Featured artists include The San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Youth Orchestra, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán,
Los Lupeños de San José and Tony nominee Luis Valdez, founder of Teatro Campesino

On Saturday, November 3 at 2:00 pm, the San Francisco Symphony(SFS) and VivaFest! co-present a cultural collaboration to celebrate Mexican heritage and community with music and festivities for all ages at the San Francisco Symphony’s fifth annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Community Concertheld at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. The program joins the SFS Chorus and SFS Youth Orchestra with the renowned Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlánfrom Jalisco, Mexico, ballet folklorico Los Lupeños de San José, and Luis Valdez, the father of Chicano theater in the United States. Mr. Valdez will be presenting a narration of poetry and prose in English, Spanish, and Nahuatl, the indigenous language of the Aztecs. Conducted by SFS Resident Conductor Donato Cabrera, this matinee concert is designed for the entire family to enjoy. Beginning at 1:00 pm, an hour before the performance, ticketholders will enjoy a host of pre-concert festivities, refreshments, and colorful displays celebrating Día de los Muertos in the Davies Symphony Hall lobby. In a new collaboration this year, the fifth annual Día de los Muertos Community Concert is co-presented with VivaFest!, a festival program of the Mexican Heritage Corporation. The Día de los Muertos Community Concert is presented in partnership with the Mexican Consulate and with support provided by the San Francisco Arts Commission. The San Francisco Symphony offers half-price tickets to this concert for those aged 17 and under.


San Francisco Symphony Resident Conductor Donato Cabreraworks closely with SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and as Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra leads them in all concerts and tours, including their summer 2012 six-concert tour to Europe. Cabrera made his San Francisco Symphony debut in April 2009. Before thatfrom 2005 to 2008 was Associate Conductor of San Francisco Opera. He has also served as Assistant Conductor at the Ravinia, Spoleto (Italy), and Aspen Music Festivals, and as Resident Conductor at the Music Academy of the West. He made his South American debut in the summer of 2008 conducting Madama Butterfly with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción in Chile and returns regularly to conduct both symphonic and operatic repertoire. In February 2010, Cabrera was recognized as a Luminary by the Friends of Mexico Honorary Committee, a group led by San Francisco’s Consul General of Mexico Carlos Félix dedicated to celebrating Mexico’s bicentennial in San Francisco. Cabrera was honored for his contributions to promoting and developing the presence of the Mexican community in the Bay Area.

Luis Valdez will narrate and emcee the San Francisco Symphony’s Día de los Muertos Community Concert on November 3. He founded the internationally renowned,Obie award winning theater company El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers’ Theater) in 1965 during the United Farm Workers struggle and the Great Delano Grape Strike in California’s Central Valley, led by Cesar Chavez. Valdez was the first Latino playwright to have a work presented on Broadway (Zoot Suit), and his many feature film and television credits include the films La Bamba, Cisco Kid starring Jimmy Smits and Cheech Marin, and Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution starring Linda Ronstadt. He has written numerous plays, articles and books. His latest anthology is Mummified Deer and Other Plays, published by Arte Publico Press. He has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and was one of the founding professors of CSU Monterey Bay. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from, among others, the University of Rhode Island, the University of South Florida, Cal Arts, the University of Santa Clara, and his alma mater, San Jose State University. Valdez was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. In 2007 he was awarded a Rockefeller fellowship and he has won many awards including LA Drama Critic Awards, Dramalogue Awards, Bay Area Critics Awards, the George Peabody Award for excellence in television, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the Governor’s Award for the California Arts Council, and Mexico’s prestigious Aguila Azteca Award given to individuals whose work promotes cultural excellence and exchange between US and Mexico. El Teatro Campesino is located 60 miles south of San Jose in the rural community of San Juan Bautista and is the longest running Chicano Theater in the United States.

At the Día de los Muertos Community Concert Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán will perform a selection of popular mariachi songs including El Son del Gavilan, El Son de La Negra, and El Pasajero, for which the Los Lupeños de San José dancers will join them on stage.Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán was founded in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in 1965 by brothers Pepe and Fernando Martinez. The ensemble made numerous recordings in the late 1960’s and 70’s and has toured internationally ever since. Since 1998 it has been led by Fernando Martinez’s sons Fernando, Angel, Alejandro, and Carlos, who carry on the group’s national and international reputation as the “best mariachi in Jalisco.” In recent years, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán has added new musicians, including harp and a third trumpet, performed new musical arrangements by Carlos Martinez, and released 10 recordings. Since 2002 Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán has participated in Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charrería in Guadalajara as one of the featured mariachis and participated in gala performances that are the centerpiece of the festival. The group has performed as ambassadors for mariachi music in South America, South Korea, and throughout the U.S.

In the first half of the Día de los Muertos Community Concert the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra(SFSYO) will perform Mexican favorite Huapango by José Pablo Moncayo (1912-1958) and Aaron Copland’s (1900-1990) El Salón México. The work is a symphony in one movement conveying a musical depiction of a dance hall in Mexico City and references four Mexican folk songs, El Palo Verde,La Jesusita,El Mosco, and El Malacate. Copland completed the work in 1936 and the Mexico Symphony Orchestra gave the premiere performance. Founded in 1981, the SFSYO is recognized throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as one of the finest youth orchestras in the world. SFSYO’s purpose is to provide a tuition-free orchestral experience of pre-professional caliber to young musicians from the greater Bay Area. The SFSYO rehearses and performs in Davies Symphony Hall under the direction of Wattis Foundation Music Director Donato Cabrera. In June-July 2012, the SFSYO embarked on its ninth international tour, returning to Europe for the eighth time to perform at the Berlin Philharmonie, the Munich Philharmonie, the International Festival d’Echternach in Luxembourg, the Rheingau Festival in Wiesbaden, and in Regensburg and Salzburg.

One of America’s most distinguished choruses, the 150-member San Francisco Symphony Chorus is prized for its precision, power, and versatility. Led by Chorus Director Ragnar Bohlin, the Chorus performs more than twenty concerts each season and is comprised of 30 professional and 120 volunteer members. At the fifth annual Día de los Muertos Community Concert the San Francisco Symphony Chorus will perform selections from Argentine composer Ariel Ramírez’s (1921-2010) most famous work, Misa Criolla, a mass written in 1964, in the second half of the concert. The Washington Post described Misa Criolla as “a stunning artistic achievement, combining text in Spanish with indigenous instruments and rhythms”.
Folkloric dance ensemble Los Lupeños de San José, based in San Jose, California, promote the awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the rich and passionate culture of Mexico through dance. Los Lupeños perform a varied repertoire from master teachers on both sides of the border. The award-winning company has toured throughout the United States, most notably as part of Linda Ronstadt’s “Canciones de Mi Padre” tour, and celebrates its 43rd anniversary in 2012. They will accompany Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlánon stage at Davies Symphony Hall for performances of El Son del Gavilan, El Son de La Negra, and El Pasajero. This is Los Lupeños first time performing at the San Francisco Symphony.

Circulo Cultural is a Redwood City-based organization that promotes the art and culture of the Hispanic world within the Latino Community through theater, visual, and literary art. This year marks their third time participating at the San Francisco Symphony’s Día de los Muertos Community Concert.

Pre-Concert Festivities

Beginning at 1:00pm on Saturday, November 3, the Mixcoatl Anahuac Aztec dancers perform a welcome to all concertgoers in front of the Grove Street Box Office entrance to Davies Symphony Hall. Once inside, performers from Circulo Cultural will roam the lobby costumed as Catrines and Catrinas in Day of the Dead-themed face paint and costumes to welcome everyone. The Community Music Center’s two senior choirs, Solera Singers and 30th Street Chorus, will perform songs from Mexican and Latin American folk repertoire in the Davies Symphony Hall lobbies. Danniel Martínez’s larger than life Catrina sculptures welcome audiences to the celebration and invite everyone to enter a village of paper-mache skeletons on the first tier. Bay Area artist Victoria Canby will create a 3-D life-size reproduction of painter Frida Kalho wearing clothing adorned with images of famous artists and musicians honoring the creativity of the past. Rene Yáñez of SOMArts Cultural Gallery will present a tableaux of multiple Frida Kahlos as a photo opportunity for audience members. Artists Aiko Cuneo, the father-daughter team Anais Azul & Adrián Arias, and Casa Bonampak are each creating Day of the Dead-themed altars and experiences for concertgoers to engage in throughout the lobbies. The Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, in collaboration with San Francisco International High School and the RebelARTE Latinos Unidos Club, will create elaborate kites to commemorate and communicate with loved ones who have passed away, a tradition celebrated in the cemeteries of Guatemala. The Community Music Center will install an altar with a musical theme created by students from the Buena-Vista Horace Mann School in San Francisco. Audiences will also enjoy artwork created especially for the Symphony’s celebration by Oaxacan street artists LaPiztola.

Bilingual activities for children will include paper flower making, face painting, and a photo booth with Day of the Dead props coordinated by Elena Finestone. Mexican sugar skull artists Irma Ortiz and Rob-Owill give a sugar skull-making demonstration and both of their sugar skulls, hers traditionally sized and his oversized, will be on display and offered for sale. Spanglish Arteart gallery and store will have a pop-up presence at the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall featuring Day of the Dead jewelry, home décor, crafts, and folk art. Complimentary Day of the Day bread—pan de muerto—baked by the Wills Bay Bakery will be served along with cinnamon-infused Mexican hot chocolate.

The Día de los Muertos Community Concert is part of the San Francisco Symphony’s ongoing commitment to providing compelling musical experiences for families from all of the Bay Area’s diverse communities. The San Francisco Symphony’s Music for Familiesseries offers matinee performances focusing on different aspects of the orchestra and symphonic repertoire. Specially designed to be engaging, informative and fun, these matinee concerts introduce children and families to the world of live orchestral music.


Día de los Muertos Community Concert Co-Presenter The Mexican Heritage Corporationis the presenter of VivaFest!, Northern California’s leading Latino cultural destination event now in its twenty-first year. With a mission to affirm, celebrate and preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Mexican community and showcase multicultural arts within the region and nationally, the Mexican Heritage Corporation presents and produces a vibrant array of multi-disciplinary arts programs in theatre, dance, , music education, and in visual arts. Vivafest!’s Creative Director Dan Guerrero was instrumental in curating this year’s Día de los Muertos Community Concert with the San Francisco Symphony. Visit www.mhcviva.orgor www.vivafest.orgfor more information about their work and offerings.

In a move to encourage innovative community partnership, the Tom Kat Charitable Trust is an underwriter of the program and has donated a block of tickets to the Día de los Muertos Community Concert to the Good Samaritan Family Resource Centerto sell as a fundraiser through Eventbrite. Good Samaritan was established in 1894 as a settlement house, a movement that created the basis of the family resource center model and inspires change for good by helping immigrant children, youth, and their families access essential life skills that reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency. Good Samaritan’s vision is that every child can succeed in life and that they deserve the chance. To learn more about Good Samaritan and its programs visit

Community Music Center(CMC) makes high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of their financial status. Founded in 1921, CMC is the Bay Area’s oldest community arts organization and San Francisco’s largest provider of free and low-cost music classes and concerts. During the last school year, nearly 2,400 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels enrolled in CMC programs and over 18,500 people enjoyed musical performances at no or low cost. Learn more

The Consulate General of Mexico in San Franciscois committed not only to protect and assist all Mexicans in Northern California, but also to serve as the voice of Mexico, its culture and its traditions. The Mexican Consulate organizes multiple cultural activities throughout the year and partners with various organizations in the Bay Area, in order to continue strengthening its alliances and sharing the cultural richness of Mexico with Mexicans and friends of Mexico. To learn about all its activities visit

The Symphony’s Community Partner Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts(MCCLA) was established in 1977 by artists and community activists with a shared vision to promote, preserve and develop the Latino cultural arts that reflect the living tradition and experiences of the Chicano, Mexican, Central and South American, and the Caribbean people. The MCCLA makes the arts accessible as an essential element to the community’s development and well-being. This year on October 6, 20 & 27 from 11:00am – 1:30 pm, the Mission Cultural Center will offer community art workshops with renowned Bay Area artist Victor Zaballa to create an installation for the lobby at the Día de los Muertos Community Concert in their studio located at 2868 Mission Street in the heart of the Mission district of San Francisco. For more information on the MCCLA visit

On Sunday, October 28 The Mexican Museumin Fort Mason Center will offer free interactive Day of the Dead activities for families lead by artist Victor Zaballa as a build-up to the San Francisco Symphony’s Día de los Muertos Community Concert. The Mexican Museum, initially located in San Francisco’s Mission District, was founded in 1975 by San Francisco resident and artist Peter Rodríguez. The Museum was the realization of Mr. Rodríguez’s vision that an institution be created in the United States to exhibit the aesthetic expression of the Mexican and Mexican-American people. Today, it has expanded to reflect the evolving scope of the Mexican, Chicano, and Latino experience. In 1982, the Museum moved to Fort Mason Center where it has amassed a permanent collection of over 12,000 objects. The collection includes pre-conquest, colonial, popular, modern and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Chicano Art. The Mexican Museum voices the complexity and richness of Latino art throughout the Americas, encouraging dialogue among the broadest public

SOMArts Cultural Center presents its 2012 Day of the Dead exhibit Calling on the Spirits to Face the Future: Dia de los Muertos 2012, curated by René and Rio Yañez, from October 13 through November 10 at 934 Brannan Street. Calling on the Spirits to Face the Future features altars and installations created by more than 80 artists from a wide breadth of cultural backgrounds. The opening celebration on Friday, October 12 from 6 pm to 9 pm features live music and painting, interactive installations, Frida Kahlo themed performances, and an artists’ market. Additional events include Gathering the Embers: A Día de los Muertos Tribute show on Saturday, October 20 from 7:30 – 9:30 pm and a “Neighborhoods of Mexico City” concert by the adventurous chamber music group The Bernal Hill Players on Saturday, October 27 at 8:00 pm. For more information, visit

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