San Francisco Symphony

A Legendary Hollywood Composer & Cello Virtuoso Unite

Composer Danny Elfman has been sweeping audiences off their feet in movie theaters for nearly 40 years, with unforgettable scores to blockbusters like Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Beetlejuice, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Now, the award-winning composer returns to one of his favorite platforms—the concert hall stage—with the US premiere of a work he wrote with a cello virtuoso and longtime fan in mind.

Though his name is most often seen gleaming in movie credits alongside the likes of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp (or under his chart-topping hits like Weird Science), Danny Elfman finds writing classical music liberating: “I like to write classical music just because I get frustrated writing film music sometimes,” admits Elfman. “I can’t really open myself up as much as I’d like to... Here, my desire was to let myself go. I don’t have to be deathly serious every moment, just because it’s a classical work.”

After his 2017 violin concerto Eleven Eleven, Elfman wasn’t planning to write another classical piece any time soon—that is, until he met cellist Gautier Capuçon. A big admirer of Elfman’s work, the cellist hoped to persuade him to give classical another go—with a cello concerto, of course. The two artists clicked, discovering like-minded love for music that moved them, by composers like Shostakovich, Dvořák, and Prokofiev. Elfman readily agreed to the ask, and the new project was a go.

The undertaking was exciting. “When I first got the score, I immediately recognized after the first notes, it’s his music,” Capuçon beams. “You’re immediately in the world of Danny Elfman. [He] is such an extraordinary musician, and yet so humble. And I think that’s the proof of the great artists.”

After a pandemic delay, Gautier Capuçon is thrilled to bring the work to the Davies Symphony Hall stage for its US premiere under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas: “I can’t wait to play this concerto in San Francisco, and to share it with Michael and the Symphony. It’s going to be really very special. We’ve been talking about this piece together with Michael for so many months and years.”

Read the full interview with Danny Elfman and Gautier Capuçon here.


From Our Friends at Stanford Live

Randall Goosby
Wed, Nov 30 at 7:30pm
Stanford Live’s Bing Concert Hall

A charismatic violinist who breathes life into the pieces he performs, Randall Goosby places an important emphasis on highlighting the music of under-represented composers. Goosby makes his Northern California solo debut at Bing Concert Hall in a recital featuring William Grant Still’s Suite for Violin and Piano, Ravel’s Violin Sonata No. 2, Lili Boulanger’s Deux Morceaux, and Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9 (Bridgetower Sonata).


Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

The San Francisco Symphony celebrates the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts for its work in promoting, preserving, and developing the cultural arts that reflect the living tradition and experiences of the Chicano, Central and South American, and Caribbean people.



Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

Box Office Hours
Mon–Fri: 10am–6pm, Sat: 12pm–6pm
Sun: 2 hours before concert

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