San Francisco’s original music festival, Stern Grove Festival, announced its 75th Season of admission-free concerts, Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from June 24 through through August 26, 2012 at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19 Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco.
This landmark summer season features a mix of performers as diverse as the city it calls home. This summer’s 10-week concerts series features an array of pop and jazz music greats, including ANITA BAKER, SHEILA E, AL JARREAU, OK GO, OZOMATLI, PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND, MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO as well as the City’s three classical institutions—the SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY, BALLET AND OPERA. Stern Grove Festival is the only venue in the world where all three of these renowned cultural institutions perform every summer, completely admission-free.
June 24 – The Big Picnic Benefit and Concert
Starring Anita Baker The Family Stone and Glide Ensemble
Stern Grove Festival will inaugurate a new tradition–The Big Picnic, An Opening Day Benefit and Concert to launch the summer season. This special event begins with a benefit party followed by the admission-free concert featuring Anita Baker, The Family Stone, and Glide Ensemble. These three acts, well known for getting the audience out of their seats, will set the tone for a dynamic summer at Stern Grove Festival.
Glide Ensemble, a San Francisco institution, opens the concert with an inspiring blend of gospel, jazz, blues, pop, and soul. The Family Stone, featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and original founding members of Sly & The Family Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico, continues the soul-stirring music with their funk-infused sound. And to close the day, Stern Grove Festival is proud to present ANITA BAKER—multiple GRAMMY winner, composer, producer, and all-around superstar, this R&B legend is known for her hit-making sound and smooth vocals.
The performance is dedicated to the memory of Rosalie M. Stern, donor of Stern Grove to San Francisco and founder of the Stern Grove Festival Association. The Big Picnic is presented by Wells Fargo. Concert Sponsors are Sutter Health, Parkmerced, PG&E, Bvlgari, Northern Trust, AT&T, Recology, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.
July 1 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Stone Foxes
It is particularly fitting to have the acclaimed Preservation Hall Jazz Band return to Stern Grove Festival with the sounds of the Big Easy. Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been a significant part of Stern Grove Festival throughout the years and generations of San Franciscans have fond memories of their concerts. This summer’s performance will feature a special commissioned piece celebrating Stern Grove Festival’s 75th year.
Continuing the Bay Area connection for this concert, local San Francisco band The Stone Foxes open the afternoon with their roadhouse-ready blues and rock sound. Founded in 2005, the band’s gritty sound has won them fans throughout the Bay Area.
Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.
July 8 – San Francisco Symphony with Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas
and Members of the SFS Chorus
Stern Grove Festival is proud to present what promises to be an extraordinary performance with the San Francisco Symphony. For the first time in over ten years, SFS Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct a concert in the Grove, also featuring members of the SFS Chorus. The histories of Stern Grove Festival and the San Francisco Symphony have been linked since June 1932 when the Symphony performed the first-ever concert at the Grove. This summer’s program, part of the Symphony’s centennial season and marking Stern Grove’s 75th anniversary, will feature Beethoven’s timeless masterpiece, Symphony No. 9, among other works. To mark this milestone, KDFC Radio, 90.3 FM will broadcast this July 8 concert live, further underscoring how performances at Stern Grove Festival are accessible to everyone.
Today’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Rhoda H. Goldman, Festival Chair from 1968 to 1996. Concert sponsored by Sutter Health, Sonoma County Visitors Center, Galleria Park Hotel, and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.
July 15 – Nitin Sawhney and Meshell Ndegeocello
A producer, composer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist and all-around Renaissance man Nitin Sawhney brings cross-cultural cool to the Grove. One of the most talented and recognized producers and songwriters within the British electronic and fusion music scene, Nitin Sawhney is also a respected actor, writer, and scriptwriter.
Also performing is singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello with her eclectic blend of folk, jazz, hip-hop, funk, and rock. Since hitting the Billboard charts with a cover of “Wild Night” with John Mellencamp, Meshell has received ten GRAMMY nominations, performed around the world, and collaborated with artists ranging from Madonna and Basement Jaxx to The Blind Boys of Alabama.
Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.
July 22 – The E Family Featuring Pete, Sheila E, Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo
Featuring the first family of Bay Area Latin music, The E Family brings the beat in this one-of- a-kind performance featuring the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, The E Family Band with Pete, Juan, Peter Michael, and Sheila E, and a special performance by Sheila E.
Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.
July 29 – San Francisco Ballet
San Francisco Ballet returns to Stern Grove Festival with artists of the Company performing a selection of works from their current repertory. Renowned for its incomparable level of innovation and exuberance, San Francisco Ballet is one of the premier ballet companies in America.
Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo and Kabuki Springs and Spa.
August 5 – Ozomatli and SMOD
Latin alternative rockers Ozomatli return to Stern Grove Festival with their high-energy, danceable blend of hip-hop, rock, and modern Latin sounds. A Festival favorite, the group will also present a kid-friendly performance at KidStage at noon before the concert.
From Mali, the trio SMOD opens the afternoon with a hip-hop hybrid of West African vocal styles, old school rapping, and modern beats. Their debut album, produced and recorded with international star Manu Chao, was released in 2010 in France.
Concert Sponsor is AT&T and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Carlton. Media sponsor is SF Weekly.
August 12 – Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio and Mara Hruby
Re-creating a legendary San Francisco recording session, Al Jarreau and The George Duke Trio reunite for an afternoon of jazz classics.
Jarreau’s career started in San Francisco, where he performed with the George Duke Trio as the house band at the Half/Note jazz club, leading to the 1965 album, Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio- Live At The Half/Note. Since then, with fans worldwide, Jarreau has racked up seven GRAMMY nominations and scores of international music awards for his signature vocal stylings.
Born in San Rafael, George Duke was a mainstay on the 1960’s San Francisco jazz scene and studied at the Conservatory of Music. A respected musician, song-writer, music director, and producer, Duke has worked with greats like Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, and Dizzy Gillespie and contemporary R&B artists like Jeffrey Osbourne, Gladys Knight, and Anita Baker.
Opening the afternoon and rounding out the Bay Area focus of this concert is Oakland-based neo- soul singer Mara Hruby, a fast-rising star with a smooth, jazzy vocal sound and a singular style. After performing as a dancer and singer backing other Bay Area artists, she recently released her debut EP, From Her Eyes.
Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Galleria Park Hotel.
August 19 – San Francisco Opera
Stern Grove Festival is proud to welcome back the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The afternoon’s program features soprano Leah Crocetto, tenor Michael Fabiano, and more soloists performing a selection of operatic favorites.
Today’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Elise S. Haas, Festival Chair from 1956 to 1968. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.
August 26 – OK Go and The Family Crest
Known for their viral videos and quirky sound, alternative rockers OK Go close the 75th Season
in celebratory style. At the forefront of an emerging class of creative entrepreneurs making art in both digital and physical spaces, the GRAMMY-nominated group’s self-directed videos have been viewed over 150 million times on YouTube. Their most recent video, which debuted during the Super Bowl, received 200 million hits in less than 24 hours the next day.
San Francisco indie orchestral collective, The Family Crest, opens the afternoon with their fusion of rock, classical, folk, and jazz. Their debut LP, The Village, was pre-released at SXSW this year and will be released nationally this summer.
Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced, AT&T, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo.