San Francisco Symphony Launches its own Social Network for Fans

The San Francisco Symphony today launched its own social network, making it the world’s first major orchestra to start its own online community website for music fans.

The new San Francisco Symphony social network is a place where musicians and music fans can meet each other, post profile information, add and view video, links, and photos, hear music and audio, start groups and discussion topics and add their own comments, post and share events, and organize their own events and music around a passion for classical music and the San Francisco Symphony. The site also offers backstage blog posts from musicians, staff and conductors, exclusive video and audio content, interviews, and live chats with musicians and guest artists. The social network is built on the Ning platform.

“The launch of the new San Francisco Symphony social network is key in our efforts to be a nexus for classical music and music-making, not just locally in the Bay Area but also globally in the online space,” said San Francisco Symphony Executive Director Brent Assink. “Media, and the way people use it, is changing at an accelerated rate, and we’re responding to the needs and interests of a very passionate and opinionated musical community. The San Francisco Symphony social network offers music lovers a way of communicating with each other, and with us, using a tool that’s fun and natural for the way people meet and share information now.”

The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) has been at the forefront of technologically-savvy arts organizations, using technology and multimedia to make classical music accessible to a wider audience. Its technology-related initiatives include the Keeping Score program, featuring a PBS television series already viewed by over 5 million Americans with new episodes premiering later this year; the Peabody Award-winning MTT Files national public radio program; and a groundbreaking website (www.keepingscore.org) that brings people inside the music and stories of composers through a unique and interactive online experience. In 2001, the Orchestra was one of the first to start its own record label, the Grammy award-winning SFS Media label. In 2002 it launched one of the most popular classical music websites for children, the award-winning SFSKids.com. The Orchestra maintains an active community of Facebook fans, a YouTube channel, and a frequently-updated Twitter profile. The SFS was a partner orchestra in the recently launched YouTube Symphony Orchestra led by SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, and its musicians were involved in screening and coaching YouTube Symphony Orchestra musicians.

Membership in the San Francisco Symphony social network is free and open to anyone over the age of 13. To join, simply go to http://community.sfsymphony.org and enter your email address and password. Anyone can browse and explore the social network without joining.

In fall 2006, Tilson Thomas and the SFS launched the national Keeping Score PBS television series and multimedia project. Keeping Score is the San Francisco Symphony’s national program designed to make classical music more accessible to people of all ages and musical backgrounds. The project is anchored by a national PBS television series already viewed by over 5 million Americans, with new episodes premiering later this year; the Peabody Award-winning MTT Files national public radio program; and a groundbreaking website that brings people inside the music and stories of composers through a unique and interactive online experience. Keeping Score also has an education program for K-12 schools to further teaching through the arts by integrating classical music into core subjects.

The San Francisco Symphony provides the most extensive education and community programs offered by any American orchestra today. In 1988, the Symphony established Adventures in Music (AIM), a free, comprehensive music education program that introduces every first- through fifth-grade child in the San Francisco Unified School District to music from around the world. The SFS also offers opportunities to hear and learn about great music through its programs Concerts for Kids, Music for Families, the internationally-acclaimed SFS Youth Orchestra, an instrument training program for middle and high school students, and annual free community concerts around the Bay Area.

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