Donato Cabrera

Neighborhood: Twin Peaks
What do you love about your neighborhood? We moved here for the view, which is unparalleled.  But we quickly realized that we're also in the geographic center of these glorious 49 square miles and we appreciate the equal opportunity access to all the neighborhoods of our city.
Native or Transplant: A California native but I moved to San Francisco from New York City.
How long have you lived in SF: Eight years
Gig: Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony
SF is…home, but it is also a source of inspiration and renewal.

What's your favorite neighborhood to hang out in (other than your own)?

Glen Park. With restaurants like Tataki, grocery stores like Canyon Market, accessibility with the Bart stop, it's a wonderful, quiet alternative to other more frequented neighborhoods.

Where is your secret outdoor spot?

Pemberton Steps. Who needs a gym if you can walk up these suckers every day?

Where AND what would be your last meal here in SF?

I would have to say Bar Agricole. Thad Vogler has created an unique and wholly original restaurant/bar experience with Bar Agricole. And it is my opinion that any great meal, especially a last one, should be preceded by cocktail.

What restaurant have you been meaning to eat at, but haven't?

Frances. I still can't believe I haven't eaten here! It's practically within walking distance...

What is your go-­to drink spot?

Bar Agricole and Smuggler's Cove

"Dia de los Muertos. It is a celebration that brings me back to my heritage and reminds me of the origins of the city in a very moving way."

Where do you go to take in arts and culture?

When I'm not making art and culture for my fellow San Franciscans, you can find me at the de Young Museum.

What is your favorite spot to snap a photo?

Tank Hill Park. It's in my neighborhood and it offers wonderful, discreet views of downtown and also north toward the Golden Gate Bridge.

What's your favorite outdoor activity?

Cycling. If you can find the streets with less traffic, there are many beautiful rides in this city. I've always enjoyed cycling around Lake Merced. Also, the Presidio offers many beautiful routes.

What is the one celebration in the city you look forward to every year?

Dia de los Muertos. It is a celebration that brings me back to my heritage and reminds me of the origins of this city in a very moving way.

What is your favorite place in San Francisco to act like a tourist?

The Ferry Building. With places like Blue Bottle Coffee, Boulette's Larder, Slanted Door, and the Farmer's Market on the weekend, I happily join the masses!


Donato Cabrera is the San Francisco Symphony Resident Conductor and Wattis Foundation Music Director of the SFS Youth Orchestra. He works closely with SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and frequently conducts the San Francisco Symphony throughout the year. In Summer 2012 Mr. Cabrera led the SFS Youth Orchestra on an acclaimed tour of Europe, including performances at the Berlin Philharmonie and the Rheingau Music Festival. In March 2012, he conducted the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, with Paul Jacobs on organ, in the world premiere of Mason Bates’ Mass Transmission, subsequently conducting it with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City in Carnegie Hall for the American Mavericks Festival. A co-founder of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Mr. Cabrera returned to conduct them in September 2012 in the world premiere of the all-live version of Steve Reich’s WTC 9/11 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City.

From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Cabrera was Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Opera, where he prepared the cast and conducted the first rehearsals for the world premiere of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, which was captured in the acclaimed documentary, Wonders Are Many. In December 2009, he made his debut with the San Francisco Ballet, conducting performances of
The Nutcracker, which makes Mr. Cabrera one of just a handful of conductors who have conducted performances at the San Francisco Ballet, Opera, and Symphony. Mr. Cabrera has been recognized as a Luminary by the Friends of Mexico Honorary Committee for his contributions to the Bay Area’s Mexican community.