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San Francisco Symphomaniacs 

When: May 16-19 2012
Price: $15-$140

Apparently, symphony orchestras can, and do, have East Coast-West Coast beefs, although they settle scores in a much tamer way than artists in other genres. Case in point: The San Francisco Symphomaniacs and the New York Philharmonic Penguins, two softball teams whose members' musculature comes from doing practice exercises and aggressively bowing the arpeggios in a Mahler symphony. There's no telling who will win this Sunday's grudge match at Jackson Playground (17th & Carolina sts., San Francisco), but hopefully they'll make amends in time for next week's series of concerts. The New York Philharmonic will tackle works by Romantic composers of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, including Bartók's first Violin Concerto, Debussy's "La Mer," and Ravel's "La Valse." Don't fret if painterly chord changes and unabashed prettiness isn't your thing -- San Francisco Symphony will offer an earthier, more-classical-sounding program on Wednesday, with a grand performance of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Even if the name isn't familiar, you'll recognize the motifs.  Yes, it's sexy to go to the symphony again. New York Philharmonic plays Sunday and Monday, May 13-14, at 8 p.m.; San Francisco Symphony plays Wednesday through Saturday, May 16-19. At Davies Symphony Hall (201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco). $15-$140, SFSymphony.org

— Rachel Swan

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