By editor, 08/22/2017 - 11:51

New Music Director Andrew Sewell selects a diverse mix of popular classical selections, as well as contemporary classical and popular music for its 57th season

SAN LUIS OBISPO (CA) Love. Despair. Longing. Obsession. Joy. It’s all in the music of the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s Classics in the Cohan concert series at the Performing Arts Center beginning October 7, 2017. Opening Night begins a new era with Music Director Andrew Sewell programming and conducting an eclectic mix of timeless classical symphonies and concertos from Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn, contemporary classical pieces from Gershwin, Copland, Kern and Bernstein, as well as special selections and vocals that feature music from a video game composer that fashioned a classical Beatles medley, vocals from Metropolitan Opera baritone Jubilant Sykes and the first-ever harp solo featuring Grammy-nominated Yolanda Kondonassis.

“I am very excited to present the 2017/18 season for the San Luis Obispo Symphony, featuring an incredible line up of soloists and repertoire both standard and refreshingly new,” says Andrew Sewell. “There is something for everyone from Brahms and Dvorak to Gershwin, Bernstein and Charles Ives. We have interesting and challenging music that should put the Symphony through its paces. Each concert will be an entertaining and thrilling journey.”

This year, Maestro Sewell will be leading the concert lecture series, Symphonic Forays, at 7 p.m. in Harman Hall prior to the each Classics at 8:00 p.m. He will weave the story behind the composers and the music performed that evening and his approach to conducting each piece. The lecture is a fun and engaging way to learn more about the music. Lecture-goers must have a ticket to that evening’s Classics concert.


The Journey Begins l October 7, 2017 l 8:00 p.m.

Classics 1/Opening Night: Maestro Sewell kicks off his tenure and the season with the Aotearoa Overture by New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn. Aotearoa is the Maori name for the islands and the majestic pride of the piece sets the tone for the concert. Along with the dramatic Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 featuring Grammy nominee and Tchaikovsky Competition medalist Bion Tsang and Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73, you’ll enjoy Opening Night’s big, brave start to a new era in the history of your Symphony. Tickets: $20-80

An Americana Salute to Our Veteran’s l November 11, 2017 l 8:00 p.m.
Classics 2: Classics 2 is all Americana! Join us in saluting our veterans on Veteran’s Day with great American composers. Metropolitan Opera and Boston Pops baritone Jubilant Sykes sings Copland’s Simple Gifts from Old American Songs, the Spiritual Sometimes, I Feel Like a Motherless Child, Mozart’s "Non Piu Andrai" from The Marriage of Figaro and more. The Symphony kicks off with Gershwin’s popular An American in Paris and ends with Copland’s poignant Fanfare for the Common Man and a 100th birthday celebratory playing of Leonard Bernstein’s lively and emotional West Side Story Symphonic Dances. You’ll be singing, snapping your fingers and waving the flag throughout. Tickets: $20-80

Old and New World Classical Collide l February 3, 2018 l 8:00 p.m.
Classics 3: This concert features old world English and Latin variations. You’ll love the traditional German sound of Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor Overture and German composer Franz Josef Haydn’s last symphony, his Symphony No. 104 in D major “London.” Yolanda Kondonassis, the world’s most recorded and Grammy nominated harpist, tackles the striking and rhythmic Harp Concerto, Op. 25 by Alberto Ginastera, an Argentine composer considered one the most important contemporary classical composers and teacher in Latin America. Come hear post-modern yearning in this first-ever harp solo in the organization’s history. Tickets: $20-80

The Beatles and American Originals l March 10, 2018 l 8:00 p.m.
Classics 4: An evening to change way you think of classical music with virtuoso violinist Lindsay Deutsch who loves to mix pop, jazz, folk and rock in the classical style. She will play Beatles Fantasy for violin and orchestra by young Canadian classical and prolific video game composer Maxime Goulet. You’ll be delighted with Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band and blues-infused Fantasy on Porgy and Bess for violin and orchestra. The concert ends with the first, great American original composer Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 2. Leonard Bernstein called Ives the Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln of American music and often programmed his works. It’s a salute and mix of American hymn, folk and traditional patriotic music sure to inspire. Tickets: $20-80

The Bold and Beautiful l May 5, 2018 l 8:00 p.m.
Classics 5/Season Finale: The Symphony’s Season Finale features full, forceful and bold music from Beethoven and Berlioz, as well as the lilting melodies of Mozart. The music will have you swaying and perhaps nodding your head to the rhythms. The concert begins with Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Op. 84, written for a play, but scored by Beethoven in defiance to Napoleon naming himself Emperor. Virtuoso and popular pianist Orion Weiss returns to the Symphony to play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, a recognizable masterpiece. The Classics season ends with Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14. With two sets of timpani and big brass, the music expresses Berlioz’s experience of falling in love and then cascading into the depths of despair. The five movements will take you on a romantic and painstaking journey like no other. The concert is simply classical at its best and puts the orchestra through its paces for a grand finale. Tickets: $20-80

Tickets and Pricing
Subscription seats are on sale now and provide a substantial cost savings over single tickets. Single Tickets will go on sale September 1, 2017 at or by calling the box office at 805-756-4849. Single ticket prices for the 2017-18 Season are $20, $40, $70, $75, and $80. Full season subscriptions that include the five Classics in the Cohan concerts are priced from $88 to $374 with 12% off regular single-ticket price. The three-concert Chamber Series subscription is $92. New Years Eve POPS ticket prices range from $25 to $90. Subscription tickets are available for purchase by phone at 805-543-3533 or in person at 75 Higuera St., Ste. 160 until October 6, 2017.

About the San Luis Obispo Symphony
The San Luis Obispo Symphony in 1954 by a small group of 11 musicians called the Morro Bay Community Orchestra. The SLO Symphony was incorporated in 1961 and, in its 57-year history, has grown significantly to become a leading arts institution in the community with 70 orchestra members. The Symphony produces 12+ concerts per year in San Luis Obispo County and educates local youth through a large Youth Symphony program with six ensembles and music education programs that has 10 school-based programs, a Music Van that visits local schools and a Musical Petting Zoo that attends community events. The Symphony music education programs have touched more than 16,000 youth per year in it 54-year tenure.

In 2017-18, the San Luis Obispo Symphony welcomes its new music director Andrew Sewell who will program and conduct the Classics in the Cohan concert series, the New Years Eve POPS concert and its Chamber series. For further information, please visit


Concert programs and musicians are subject to change. Photos of Andrew Sewell and soloists available upon request.

# # #

Contact: Heather Hellman
             Marketing & Communications Director
            (805) 548-1585