Public Relations Department
San Francisco Symphony
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / December 9, 2013 (update to a press release sent August 27)
MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS LEADS THE SF SYMPHONY AND SFS CHORUS IN A CELEBRATION OF GORDON GETTY’S 80TH BIRTHDAY WITH SPECIAL GUESTS PLÁCIDO DOMINGO AND FREDERICA VON STADE
SAN FRANCISCO, December 9 – Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT), the San Francisco Symphony (SFS), San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and special guests including world-renowned tenor Plácido Domingo and beloved American mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade come together on January 6, 2014 to celebrate the 80th birthday of Gordon Getty, esteemed composer, philanthropist, and generous supporter of the San Francisco Symphony. This concert will be the only public celebration of Getty’s birthday. For this special celebration, Plácido Domingo returns to perform with the SF Symphony for the first time since his debut with the Orchestra more than forty years ago, a 1973 performance of Verdi’s Requiem with then-Music Director Edo de Waart. Gordon Getty’s 80th Birthday Celebration Concert will also include the fourth movement from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7; Rossini’s Overture to La gazza ladra; Tallis’ Motet, Spem in alium, performed by the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Director Ragnar Bohlin; and the world premiere of a new work by Gordon Getty, A Prayer for My Daughter, performed by MTT, the SFS and the SFS Chorus. Additional works on the program by Getty are Four Dickinson Songs with soprano Lisa Delan and SFS keyboardist Robin Sutherland and the overture to Getty’s opera Plump Jack. More repertoire will be announced at a later date. Gordon Getty’s history with the SFS spans 34 years of notable artistic, philanthropic, and administrative achievement.
About Gordon Getty
Gordon Getty has served on the Board of Governors of the San Francisco Symphony since 1979. During his tenure, he and his wife, Ann, have provided leadership and generous support for some the Symphony’s most important initiatives, including the acoustic renovation of Davies Symphony Hall in 1990, the Grammy award-winning Mahler recording cycle, and the Orchestra’s international tours. Raised in San Francisco and an alumnus of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Getty’s compositions have been widely performed in North America and Europe. In 1986, he was honored as an Outstanding American Composer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and he was awarded the 2003 Gold Baton of the American Symphony Orchestra League. The SFS has performed Getty’s works numerous times, including two world premieres and one West Coast premiere. The Orchestra and Chorus (led by Edo de Waart) performed “Scene I” from Getty’s first opera Plump Jack in 1985, and the entire work was premiered in 1987 with Andrew Massey conducting the Orchestra and Chorus as part of the SFS New and Unusual Music Series. Most recently, in 2004, MTT led the Orchestra and Chorus in the West Coast premiere of Getty’s Young America, a cycle of six movements for chorus and orchestra to texts by Getty and by Stephen Vincent Benét. In 2005, PentaTone released a CD of Getty’s principal choral works up to that time, performed by the SF Symphony and Chorus, with MTT conducting, and the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir and Russian National Orchestra.
Getty has recently devoted considerable attention to a pair of one-act operas, Usher House (derived from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”) and The Canterville Ghost (after Oscar Wilde’s tale). The former will be premiered in 2014 by the Welsh National Opera and in 2015 the San Francisco Opera will present the U.S. premiere. Although most of Getty’s works feature the voice, he has also written for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo piano. In 2010, PentaTone released a CD devoted to six of his orchestral pieces, with Sir Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and in 2013 it followed up with a CD of the composer’s solo piano works, performed by Conrad Tao. Currently in preparation is a PentaTone CD of his chamber music, which will include a string-quartet version of his Four Traditional Pieces (a work that was performed in a string-orchestra arrangement by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra in 2012) and a new album of works for chorus and orchestra. In 2009, his ballet Ancestor Suite was given its premiere staging with choreography by Vladimir Vasiliev, performed by the Bolshoi Ballet and Russian National Orchestra. It was then presented at the 2012 Festival del Sole in Napa.
Of his compositions Getty has said: “My style is undoubtedly tonal, though with hints of atonality, such as any composer would likely use to suggest a degree of disorientation. But I’m strictly tonal in my approach. I represent a viewpoint that stands somewhat apart from the twentieth century, which was in large measure a repudiation of the nineteenth and a sock in the nose to sentimentality. Whatever it was that the great Victorian composers and poets were trying to achieve, that’s what I’m trying to achieve.”’
About Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo is a world-renowned, multifaceted artist. Recognized as one of the finest and most influential singing actors in the history of opera, he is also a conductor and a major force as an opera administrator in his role as Eli and Edythe Broad General Director of LA Opera. His repertoire now encompasses 143 roles, a number unmatched by any other tenor in history, with nearly 3700 career performances. His more than 100 recordings of complete operas, compilations of arias and duets, and crossover discs have earned him 12 Grammy Awards, including three Latin Grammys, and he has made more than 50 music videos and won two Emmy Awards. In addition to three feature opera films—Carmen, La Traviata and Otello—he voiced the role of Monte in Beverly Hills Chihuahua, played himself on The Simpsons, and his telecast of Tosca from the authentic settings in Rome was seen by more than one billion people in 117 countries. He subsequently took the title role in a 2010 live telecast of Rigoletto from Mantua, Italy, the city in which the opera’s story takes place. In 1990, he and his colleagues José Carreras and the late Luciano Pavarotti formed the Three Tenors, performing with enormous success all over the world and attracted millions of new fans to opera. He has conducted more than 500 opera performances and symphonic concerts with the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, LA Opera, Chicago Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, Montréal Symphony, National Symphony, London Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic. In 1993, he founded the international voice competition Operalia. He has received honorary doctorates from Oxford University and New York University for his lifelong commitment and contribution to music and the arts. In 2010, he created the role of Pablo Neruda in the world premiere of Daniel Catán’s Il Postino in Los Angeles (filmed for telecast and DVD release), with subsequent performances taking place in Vienna, Paris and Santiago, as well as future performances in Madrid. During the past year, he added four new roles to his repertoire: Francesco Foscari in The Two Foscari in Los Angeles, Giorgio Germont in La Traviata during his 45th season at the Metropolitan Opera, the title role in Nabucco at Covent Garden, and Giacomo in Giovanna d’Arco at the Salzburg Festival.
About Frederica von Stade
Recognized as one of the most beloved musical figures of our time, Frederica von Stade has enriched the world of classical music for three decades with her appearances in opera, concert, and recital. The mezzo-soprano is well known to audiences around the world through her numerous featured appearances on television including several PBS specials and "Live from Lincoln Center" telecasts. She has made over sixty recordings with every major label, including complete operas, aria albums, symphonic works, solo recital programs, and popular crossover albums. Her recordings have garnered six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disc awards, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Italy's Premio della Critica Discografica, and "Best of the Year" citations by Stereo Review and Opera News. Frederica von Stade was awarded France's highest honor in the Arts when she was appointed as an officer of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 1983 she was honored with an award given at The White House by President Reagan in recognition of her significant contribution to the arts. She has been a frequent guest of the San Francisco Symphony since 1975, including an appearance at MTT’s 60th Birthday Celebration in 2005. She last appeared with MTT and the SFS as the narrator for performances of Debussy’s Le martyre de Saint Sébastien in January 2012.
CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:
MTT & THE SF SYMPHONY CELEBRATE GORDON GETTY WITH SPECIAL GUESTS PLÁCIDO DOMINGO AND FREDERICA VON STADE
Monday, January 6 at 8 pm
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA
Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Plácido Domingo conductor, tenor
Lisa Delan soprano
Frederica von Stade mezzo-soprano
Robin Sutherland piano
San Francisco Symphony
San Francisco Symphony Chorus
Ragnar Bohlin conductor
Rossini Overture to La gazza ladra
Tallis Motet, Spem in alium
Gordon Getty Four Dickinson Songs
A Prayer for My Daughter (world premiere)
Overture to Plump Jack
Beethoven Fourth Movement, Allegro con brio, from Symphony No. 7 in A major, Opus 92
Additional repertoire to be announced
Tickets: $75 - $350.
Available at sfsymphony.org, 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.
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