Citizen of the World, Member of the Symphony Family


three men playing trumpets

Dona Malan

Dona Malan

Dona Malan's childhood memories of music revolve around piano lessons, church services and vinyl records. Since her retirement and return to the Bay Area, Dona experiences dozens of live musical performances each year at Davies Symphony Hall. While she attends many concerts each season as an audience member, for the last 16 years, Dona has also been one of the Symphony's invaluable house ushers.

When asked why she is excited to come to work at the Hall, Dona eagerly responds, "For the music, for the people, for the whole Symphony family—musicians and staff."

She recalls a particular performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 that brought tears to her eyes and moved her to tell her supervisor, Horacio Rodriguez, "You don't need to pay me for tonight. It was just so beautiful."

Dona has been a longtime supporter of arts in the Bay Area, and for the Symphony in particular, she has been an annual fund donor for many years and also established a life-income gift called a charitable gift annuity. Dona chose the gift because the quarterly payments are helpful to her budget planning, and she likes the idea of the remainder going to the Symphony when she no longer needs it.

When not in the Hall, Dona travels extensively. She has visited all seven continents and more than 150 countries. Even as she crosses the world, the Symphony is on her mind! Dona managed to bring back a sistrum, an ancient Egyptian percussion instrument, from Ethiopia for Symphony percussionist Jacob Nissly.

The next time you're in the Hall, be sure to say hi to Dona. She'd be glad to share other travel tales or advise you on San Francisco's culinary offerings, including the City's best ice cream. Thank you, Dona!

Show Your Support for Musical Excellence
Learn how you can follow Dona's example and support the Symphony's future with an estate gift. Contact David Zhang, J.D. at 415-503-5445 or dzhang@sfsymphony.org to start a conversation today.