Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony Announce 2010-2011 Season

Orchestra’s 99th Season Offers Trademark Mix of Engaging and Adventurous Programs, Award-Winning Media Projects, International Touring, and Community and Education Initiatives

Season Includes World-Premiere SFS Commissions by Avner Dorman and Rufus Wainwright

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) today announced programs and details of the San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) 2010-11 season. Engaging local and global audiences with its exciting and innovative brand of music-making, the Orchestra’s 99th season features its trademark blend of adventurous programs, residencies by acclaimed artists and composers, international tours of Europe’s most prestigious festivals and musical capitals, and reaching new audiences with award-winning media and education projects.

The Orchestra’s 2010-11 Project San Francisco composer and artist residencies celebrate the work of composer John Adams and pianist Yuja Wang in a variety of performances and educational settings. The Orchestra will celebrate the 2010-11 Gustav Mahler anniversaries in performances both at home and abroad, on PBS Television through a new season of Keeping Score, and on disc in the final release of its Grammy Award-winning Mahler cycle. Highlights of the SF Symphony’s 99th season also include two European tours, with residencies at the Lucerne Festival and a rare four-concert appearance in Vienna; two world-premiere commissions and 18 SFS premieres; and a 33-week season of exciting programming reaching audiences in new and creative ways. Continuing one of the orchestral scene’s most successful and inspired artistic partnerships, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony in seventeen weeks of concerts at home and abroad, in programs pairing works of the core classical repertoire with works new to or rarely heard by Davies Symphony Hall audiences.

Subscription ticket packages for the San Francisco Symphony’s 2010-11 season go on sale to renewing subscribers and the general public starting today, Monday, March 1, at 10 a.m. Ticket information is available through the San Francisco Symphony Web site at www.sfsymphony.org, through the SFS Patron Services Office at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall box office, on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco.

For two weeks in December 2010, Project San Francisco spotlights the work of renowned American composer and Bay Area resident John Adams, continuing his strong relationship with the Orchestra that innovated the composer-in-residence model with his appointment nearly three decades ago. Project San Francisco will present two of John Adams’ SFS commissions and an all-Adams chamber music concert featuring members of the SFS. As Phyllis C. Wattis Composer-in-Residence, Adams will conduct the Orchestra in his San Francisco Symphony commission El Niño, a multilingual retelling of the Nativity story composed for the celebration of the millennium, at Davies Symphony Hall December 2-4. These concerts will feature sopranos Dawn Upshaw and Jessica Rivera, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, countertenors Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings, and Steven Rickards, bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu, and the Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus. The San Francisco Girls Chorus also performs. The SFS performed the 2001 U.S. premiere of El Niño, which it co-commissioned, in a staged performance under the baton of Kent Nagano.

During the second week of Adams’ Project San Francisco residency, December 8-11, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas will lead the Orchestra in Adams ’ 1985 SFS commission Harmonielehre. The composition was inspired by a dream Adams had in which he was driving across the Bay Bridge and saw an oil tanker on the surface of the water abruptly turn upright and take off like a rocket. The SFS performed the world premiere of Harmonielehre in March 1985 under the direction of then-Music Director Edo de Waart, who conducted it again in October 1988. Michael Tilson Thomas led the Orchestra in Harmonielehre during his first season as SFS Music Director in December 1995, and then again in February 2000, both at home at Davies Symphony Hall and on tour with the Orchestra in New York , Boston , and Los Angeles .

One of America’s most admired and respected composers, John Adams was appointed contemporary music adviser to the San Francisco Symphony in 1979. He was the Orchestra’s composer-in-residence between 1982 and 1985, and his tenure helped set the precedent for composer residencies at orchestras around the world. The creative relationship between the SF Symphony and John Adams has been extraordinarily productive: since 1981 the SFS has performed 21 of his works, six of which were SFS commissions. The Orchestra has performed six world premieres of Adams’ music and four U.S. premieres, including the March 2007 U.S. premiere of his opera A Flowering Tree, a San Francisco Symphony co-commission. The Orchestra has commissioned Adams to write a work for its centennial season in 2011-12.

In June 2011, as part of Project San Francisco’s 2010-11 Artist-in-Residence program, 23-year-old Yuja Wang joins MTT and the SFS for a series of performances with orchestra and in chamber music settings, and educational activities for music students. Led by MTT, Wang will perform Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Orchestra June 16-19. As part of the residency, Wang also performs a June 14 chamber music concert with musicians of the Orchestra and a recital June 21 at Davies Symphony Hall.

In the few short years since her 2006 debut with the SF Symphony in the annual Chinese New Year concert, Yuja Wang has established herself as a star on the international stage. She has already performed with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, as well as in recital, chamber music, and festival settings around the globe. An exclusive recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon, Wang’s 2009 debut recording, Sonatas & Etudes, was nominated for a Grammy® Award in the Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra) and was named Best Debut Album of 2009 by International Piano magazine. Gramophone magazine named Wang the Classic FM Gramophone Awards 2009 Young Artist of the Year. Her second album, Transformation, which includes works by Stravinsky, Scarlatti, Brahms, and Ravel, will be released in April 2010. During the 2009-10 season she performed on an 11-city U.S. tour with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra led by Long Yu, and also performed with the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Patrick Summers during the orchestra’s 20th Anniversary U.S. tour. Wang also performs with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado in Beijing , the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Spain and in London , and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. In the summer of 2010, Wang returns to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Verbier Festival.

After her 2006 SFS debut, Yuja Wang returned later in the year to perform Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major under the baton of Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas in the SFS’s All San Francisco Community Concert. Since then, she has performed with the Orchestra each year, most recently with MTT in May 2009, performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2. She was also a soloist in the April 2009 performance by the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, led by Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall.

Keeping Score, the San Francisco Symphony’s acclaimed national media project designed to make classical music more accessible to people of all ages and musical backgrounds, launches its third television season on PBS in the spring of 2011 with a focus on the life and music of Gustav Mahler. In addition to PBS documentaries and live performance videos, the third season of Keeping Score includes an interactive online experience at www.keepingscore.org, a new series of national radio programs, and an education program that provides professional development for K-12 teachers, enabling them to integrate classical music into core subjects. To date, over six million people in the U.S. have seen the Keeping Score television series, with international broadcasts across Europe and Asia . The Peabody Award-winning Keeping Score radio series has been broadcast on almost 100 stations nationally. Full details of Season Three of Keeping Score will be announced at a later date.

As an integral part of the Orchestra’s Centennial Initiatives, the SFS in 2010-11 offers two world premiere performances of new works commissioned by the SFS. Vocalist and composer Rufus Wainwright will perform his new Five Shakespeare Sonnets with the Orchestra November 11-13. Jeffrey Kahane conducts Wainwright’s SFS debut.

Canadian-American singer-songwriter Wainwright, born in New York to folk singers Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III in 1973, has had a diverse career in pop music as well as on screen, appearing as an actor and singer, scoring films, and writing music for ballet and dance. Wainwright’s first opera, Prima Donna, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in 2009 and opens in London in April 2010. Wainwright’s new recording All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, a reference to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 43, is set for an April 5 release. The record contains three Shakespeare sonnets, selected from 24 pieces of music that Wainwright wrote for a Berliner Ensemble production directed by Robert Wilson in Berlin last year. Also included is Les Feux D’Artifice T’Appellant, the final aria from Prima Donna.

The world premiere of Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s work Uriah, an SFS commission, will be led by conductor David Robertson January 26-28. At 25, Dorman became the youngest composer to win Israel ’s prestigious Prime Minister’s Award. The same year, he won the Golden Feather Award from ACUM (the Israeli Society of Composers and Publishers). Dorman’s work has been performed by the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. He holds a doctorate in music composition from The Juilliard School.

In addition to the two world premieres, the 2010-11 season features 18 works never before performed by the SFS. Michael Tilson Thomas leads the Orchestra in compositions by American composers Morton Feldman (Rothko Chapel) and Duke Ellington (“Come Sunday,” “Heaven,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”). Tilson Thomas will also lead first performances of works by two Latin American composers, Revueltas’ Sensemayá and Villa-Lobos’ Ciranda das sete notas, the latter featuring Principal Bassoon Stephen Paulson. The Orchestra also performs Berg’s Three Pieces from Lyric Suite and Debussy’s Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra with pianist Jean-Frédéric Neuburger.

In his SFS debut, Pablo Heras-Casado leads the Orchestra in its first performances of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12, The Year 1917, and its first performances ever of the music of Hungarian composer György Kurtág, his Grabstein für Stephan. Jeffrey Kahane leads the SFS in its first performances of Kurt Weill’s Symphony No. 2. Peter Oundjian leads the first SF Symphony performances of Christopher Rouse’s The Infernal Machine, and pianist David Greilsammer performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto Nos. 5 and 8 with the Orchestra, led by Bernard Labadie. Kirill Karabits conducts the Orchestra in Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s Elegie, written in 2002. These are the first SFS performances of Silvestrov’s music. Carlos Kalmar conducts the Orchestra in its first performances of Schnittke’s Moz-Art à la Haydn, and Ton Koopman leads from the podium in C.P.E. Bach’s Symphony in G major. Yan Pascal Tortelier leads the Orchestra and violinist Vadim Gluzman in the first SFS performances of Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto.


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