Raman. Angélica Negrón by Quique Cabanillas. Michael Djupstrom by Donald Allison. 

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Contact Us

Santa Rosa Symphony
Administrative Office:
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