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The SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY gave its first concerts in 1911 and has grown in acclaim under a succession of music directors: Henry Hadley, Alfred Hertz, Basil Cameron, Issay Dobrowen, Pierre Monteux, Enrique Jordá, Josef Krips, Seiji Ozawa, Edo de Waart, Herbert Blomstedt, and, since 1995, Michael Tilson Thomas. The SFS has won such recording awards as France’s Grand Prix du Disque, Britain’s Gramophone Award, and the United States’ Grammy. For RCA Red Seal, Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS have recorded music from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Mahler’s Das klagende Lied, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, two Copland collections, a Gershwin collection, Stravinsky ballets (Le sacre du printemps, The Firebird, and Perséphone), and Charles Ives: An American Journey. Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 inaugurated a Mahler cycle on the Symphony’s own label and in 2003 captured a Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. In 2004, the MTT/SFS recording of Mahler’s Third Symphony captured the Grammy for Best Classical Album, and in 2007 their recording of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony captured Grammys for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Classical Album.
Some of the most important conductors of the past and recent years have been guests on the SFS podium, among them Bruno Walter, Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein, and Sir Georg Solti, and the list of composers who have led the Orchestra includes Stravinsky, Ravel, Copland, and John Adams. The SFS Youth Orchestra, founded in 1980, has become known around the world, as has the SFS Chorus, heard on recordings and on the soundtracks of such films as Amadeus and Godfather III. For two decades, the SFS Adventures in Music program has brought music to every child in grades 1 through 5 in San Francisco’s public schools. SFS radio broadcasts, the first in the U.S. to feature symphonic music when they began in 1926, today carry the Orchestra’s concerts across the country. In a multimedia program designed to make classical music accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, the SFS has launched Keeping Score on PBS-TV, DVD, the World Wide Web (keepingscore.org), and radio (The MTT Files). San Francisco Symphony recordings are available at shopsfsymphony.org.