The Sounds of San Francisco: July Highlights

One of the perks of living at Fulton 555 is its proximity to some of San Francisco’s top performing arts venues. Offering easy access to shows featuring everything from new, emerging bands to classical music and jazz, Hayes Valley is right at the center of the city’s vibrant cultural scene. Summer concerts and performances abound; here’s a short list of some standout events on the calendar.

San Francisco Symphony (201 Van Ness Avenue)

The venerable San Francisco Symphony is one of the city’s most established performing arts organizations. Founded in 1911, it has grown to include the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, founded in 1972, and the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, founded in 1981. The Symphony’s programming is primarily classical but also experimental and fresh. This summer’s lineup includes the US orchestral debut of West African songwriter and vocalist Angélique Kidjo, who will perform selections from her new album “Angélique Kidjo Sings” as well as from George Gershwin. The performance will also include the US premiere of work by Philip Glass. The next day on July 11, it’s back to the classics with “A Beethoven Celebration,” which will feature some of the great Romantic composer’s “firsts,” including his First Symphony.

SFJAZZ Center (201 Franklin Street)

SFJAZZ is a feast for the ears and the eyes. For starters, the center’s second floor houses three ceramic murals that create a cityscape and tell the story of jazz in America and in San Francisco’s legendary music venues like Jimbo’s Bop City. Jazz is alive and well at SFJAZZ, which offers a full calendar of performances, classes, and community events. On July 19, Freddy Cole pays tribute to his legendary older brother, Nat King Cole, with an evening of gems from the American Songbook. The following week on July 23, Mexican pop sensation Natalia Lafourcade will perform songs from her new album, Hasta La Raíz, which translates as “to the root.” The album is a direct result of Lafourcade’s travels throughout South America. The band Tinariwen, Tuareg rockers from Northern Africa who collaborated on their latest album with Josh Klinghoffer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, will take the stage on August 15. Known as “desert blues,” Tinariwen’s signature sound is a unique blend of Arabian, Berber, and African influences with a jolt of Western psychedelic rock thrown in for good measure.

Stern Grove (Sloat Boulevard)

Nestled inside an amphitheater ringed by eucalyptus, redwood, and fir trees, Stern Grove has been presenting live concerts free of charge every summer for 78 years. This summer’s lineup includes artists from around the world who work in a diverse array of musical genres. On July 5, the San Francisco Symphony presents Shara Worden, lead vocalist of My Brightest Diamond, performing selections from her band reinterpreted for an orchestra. On July 12, Hawaii’s top-selling female vocalist of all time, Amy Hānaiali‘i, will perform with the Stern Grove Festival Orchestra and Halau ‘o Keikiali‘i, a San Francisco-based Hawaiian cultural organization. On August 18, Brooklyn-based rapper Talib Kweli will be joined by Oakland native Zakiya Harris and her band Elephantine for an evening of hip-hop, Afro-beat, electronica, and soul. Harris is Chief Education Officer at Hack the Hood, an award-winning program designed to provide access to technology for low-income youth of color.