December 19, 2014
San Francisco Symphony's new experimental performance venue, SoundBox, opens to critical acclaim
High resolution photos of SoundBox are available for download from the SoundBox online press kit. Credit: Stefan Cohen
High resolution photos of SoundBox are available for download from the SoundBox online press kit. Credit: Stefan Cohen

SoundBox succeeds on every level, both demographically and artistically… And yes, it’s the coolest thing on the block” - KQED

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—SoundBox, the San Francisco Symphony’s new experimental performance venue and late-night live music series opened to a capacity-crowd and critical acclaim on Saturday, December 13, with a program led by Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas that spanned over ten centuries of music. “San Francisco has a superb new performance venue for music…Saturday night’s tremendous opening event of SoundBox…was as exciting for what it offered as for what it promised,” wrote Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle. Georgia Rowe, reviewer for the Bay Area News Group called it a “thrilling debut,” writing, “the classical music establishment has been wringing its hands for years, trying to figure out how to attract younger audiences. They can stop now. Michael Tilson Thomas has found the solution.” And Allan Ulrich wrote in the Financial Times that, “The possibilities for the future here seem endless.” 

“SoundBox is a new and experimental space for all kinds of music,” Michael Tilson Thomas explained. “To have a space in which the audience and musicians can explore this huge swath of time together is something I’ve always dreamed of, and now we have it.” 

At the December 13 opening, MTT took listeners through a “musical tasting menu” that showcased the venue’s state-of-the-art Meyer Constellation Sound System, which can alter the space’s acoustics to mimic a different environment for each individual work. “It’s a creation that allows the space to simulate a huge range of acoustical environments, from the vast, echoing reaches of a Baroque cathedral to the crisp, dry milieu of a recording studio,” wrote Joshua Kosman. Visual components of the opening show included Steina’s 1986 video Voice Windows, featuring the voice of Joan La Barbara, co-presented by the SFMOMA. Prior to the show’s start, guests experienced a soundscape installation derived from John Cage’s Branches (music for amplified plants), accompanied by imagery from video designer Adam Larsen. With multiple screens hanging over multiple stages, visuals are an integral part of SoundBox.

SoundBox is located in a rehearsal space behind Davies Symphony Hall that has been transformed into an attractive lounge/nightclub. Its interior offers an alternative to that of the traditional concert hall experience with general seating for approximately 450 people on banquettes, ottomans, and barstools, and at cafe and cocktail tables.

SoundBox continues this season with four more separate events, each one as eclectic, unexpected and inter-disciplinary as the opening concert. Performances will include a range of repertoire from traditional classical works to avant-garde pieces and world premieres, and everything in between. Many SoundBox evenings will feature visual projections that take listeners deeper into each musical composition, as well as sculpture and/or or environmental installations. The performances on January 9 & 10 are led by Joshua Gerson, recent conducting fellow at the New World Symphony, where he served as the assistant conductor to Michael Tilson Thomas. The SF Symphony percussion section headed by Principal Percussion Jacob Nissly leads the February 13 & 14 shows, taking the audience through an array of instruments and sounds, and inviting the audience to participate in the music-making. Composer Nathaniel Stookey and conductor Edwin Outwater program the shows on March 6 & 7, with participation from composer Terry Riley, composer and visual artist Nicole Lizée, and sculptor Oliver DiCicco. And to close SoundBox’s first season, composer Samuel Adams leads the April 9 & 10 concerts, with works that showcase the next generation of composers, including Adams himself penning a composition specifically for the space.

SoundBox is located at 300 Franklin Street in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Tickets for all SoundBox events are $25 and go on sale individually at SFSoundBox.com and 415-503-5299.

Press information about SoundBox can be found in the online press kit at bit.ly/SFSBoxPress

SOUNDBOX: MUSICIANS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY
Friday, January 9, 2015
Saturday, January 10, 2015
300 Franklin Street at Hayes
9pm | Doors open 8pm
General Admission | Limited Seating

Joshua Gerson, conductor
Amos Yang, cello
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Members of the San Francisco Symphony

Selections from:
Adams           Shaker Loops
Biber              Battalia a 10
Volkert         Serenade
Bach                Cello suite no. 1
Britten          Les illuminations

Complete performance of:
Milhaud         Le boeuf sur le toit

All programming subject to change

Tickets: General Admission $25; must be 21 or older. Available at SFSoundbox.com and 415-503-5299

SOUNDBOX: THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY PERCUSSION SECTION
Friday, February 13, 2015
Saturday, February 14, 2015
300 Franklin Street at Hayes
9pm | Doors open 8pm
General Admission | Limited Seating

Percussionists of the San Francisco Symphony
          Jacob Nissly, Principal Percussion
Steven Schick, Percussionist, conductor, author, and Professor of Music at University of California, San Diego
Rootstock, percussion ensemble

Reich                 Electric Counterpoint
Abblebaum   Aphasia
Lei Liang        Trans
Reich                Nagoya Marimbas
Xenakis           Okho
Reich                Clapping Music
Golijov            Mariel
Cage                  Third Construction

Pre-concert: Percussion setups illuminated for audience viewing, and stone musical instruments on offer for audience members to participate in a shared musical experience.

Post-concert: Audience interaction with musical instruments

All programming subject to change

Tickets: General Admission $25; must be 21 or older. Available at a future date from SFSoundbox.com and 415-503-5299

SOUNDBOX: NATHANIEL STOOKEY AND EDWIN OUTWATER
Friday, March 6, 2015
Saturday, March 7, 2015
300 Franklin Street at Hayes
9pm | Doors open 8pm
General Admission | Limited Seating

Nathaniel Stookey, guest curator
Edwin Outwater, guest curator and conductor
Members of the San Francisco Symphony
Terry Riley, composer
Nicole Lizée, composer and DJ
Oliver DiCiccio, sculptor

Riley               Selected works
Stookey        New Work for Musical Sculptures (World Premiere)
Lizée               New Work (World Premiere)

Pre-concert: Audience exploration of Oliver DiCiccio’s musical sculptures, which move and create low-level sound without assistance

Post-concert: DJ set by Nicole Lizée

All programming subject to change

Tickets: General Admission $25; must be 21 or older. Available at a future date from SFSoundbox.com and 415-503-5299

SOUNDBOX: SAMUEL ADAMS
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Friday, April 10, 2015
300 Franklin Street at Hayes
9pm | Doors open 8pm
General Admission | Limited Seating

Samuel Adams, guest curator
Members of the San Francisco Symphony
Chris Rountree, conductor
Abstract Birds, visual music artists

Tristan Perich               Parallels
Ligeti                                   Partitura
Adrian Knight              The Tears
Sam Adams                    New work (SFS Commission, World Premiere)
Cynthia Lee Wong    Snapshots
Clara Iannotta             Clangs

All programming subject to change

Tickets: General Admission $25; must be 21 or older. Available at a future date from SFSoundbox.com and 415-503-5299


Press Contacts:

Public Relations 
San Francisco Symphony 
(415) 503-5474 
publicrelations@sfsymphony.org 
www.sfsymphony.org/press

National Press Representation:
Shuman Associates
(212) 315-1300
shumanpr@shumanassociates.net

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