In a normal year, symphony orchestras would now be barreling into their season’s spring months. So it’s heartening to hear that the San Francisco Symphony has just announced an abbreviated season of live performances in May and June, inside Davies Symphony Hall. It consists of eight consecutive Thursday-Friday concerts; at this writing, the programs of the last five are still to be announced. The first, May 6 and 7, is a program for First Responders conducted by the orchestra’s music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, who’s chosen his favorite compositions for strings. The second program (May 13 and 14) focuses on the piano, with pianist Jeremy Denk performing and directing works by Bach, Mozart, the Black composer William Grant Still, and the British composer Gerald Finzi. May 20 and 21 welcome the young American conductor James Gaffigan to the podium, where it’s back to the string section. He’ll lead the orchestra in the U.S. premiere of Freya Waley-Cohen’s Talisman, commissioned by the Manchester Collective, along with Schoenberg’s wrenching string sextet Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) and Samuel Barber’s elegiac Adagio for Strings, Opus 11. —L.J.
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