Great Performance – San Francisco Symphony at 100

Air date: 03/30/2012

San Francisco Symphony at 100,the Centennial Season Opening Gala Concert Featuring Michael Tilson Thomas, Itzhak Perlman and Lang Lang, Airs on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances Friday, March 30 at 9PM on PBS


Best-selling author Amy Tan hosts the commemorative concert and narrates the historical mini-documentaries woven throughout the special


San Francisco Symphony at 100, the San Francisco Symphony’s Centennial Season opening night gala, conducted by Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, will air on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, Friday, March 30 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

THIRTEEN’s Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local arts programming to the New York community.

In September, the San Francisco Symphony and Tilson Thomas launched its milestone Centennial with a celebratory gala concert dubbed “Fanfare for a New Century” at Davies Symphony Hall.

The two-hour broadcast is hosted by best-selling Bay Area author Amy Tan and features Tilson Thomas conducting the Orchestra and two of the leading artists of our time: legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor and the dynamic pianist Lang Lang performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major.

The concert opens with Aaron Copland’s vivid portrayal of American prairie life, the Billy the Kid Ballet Suite and concludes with Britten’s orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra of which the San Francisco Chronicle said: “…as Thomas led his colleagues, section by section and soloist by soloist… the listener could only marvel at the level of individual excellence and communal artistry on display.”

Capping off the concert is an encore of Bay Area composer John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine featuring animated images of San Francisco projected throughout Davies Symphony Hall.

Woven into the concert footage, San Francisco Symphony at 100 includes historical documentary features narrated by Tan highlighting the Orchestra’s early beginnings, its rich history of touring and its commitment to young people and innovations in media.

On April 1st, San Francisco Symphony at 100 will also be released on DVD and Blu-ray with additional bonus historical features (though will not feature Lang Lang’s concert performance.)

San Francisco Symphony at 100 is a production of San Francisco Symphony and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.

Major funding for the telecast is provided by Nan Tucker McEvoy and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Great Performances is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, Vivian Milstein, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Filomen M. Di’Agostino Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, public television viewers, and PBS.

San Francisco Symphony at 100 is directed by Gary Halvorson. Executive Producer: John Kieser. Producer: Michael Bronson. The History Vignettes are produced by Janette Gitler. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.

Visit Great Performances Online at for additional information about this and other programs.


About WNET


New York’s WNET is America’s flagship public media outlet, bringing quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. The parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET produces such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley and a range of documentaries,  children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online.  Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Noah Comprende and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.