San Francisco Symphony Presents Three-Week Mahler Festival Sept. 16 - Oct. 3

Festival Artists Include Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and Baritone Thomas Hampson

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (July 15, 2009) - Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) celebrate the music of Gustav Mahler in a three-week festival September 16 – October 3 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco following the release of the final symphony in their Mahler recording project, Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from No. 10, on August 25. Highlights of the festival include Mahler’s Rückert Lieder with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1 and 5, Songs of a Wayfarer (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen) with baritone Thomas Hampson as part of MTT’s signature exploration into the composer’s evolution in a special program titled Origins and Legacies being filmed for the Orchestra's Keeping Score television series. Audio recordings of Susan Graham and Thomas Hampson’s performances will be captured for the SFS’s Grammy-Award winning Mahler recording cycle. Tickets for the Mahler Festival go on sale to the general public Friday, July 17 at 10:00 am.

Michael Tilson Thomas has distinguished himself as one of the world’s foremost Mahler interpreters through his and the Orchestra’s award-winning recordings and signature performances. In 1974, at the age of 29, MTT made his SFS debut conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 9. In 1995, his valedictory year as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra, he led the orchestra in a complete cycle of Mahler’s symphonies. In June 1998, he led the SFS and SFS Chorus in a 10-concert Mahler Celebration. Now entering his fifteenth season as Music Director, he and the SFS have formed an orchestral partnership acclaimed for their expertise in the music of Mahler as well as for innovation and artistic excellence.

For the Origins and Legacies concerts, MTT will delve into Mahler’s lesser-known music. MTT and the Orchestra will explore selections from Symphonies 3, 5 and 9 plus the Scherzo from Hans Rott’s Symphony in E major. Rott was Mahler’s contemporary and Mahler championed his music. In the third week of the festival the Orchestra will perform the SFS’s first performances of Giacinto Scelsi’s rarely heard Hymnos.

This festival shows off the many years of dedication MTT and the SFS’s have given to the music of Mahler and offers new insights and experiences to seasoned fans and newcomers alike.

Mahler Festival
Wednesday, September 16 at 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 17 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 19 at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 20 at 2:00 p.m.

Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano
San Francisco Symphony
Davies Symphony Hall 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

Mahler / Rückert Lieder
Mahler / Symphony No. 1 in D major

PRE-CONCERT TALKS: “Inside Music,” an informative talk free to all concert ticket holders, begins one hour prior to each concert. Doors open 15 minutes before

TICKETS: $35-$135; available through SFS Ticket Services at (415) 864-6000 or


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