San Luis Obispo Symphony celebrates its 62nd season

Wednesday, January 31st, 2024

SLO Symphony opening concerts

Experience something new with every concert

—Now in its 62nd season, the San Luis Obispo Symphony continues to inspire and educate locals as well as visitors to the area. Incorporated in 1961, the mission of the SLO Symphony is to “support an outstanding community orchestra, to foster symphonic and chamber music education, and to contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of the central coast community.”

Whether a first-time attendee or a seasoned concert-goer, there is always something new and exciting with each SLO Symphony performance. And, with a season that runs October through May, there is still time to make plans to attend unique concerts in 2024.

“You experience something new every time you attend a SLO Symphony concert, especially this season,” SLO Symphony Executive Director Rachel Cementina Sabalboro said. “Our guests will see a lot of newer pieces on the program alongside traditional, classic, powerful pieces.”

Maestro Andrew Sewell

Now in his seventh season as the music director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Maestro Andrew Sewell has an extensive resume that includes tenures and performances across the globe. A native of New Zealand, he holds a Master of Music degree with Honors in Conducting from the University of Michigan.

“He is very engaging when he’s on stage, and very professional as well,” Sabalboro said. “Our patrons and concert-goers appreciate Maestro Andrew Sewell’s creative programming. There is a definite variety in the pieces he selects, and he is not afraid to have our orchestra play newly commissioned pieces.”

No Ties Allowed dress rehearsals

Fun, casual, family-friendly, and free, the No Ties Allowed dress rehearsals take place at 11 a.m. at the Performing Arts Center on the day of each concert. Perfect for music lovers of all ages, this is a unique opportunity to see Music Director Andrew Sewell lead the orchestra in rehearsal.

“No Ties Allowed removes any barriers to attending our performances,” Sabalboro said. “It’s the perfect chance for parents to bring their children and introduce them to symphonic music, what it’s like to be in the Performing Arts Center, and visit the Instrument Petting Zoo set up in the lobby. Because it takes place during the day, it’s convenient for families and people of all ages, including those that may not want to drive at night.”

SLO Symphony youth orchestra

Symphonic Forays provide audience engagement

Symphonic Forays, included with each concert ticket, allow guests the opportunity to attend an engaging discussion with Maestro Andrew Sewell. Special guests may include a guest soloist or composer.

“This is an opportunity to learn more about the music being played, and includes time for questions and answers from the audience,” Sabalboro said. “You are able to learn about the inspiration behind certain pieces, and perhaps how challenging they were to learn.”

Upcoming Saturday concerts

  • February 23, 2024, 7:30 p.m.: The Classics III A Grand Occasion concert features solo trumpeter Andrew Balio performing Arutunian’s Trumpet Concerto, and Grammy Nominated Artist and Composer Patrice Rushen’s sharing her rendition of the iconic Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory. The Youth Symphony, performing alongside the orchestra, concludes the event with Brahms’ Symphony No.1 in C minor All three pieces feature exciting components, according to Sabalboro.
  • March 2, 2024, 7:30 p.m.: This program features Arroyo Grande resident and violin virtuoso Gilles Apap performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, and Bartok’s Violin Rhapsody No.1. “It’s terrific to have a soloist of Gilles Apap’s caliber in our own backyard,” Sabalboro said. “He’s local, well-known, and a true community member, so this is exciting for us.”
  • May 4, 2024, 7:30 p.m.: The season finale features soloist Salome Jordania performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 and Saint Saens’ mighty Organ Symphony featuring the Forbes organ, played by Paul Woodring. “It’s always a treat when we get to hear the Forbes pipe organ being played at the Performing Arts Center,” Sabalboro said. “There are always a few extra surprises with our finale. This concert will include two premiere works by two local composers, Meredith Brammeier and Stephan Podell.”

Sponsors make music accessible and affordable

Without sponsors, the SLO Symphony would not be able to offer affordable programs and concerts to families in the community.

“The sponsors are vital to our programs,” Sabalboro said. “With our Youth Symphony, scholarships made possible by our donors and sponsors enable many of our students to participate at a reduced cost.”

The same holds true for No Ties Allowed events, the Instrument Petting Zoo, and Strings in Schools. Sponsors make these opportunities happen.

“We are trying to make our programs accessible for everyone, and that starts with our music education,” Sabalboro said. “In reality, we wouldn’t be able to listen to adults playing music if they didn’t start as children. We offer lessons, instrument rentals, and more.”

For tickets, and more information about concerts, programs and sponsorship opportunities visit or call (805) 356-1438.

— Meagan Friberg


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