The Rady Shell
The nearly complete Rady Shell on the waterfront in downtown San Diego. Courtesy of the symphony

The San Diego Symphony announced its inaugural season of concerts at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the new year-round outdoor venue on the waterfront downtown, will begin Aug. 6.

The symphony plans more than 40 concerts through November, including eight led by Music Director Rafael Payare. Selections will range from classical to Broadway, film, jazz, pop, Latin and classic rock.

“The orchestra, our wonderful guest artists, and I can’t wait to feel the connection of finally performing for a live audience again,” said Payare. “This is a place where the greatest artists in the world will want to perform for the one of the greatest audiences in the world.”

Opening night for the new venue will feature Payare conducting the symphony in the world premiere of Mason Bates’s Soundcheck in C Major, a commissioned work for orchestra and turntable; Aldemaro Romero’s Fuga con pajarillo; Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 1, featuring cellist Alisa Weilerstein; works by Gounod, Rossini, and Rodgers and Hammerstein featuring bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green; Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.

Among the highlights of the season at The Rady Shell:

  • Cellist Yo-Yo Ma will reunite with his partners in the popular “Goat Rodeo” recordings—Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Edgar Meyer on bass and Chris Thile on mandolin, joined by vocalist Aoife O’Donovan—in “Not Our First Goat Rodeo” on Aug. 22.
  • Stewart Copeland, legendary rock star, composer and founder of the Police, will make his debut with the symphony Aug. 27 in the world premiere of Police Deranged for Orchestra, an evening featuring Copeland on drums, vocalists, and the orchestra conducted by Edwin Outwater.
  • Singer songwriter and two-time Grammy Award winner Jason Mraz from San Diego will debut with the symphony on Sept. 26, performing songs such as The Remedy and Lucky, arranged specifically for orchestra.
  • Folk rock duo Indigo Girls will perform with the symphony on Oct. 10.

The symphony will move its fall season, which would normally take place at Copley Symphony Hall, into the shell, offering seven Masterworks programs, including seven concerts led by Payare.

Both single tickets and subscriptions packages are available. Full information is online at the

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.