Press Room


Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 503-5474
[email protected]

Jan 20, 2022


Program includes Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5

SAN FRANCISCO, CA— Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt returns to lead the San Francisco Symphony in concerts at Davies Symphony Hall, February 3, 4 & 6. The program features Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

Written during the First World War in the summer of 1914, Carl Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony is the musical depiction of his vision of “The Inextinguishable.” With the title, Nielsen “endeavored to indicate in one word what music alone is capable of expressing to the full: The elemental Will of Life.” These words—and the music they offer to elucidate—reflect ideas that Nielsen carried with him and that nourished him all his life. During his time as Music Director, Herbert Blomstedt and the San Francisco Symphony recorded and released all six of Carl Nielsen’s symphonies on the Decca label.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which was first heard at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in December 1808, opens with what must be the most famous and recognizable four notes in Western music. The Fifth was a brand new kind of symphony, and Beethoven’s invention here of a path from strife to triumph became a model for symphonic writing to the present day. 

Born in the US to Swedish parents and educated in Uppsala, New York, Darmstadt, and Basel, Herbert Blomstedt gave his conducting debut in 1954 with the Stockholm Philharmonic and subsequently served as chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, the Swedish and Danish Radio orchestras, and the Staatskapelle Dresden. Later, he became music director of the San Francisco Symphony, chief conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra, and music director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. His former orchestras in San Francisco, Leipzig, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Dresden, as well as the Bamberg Symphony and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, all honored him with the title of Conductor Laureate. 

Maestro Blomstedt made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony in February 1984, in concerts that led immediately to his appointment as Music Director. In his decade at the Orchestra's helm, from September 1985 through the end of the 1994–95 season, he led the San Francisco Symphony to worldwide recognition. Together, Blomstedt and the Orchestra toured Europe, Asia, and the United States and presented concerts at such festivals as those of Salzburg, Edinburgh, and Lucerne. Their recordings on the London label have received some of the world's most important awards, including France's Grand Prix du Disque and Belgium's Caecilia Prize for Nielsen's Fourth and Fifth symphonies; Britain's Gramophone Award for Nielsen's Second and Third symphonies; Japan's Record Academy Award for Grieg's Peer Gynt; Grammy Awards for Carl Orff's Carmina burana and Johannes Brahms' A German Requiem (Best Choral Recordings), and Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra (Best Classical Engineered Recording); and the Prize of the German Record Critics for Best Recording of 1995 for Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2, also nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Classical Album. Read Herbert Blomstedt’s full biography.


Tickets for concerts at Davies Symphony can be purchased via or by calling the San Francisco Symphony Box Office at 415-864-6000.

Davies Symphony Hall is located at 201 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco.

Health & Safety Information 
Davies Symphony Hall is currently operating at full audience capacity. The San Francisco Symphony requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for everyone ages 12 and up entering Davies Symphony Hall—including patrons, performers, volunteers, and staff. Full vaccination is defined as completion of the two-dose regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine or other WHO authorized COVID-19 vaccine administered two weeks or more in advance of the concert. For those eligible, proof of a COVID-19 booster—received at least one week prior to each event—is required for entrance into Davies Symphony Hall beginning February 1. Audience members between the ages of 5 and 11 must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test (PCR test within 48 hours of the event, or antigen [rapid] test within 24 hours of the event). Audience members under age 5 must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR test within 48 hours of the event, or antigen [rapid] test within 24 hours of the event). Based on health and safety recommendations from the City and County of San Francisco and due to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, all patrons are required to wear a non-vented respirator, such as a N95, KN95, KF94, or equivalent face mask while inside Davies Symphony Hall. Details about health and safety protocols at Davies Symphony Hall can be found here

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