SILICON VALLEY SYMPHONY Written by Andrew Bales, General Director Photography by Daniel Garcia
ymphony Silicon Valley will open its 15th season this fall. After the closing of the former San Jose Symphony, SSV rose phoenix-like with the objective of keeping talented musicians available to the greater South Bay by giving them an anchor employer in their chosen field. Challenged by one of the founding trustees to “be everywhere,” Symphony Silicon Valley strives to fulfill that mission. General director and founder Andrew Bales and the hard-working trustees designed an operating model unlike that of most other symphonies. Whereas musical guidance is typically placed in the hands of a single resident conductor, SSV relies on the collective talents of the orchestra musicians, and invites guests to lead from its podium. This model offers an expanded range of musical choices to audiences for each concert. If listeners want contemporary, then the conductor can be a specialist. If Mozart or Beethoven or Brahms is the choice, then other conductors are selected to take the podium. For a program showcasing the tango, why not bring in the best from Buenos Aires? For every concert, the best to be had can be invited to shape the sound. This model is serving San Jose audiences well. Beyond performing SSV’s core classic series in the beautifully restored California Theatre, these musicians are part of the fabric of the community. Over 900,000 people have heard them perform live in its brief history. From its popular free summer pops series on the campus of San Jose State University, to opening an outdoor hockey game at Levi’s Stadium, to a record-setting run of Lord of the Rings at the Center for the Performing Arts, the Symphony is always performing somewhere. SSV was also the leader in forming ArtSPARK, a program designed to bring the county’s elementary school students to the theater for music, plays, and dance. To date, well over 100,000 students have attended these performances, which are all provided completely free, including busing. When Symphony Silicon Valley musicians are not on stage together, they are individually contributing to the region by teaching a new generation of players—or performing at your daughter’s wedding or mounting chamber music recitals or making The Nutcracker magical for new audiences. Musicians are anchor artists who serve the community in countless ways. Created to retain this vital resource for our costly region, Symphony Silicon Valley is privileged to employ an ensemble of outstanding artists, several of whom are showcased on the next few pages.
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