Saturday, March 29, 2008


San Francisco Symphony told me last September that a redesign of their web site was in the works. It is finally on line, and a vast improvement it is: better layout, better typography, much prettier, and best of all, much, much easier to navigate.

I would take issue with the amount of orange on white print, and somehow the search box has gone missing. Well, it didn't always work right. I remember searching on "Thomas" and getting two results. Maybe a new, improved search box is in the works.


Henry Holland said...

Yes, that's a big improvement, so much less clutter. It kind of reminds me of the Boston Symphony's layout. Why didn't they have this ready before the 08-09 season announcement?

Lisa Hirsch said...

That is a very good question. My bet is that it turned out to be a lot more work than anticipated, and also that they tested the site very, very thoroughly.

anzu said...

Hi from an occasional troller. I kvetched about my wish list for their website redesign recently and one of my requests was a searchable archive of their performances. I haven't checked out their new design, but they now have a ridiculous concierge service that "helps" you select concerts based on 5 moods (b/c there are only 5 possible moods that all of classical music can be categorized into), which is great, but there is no archive that one can search, to see if they performed such-and-such-a-piece, which would be far more helpful. Where do I go to find out if SF Symphony has ever performed such-and-such-a piece? Why San Francisco Classical Voice! Really ought to charge them for this extra service, I swear.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The Classical Concierge has been available for the last year or something - it was just lots harder to see on the old web site!!!

I agree with you that such an archive would be fabulous to have. A couple of opera companies have them - San Francisco and the Met - but I am unaware of an orchestra with such an online archive. Partly, it's a huge task to develop such a database from scratch. SFS goes back nearly 100 years; at present they perform 35 or more programs per year with many soloists and guests conductors, amounting to scores of individual works.

They do have some records, and they will do research for members of the press. I think it would take a grant to fund such an archive, though.

anzu said...

Oh, I meant a much more recent database, far less ambitious in scope. I'd be happy with the last 5 years (even past 2 or 3). Then by the time 10 years rolls around, they'd have 12 years of archived performances. Usually if I'm searching for a performance, it's one within the past 2 or 3 years. Well, in the meantime, I'll continue to use SFCV as my default SF Symphony search engine!

anzu said...

Oops. I meant roll. Ten years roll around.

Anonymous said...

SFS program notes always identify the orchestra's first performance of a piece and its most recent previous performance. I'd love it if they could somehow get all that information online.

I like the redesign, but it made my previous bookmark lead to a dead end. For a couple days I thought they were down.