Back to Press Room

Press Room

Conductor Charles Dutoit leads the SF Symphony in two weeks of concerts May 29-30 & June 4-7 at Davies Symphony Hall

April 29, 2014

Public Relations
San Francisco Symphony
(415) 503-5474

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / April 29, 2014  Updated June 3


Choral concerts feature vocalists Susanna Phillips, Hanno Müller-Brachmann and the SF Symphony Chorus May 29-30.

Pianist Kirill Gerstein performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 June 4-7, and chamber music on June 8.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 29 – Frequent guest conductor Charles Dutoit leads the San Francisco Symphony in two weeks of concerts, May 29 & 30 and June 4-7. The first of the two showcases the SF Symphony Chorus in three significant masterpieces of the choral symphonic repertoire: Poulenc’s Gloria, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Fauré’s Requiem with soloists, soprano Susanna Phillips and bass-baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann making his debut at Davies Symphony Hall. Led by director Ragnar Bohlin, the Chorus celebrates its 40th anniversary this season.

Pianist Kirill Gerstein is the soloist for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Dutoit and the Orchestra June 4-7. He then performs the Shostakovich Piano Quintet in G minor, Opus 57 with SFS musicians on a chamber music concert Sunday June 8. Gerstein’s early piano studies included both jazz and classical styles, which influenced his musical personality and his adventurous approach to special projects. He first appeared with the SF Symphony in 2005 performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, the Emperor. Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 is also on the concert; a monumental opus depicting the Stalin years in Russia.

Charles Dutoit is one of today’s most established conductors, having performed with all the major orchestras on most stages of the five continents. Presently Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, he recently celebrated his 30-year artistic collaboration with the Philadelphia Orchestra, who in turn, bestowed upon him the title of Conductor Laureate. He collaborates every season with the orchestras of Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles and is also a regular guest on the stages in London, Berlin, Paris, Munich, Moscow, Sydney, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, amongst others. Dutoit was Artistic Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for 25 years; Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s season at the Mann Music Center for 10 years; and at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for 21 years. In 2009, he became Music Director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra. His more than 200 recordings for Decca, Deutsche Grammophone, EMI, Philips, and Erato have garnered multiple awards and distinctions including two Grammys.

Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of The Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, is in-demand on both opera stages and as a recitalist. This year (2013-14), Phillips returns to The Metropolitan Opera for a sixth consecutive season. Starring roles with the company include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, under the baton of returning music director James Levine; Rosalinde in a new staging of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus as part of the annual New Year’s Eve gala; and Musetta in La bohème, a reprise of the role in which she made her house debut in 2008. Phillips also appears with the Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony (at Carnegie Hall and in St. Louis), the Milwaukee Symphony and the Jacksonville Symphony and has numerous chamber music engagements. As an emerging artist in 2005, Phillips won four of the world’s leading vocal competitions: Operalia (both First Place and the Audience Prize), the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacAllister Awards, and the George London Foundation Awards Competition. Phillips first performed with the SF Symphony at the New Year’s Eve Gala in 2012.

German Bass-Baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann studied in Switzerland, and made his operatic debut in 1996 in Telemann's Orpheus under René Jacobs at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin. A member of the ensemble from 1998, he sang the great Mozart roles of Leporello, Figaro, Guglielmo, and Papageno as well as his first Wotan under conductor Daniel Barenboim. He is an acclaimed interpreter of the great Bach Passions, and has sung with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Kurt Masur and the Monteverdi Orchestra under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnanyi, and the Berliner Philharmoniker under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, among others. He is also a devoted recitalist and works regularly with pianists such as András Schiff and Daniel Barenboim. His Festival engagements have included the London Mostly Mozart Festival under Marriner, the Tanglewood Festival under von Dohnányí, and the BBC Proms, Berlin, and Lucerne Festivals under Masur. Müller-Brachmann’s recordings include Schubert recital discs for Harmonia Mundi and Naxos Records, a Schumann recital disc for Hyperion Records, Die Zauberflöte conducted by Claudio Abbado for Deutsche Grammophon which won Gramophone’s ‘Best Opera Recording of the Year’ and Bach's St Matthew Passion conducted by Riccardo Chailly for Decca. Although he has appeared with the San Francisco Opera, this will be his debut at the San Francisco Symphony.

Kirill Gerstein came to the United States from Russia at 14 to study jazz piano as the youngest student ever to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Although he turned his focus back to classical music, his early experience in jazz contributed an important element to his interpretive style, inspiring an energetic and expressive musical personality that distinguishes his playing. Gerstein is the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award, presented every four years to an exceptional pianist who desires and can sustain a career as a major international concert artist. Since receiving the award in 2010, Gerstein has shared his prize through the commissioning of boundary-crossing new works by Oliver Knussen, Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau and Timothy Andres, with additional commissions scheduled for future seasons. Gerstein was also awarded First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, received a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award, and a 2010 Avery Fisher Grant. He performs internationally as a soloist with leading orchestras, and also as recitalist and chamber musician. His newest album on Myrios Classics, Imaginary Pictures (Mussorgsky & Schumann), will be released on the occasion of this concert, giving first access to San Francisco audiences.


One of America’s most distinguished choruses, known for its precision, power, and versatility, the 158-member San Francisco Symphony Chorus celebrates its 40th anniversary in the 2013-14 season. Led by Director Ragnar Bohlin, the Chorus is in the spotlight during many of the season’s artistic focal points, performing such works as Britten’s Peter Grimes, Beethoven’s Mass in C and excerpts from King Stephen with MTT, Bach’s Missa Brevis (Kyrie and Gloria) from Mass in B minor, the first SFS performances of Bach’s Cantata No. 207a, Auf, schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten with Ton Koopman, Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht, with Pablo Heras-Casado and War Requiem with Semyon Bychkov.

The SFS Chorus performs more than twenty concerts each season and is comprised of 30 professional and 128 volunteer members. Recordings featuring the SFS Chorus have won a total of eight Grammy awards, including three for Best Choral Performance. They were featured on the SFS Media’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with MTT and the SFS, which won three 2010 Grammys, including the award for Best Choral Performance. Most recently, a recording of the Chorus’ performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS was released in April 2013.

Calendar editors, please note:


Thursday, May 29 at 10 am (Open Rehearsal)
Thursday, May 29 at 8 pm
Friday, May 30 at 8 pm

Charles Dutoit conductor
Susanna Phillips soprano
Hanno Müller-Brachmann bass-baritone
San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Ragnar Bohlin director
San Francisco Symphony

Poulenc Gloria
Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms
Fauré Requiem, Opus 48

Audio Program Notes: Listen to a free podcast about Fauré’s Requiem hosted by KDFC’s Rik Malone. All podcasts are archived, and can be downloaded or streamed from and from the iTunes store.

Pre-Concert Talk: James Keller will give an “Inside Music” talk from the stage one hour prior to each concert. Free to all concert ticket holders; doors open 15 minutes before.

Tickets: Open Rehearsal $22-$40; Concerts $37-$152.
Available at, by phone 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.


Wednesday, June 4 at 8 pm
Thursday, June 5 at 8 pm (Green Music Center – Sonoma State University)
Friday, June 6 at 8 pm
Saturday, June 7 at 8 pm

Charles Dutoit conductor
Kirill Gerstein piano
San Francisco Symphony

Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Opus 19
Shostakovich Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Opus 93

Audio Program Notes: Listen to a free podcast about Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 in E minor hosted by KDFC’s Rik Malone. All podcasts are archived, and can be downloaded or streamed from and from the iTunes store.

Pre-Concert Talk: John Palmer will give an “Inside Music” talk from the stage one hour prior to each concert. Free to all concert ticket holders; doors open 15 minutes before.

CD Signings: Mr. Gerstein will sign his new CD, Imaginary Pictures: Mussorgsky, Schumann, following each of the 4 concerts. It is the first opportunity to purchase the recording in the US.

Broadcast / Archived Stream: A broadcast of these performances will air Tuesday, June 17 at 8 pm on Classical KDFC 90.3 San Francisco, 104.9 San Jose, 89.9 Napa, and where it will be available for on-demand streaming for 21 days following the broadcast.

Tickets: $15-$156.
Available at, by phone 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.

Green Music Center: Call 866-955-6040 or visit the Box Office at the 1st floor of the new Student Center, email, or purchase tickets online at


Sunday, June 8 at 2 pm

Bax String Quartet in G major                            

Yukiko Kurakata violin
Cathryn Down violin
Christina King viola
David Goldblatt cello

Dvořák Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Opus 90, Dumky

Nadya Tichman violin
Amos Yang cello
Anton Nel piano                               

Shostakovich Piano Quintet in G minor, Opus 57

Florin Parvulescu violin
Polina Sedukh violin
Jonathan Vinocour viola
Sébastien Gingras cello
Kirill Gerstein piano

Tickets: $36.
Available at, by phone 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.

Connect with the San Francisco Symphony on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Instagram:


The San Francisco Symphony receives support from over 10,000 individual donors and 150 partner institutions.

The May 29 concert is generously sponsored by Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C.

The June 4-7 concerts are generously supported by Eliza and Dean Cash/ATEL Foundation.

Charles Dutoit's appearance is supported by the Louise M. Davies Guest Conductor Fund.

Ragnar Bohlin’s work in the San Francisco Symphony Chorus’s 40th Anniversary Season is supported by a grant from

The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Emirates is the Official Airline of the San Francisco Symphony.

William Hill® Estate Winery is the Official Wine of the San Francisco Symphony.

San Francisco Chronicle / is the Official Media Partner of the San Francisco Symphony.

- SFS -

Related Photos