Hey, it turns out San Jose isn’t such a bad brand after all


San Jose, once considered America’s most forgettable big city, is making a comeback as a brand.

Symphony Silicon Valley has announced that it is abandoning “Silicon Valley” and becoming Symphony San Jose. And that follows the Silicon Valley Organization’s retro-transformation in August at the San Jose Chamber of Commerce.

Are they not worried that no one will know where San José is? Will we have a bunch of lost Costa Rican tourists walking around Plaza de Cesar Chavez?

The cover of Symphony San Jose’s season opening concert program shows the name of the performing orchestra of Symphony Silicon Valley. (Courtesy Symphonie San José)

Perhaps that was the thought a quarter of a century ago when San José’s long-standing institutions began to abandon the city’s name in favor of the flashier “Silicon Valley”. The ballet went from the Cleveland San Jose Ballet to the Ballet San Jose / Silicon Valley to the Silicon Valley Ballet before closing in 2016. The chamber underwent a similar makeover as Silicon Valley ousted San Jose until it closed. be deleted in 2017.

At least Dionne Warwick never re-recorded the song as “Do you know the way to Silicon Valley?” There is no rhyme in this. What about the sharks of Silicon Valley? Difficult pass, thank you.

But in 2018, after years of flirting with the idea of ​​installing Silicon Valley at its airport or convention center, the city leaned heavily on its own identity, commissioning a logo so cool that San Josean Jake McCluskey had it tattooed on his leg. Google announced plans for San Jose, BART came to San Jose, and San Jose even retained its seemingly tenuous ranking as the nation’s 10th largest city when the census figures came out.

Symphony President Andrew Bales told me he had long wanted to give San Jose its name back, but had a practical reason to keep it as “Silicon Valley” for the first 19 seasons: he didn’t want the company to be confused with the San Jose Symphony, which went into free fall and bankruptcy in 2001.

I wouldn’t worry about Silicon Valley. He’s managed to do quite well as a name over the past 50 years, and with all the arrows pointed at “Silicon Valley” from every corner, being from old San Jose doesn’t sound so bad now.

Yes, it’s true that even this news organization took San Jose off its nameplate in 2016. But you never know what the future holds, right?

THE NEW HOUSE OF CHAMBER SOCIETY: It’s been a nomadic few years for the San Jose Chamber Music Society, which hosted their concerts at the downtown Trianon Theater before that venue was sold and closed in 2019. Then it moved to the state of San Jose – but the group was unsure if or when the campus music hall would be available for concerts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enter St. Francis Episcopal Church in Willow Glen. Over the past two years, its rector, the Reverend Maly Hughes, and music director Michael Burroughs have reconfigured the church at 1205 Pine Ave. Bechstein concert grand piano.

So this is where the Chamber Music Society will open its 35th season on October 9 with the famous Auryn Quartet from Germany, which has already performed in San José seven times and made sure the city was in its prime. last American tour. The concert opens at 7 p.m. – proof of vaccination and face masks are required – and you can get tickets and other information about the season at sjchambermusic.org.

NIGHT OF THE ARTS: The San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs and its Arts Commission will honor the city’s creative leaders at the annual Cornerstone of the Arts Awards on October 8 at the Hammer Theater Center. Participation in the event is limited, but it will also stream on the City of San Jose YouTube channel.

Symphony President and CEO Andrew Bales, who announced his retirement this season, will receive the Cornerstone of the Arts Award, previously won by festival producer Bruce Labadie, former Mayor Susan Hammer, founder of Opera San Jose Irene Dalis and the philanthropists Carmen and Alcario Castellano. It will also be presented posthumously to Dr Jerry Hiura, a Japantown dentist who died in 2019 and who was instrumental in founding or supporting several artistic groups, including Contemporary Asian Theater Scene and Chopsticks Alley Art.

The Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute, a one-year training program based at the Mexican Heritage Plaza School of Arts and Culture, will receive the Creative Impact Award. How big was this impact? Since its founding in 2008, nearly 120 artists have completed the program, of which 24 are now in director positions and 22 are working as small business owners.


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