California Symphony Orchestra

  • CA

About Us

The California Symphony is distinguished for its concert programs that combine classics alongside American repertoire and lesser-known works, its pioneering Young American Composer in Residence program, its nationally recognized education programs, and for bringing music to people in new and unconventional settings. The orchestra is comprised of musicians who have performed with the orchestras of the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, and others. A lot of arts organization talk about cultivating new and younger audiences; we are actually doing it.

California Symphony has launched the careers of some of today’s most-performed composers and soloists, including violinist Sarah Chang, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and composers such as Mason Bates, Christopher Theofanidis, and Kevin Puts. The orchestra has recently expanded its regional base in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with performances at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center’s Lincoln Theater in Yountville, the Concord Pavilion in Concord and with Postmodern Jukebox and Cirque de la Symphonie in Oakland, all in addition to performing at its home at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, where it performs five concert programs throughout the year, some with repeated performances. 

California Symphony Music Director Donato Cabrera has been the Music Director and Conductor for the California Symphony since 2013. He was also Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2009 to July 2016, when he stepped down to pursue a thriving international conducting career. In 2014, Cabrera was appointed Music Director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra, and from 2013 to 2015 he served as Music Director of the New Hampshire Music Festival. 

The mission of the California Symphony, led by Music Director Donato Cabrera, is to enhance the lives of those it serves in Contra Costa County and the extended San Francisco Bay Area by performing the full range of orchestral repertoire of the highest quality with special attention to the work of American composers, presenting talented young performers in their first professional concert appearances, featuring performances by world class artists, and providing education outreach programs for the children and adults of our community.

Founded in 1986 under founding Music Director Barry Jekowsky, our vision is to become a 21st-century orchestra, making classical music relevant to those we serve, bringing in new audiences along the way, and ultimately more fully living up to our name across the state of California.