Back to Press Room

Press Room

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony's 2015 European Festivals Tour, August 27-September 14

June 10, 2015

   

Public Relations
San Francisco Symphony
(415) 503-5474
publicrelations@sfsymphony.org
sfsymphony.org/press                                                            

European Press Representation
Words about music – Stefan Stahnke
phone: +49 30 34781984
fax: +49 30 34781985
st@wordsaboutmusic.de


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 10, 2015


MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS & THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY’S
2015 EUROPEAN FESTIVALS TOUR AUGUST 27 – SEPTEMBER 14

PRESENTS 13 CONCERTS IN 9 CITIES

Tour repertoire to include Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Schoenberg’s Theme and Variations, and Ives’s Decoration Day

John Adams’s SFS-commissioned Absolute Jest with the St. Lawrence String Quartet is performed in Edinburgh, Berlin, Bucharest, and Lucerne

Yuja Wang performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in Edinburgh, Wiesbaden, Amsterdam, and Paris; and Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in London, Bucharest, Lucerne, and Luxembourg

Jeremy Denk performs Cowell’s Piano Concerto at the BBC Proms
 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (June 10) – Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) leads the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in 13 concerts across 9 cities in some of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls and festivals August 27-September 14, 2015. Pianists Yuja Wang and Jeremy Denk, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet join the SFS throughout the tour for performances including two concerts at the BBC Proms, two at the Edinburgh International Festival, two at the Lucerne Festival and at the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest, as well as performances in Germany at the Berlin Festival and the Rheingau Festival in Wiesbaden. This high-profile tour also features concerts in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Luxembourg’s Philharmonie, and their debut at the new Paris Philharmonie.

Central to the European Festivals Tour is repertoire from the Orchestra’s Grammy Award-winning SFS Media recording catalogue: Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and from the American Mavericks recording, Henry Cowell’s Piano Concerto with Jeremy Denk, who performs it with the Orchestra at London’s BBC Proms. The European tour will highlight the Orchestra’s newest SFS Media recordings, with performances of Bay Area composer John Adams’s Absolute Jest, a work commissioned and recorded by MTT and the SFS featuring the St. Lawrence String Quartet to be released on recording in August, right before the tour. MTT and the San Francisco Symphony recorded their performance of Absolute Jest, inspired by the scherzos from Beethoven’s late string quartets, with the St. Lawrence String Quartet in May 2013. Of the performance, Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “The piece…boasts all the hallmarks of Adams's finest orchestral music—his extraordinary command of instrumental color, his buoyant rhythmic palette and his sure-handed mastery of large-scale form…Adams asserts his right to stand beside Beethoven, and to counterpoise the fruits of his own creative imagination to those of the master.” Adams speaks about his inspiration for Absolute Jest in this video. The recording of Absolute Jest is paired with John Adams conducting the SFS in his Grand Pianola Music featuring pianists Orli Shaham and Marc-André Hamelin, and Synergy Vocals. Adams wrote Grand Pianola Music for the San Francisco Symphony in 1982 while he was composer-in-residence with the Orchestra. A web page with information about the recording can be found at sfsymphony.org/adams.

In Europe, MTT and the Orchestra will also perform Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, released on SFS Media in May 2015. Other works performed on the tour are Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica, the subject of MTT and the SF Symphony’s Keeping Score documentary available on DVD and Blu-ray, Schoenberg’s Theme and Variations, Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featuring Yuja Wang, and Ives’s Decoration Day, also available as part of an Ives Keeping Score documentary and performance DVD and Blu-ray. In Bucharest for the George Enescu Festival, MTT and the SFS will perform Enescu’s La Voix de la nature.

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony represent one of the longest and most productive artistic partnerships of any major American Orchestra, having completed their 20th season together in 2014-15. The partnership has been characterized by major national and international touring, ambitious media initiatives and recording projects of Mahler, Beethoven, and American Maverick composers, and the most comprehensive music education program of any orchestra in the U.S. They have toured together over 30 times, most recently in a fall 2014 tour of the U.S. and a March 2014 European tour performing concerts in London, Paris, Vienna, Prague, Geneva, Luxembourg, Dortmund, and Birmingham. Other recent touring highlights include the Orchestra’s 10-concert tour of Asia in 2012; its 2012 Centennial season American Mavericks tour of the U.S.; a 2011 tour of Mahler symphonies to Europe’s leading music capitals for the anniversaries of the composer’s birth and death; and a 2007 tour of summer festivals featuring two televised appearances at the BBC Proms in London and festivals of Edinburgh, Rheingau, Berlin and Lucerne, where the SFS held a three-season residency.

 
   

SFS Media is the San Francisco Symphony’s in-house label, launched in 2001. SFS Media records and releases audio and visual material reflecting the Orchestra and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas’s commitment to showcasing music by maverick composers alongside core classical masterworks. The recordings reflect the broad range of programming that has been a hallmark of the MTT/SFS partnership. Recorded live in concert and engineered at Davies Symphony Hall, the audio recordings are released on hybrid SACD and in high-resolution digital formats. SFS Media has garnered eight Grammy awards. SFS Media also has produced and released documentary and live performance videos, including the SFS’s national public television series and multimedia project Keeping Score, which included three seasons of television episodes, eight documentaries, and eight concert films designed to make classical music more accessible to people of all ages and musical backgrounds, now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Other documentary and live performance videos of the San Francisco Symphony available from SFS Media have included A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein: Opening Night at Carnegie Hall 2008 and San Francisco Symphony at 100, a documentary about the Symphony’s history, which won a Northern California Emmy Award.  SFS Media recordings are available online at sfsymphony.org/store, digitally from itunes.com/sfsymphony, and from all major retailers and other digital outlets worldwide. Recordings are distributed by harmonia mundi in the U.S., Canada, and France, through Avie Records internationally, and by The Orchard to digital retailers.

John Adams

One of America’s most admired and respected composers, John Adams has enjoyed a strong relationship with the San Francisco Symphony for more than 30 years. Adams was appointed contemporary music advisor to the San Francisco Symphony in 1979 and composer-in-residence between 1982 and 1985, a tenure which helped set the precedent for composer residencies at orchestras around the world. The creative partnership between the SF Symphony and John Adams has been extraordinarily productive: since 1981 the SFS has performed 28 of his works, seven of which were SFS commissions. John Adams’s writings and more about his work can be found on his website, earbox.com.  

In 2013 MTT and the SFS were honored with an Echo Klassik award for “Orchestra of the Year” from the German Music Critics’ Association in recognition for their recording of John Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Harmonielehre. In 2012 the recording won a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.

 

MTT/SFS Mahler Cycle

Michael Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony have been hailed as one of the world’s foremost Mahler interpreters. MTT and the SFS’s self-produced Mahler recording cycle, launched in 2001, encompasses all of Mahler’s symphonies and works for voice, chorus, and orchestra. The Orchestra’s Mahler cycle on SFS Media has been recognized with seven Grammy Awards, including three Grammys for its recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Symphony No. 10. MTT was honored with a Gramophone “Artist of the Year” award in 2005 for the project.

Complete box sets of the cycle are available on vinyl and SACD. MTT and the SFS’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 was released in 2002, the second recording of the cycle.  At the time of its release, Gramophone wrote, “This is probably the best-played and most vividly engineered recording of  Mahler’s First Symphony I’ve yet heard. The strings are silky, the woodwind solos dewy fresh, and the brass retain a radiant brilliance from the first climax to the last.” MTT and the SFS explore Mahler in an episode of their Keeping Score television series, an excerpt of which can be viewed here.

Cowell’s Piano Concerto

MTT and the SFS’s 2011 recording of San Francisco Bay Area composer Henry Cowell’s Piano Concerto featuring soloist Jeremy Denk, joins the composer’s Synchrony on the Orchestra’s American Mavericks recording of 2012. For it Denk masterfully taps into the far-flung imagination of Cowell’s signature forearm tone clusters. MTT says of Cowell’s Piano Concerto, “The piece is fun, swashbuckling, and outrageous, and it takes a very special spirit such as Jeremy Denk to really put this over with the fervor with which it was meant to be played.”

MTT and Denk speak about performing the Cowell piano concerto in this video.

MTT SFS Keeping Score / Beethoven’s Eroica

The first episode of MTT and the San Francisco Symphony’s Keeping Score PBS television series, now available on DVD and Blu-ray from SFS Media, features an exploration of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica. It includes a full one-hour documentary episode and a complete concert performance of the work that is also available as a companion audio CD and digital download. A preview of the video can be viewed here.

Yuja Wang

Yuja Wang has appeared with the SFS every season since her debut at the Orchestra’s 2006 Chinese New Year concert. Her most recent performance with MTT and the SFS was Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at the 2014-15 Opening Gala, and Litolff’s Scherzo from Concerto symphonique No. 4 at MTT’s 70th birthday celebration in January. She returned to Davies Symphony Hall in March with MTT conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, performing Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. She performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Orchestra in 2009, as well as on tour throughout Asia with MTT and the SFS in 2012. She is featured performing George Litolff’s Scherzo from Concerto symphonique No. 4 on MTT and the SF Symphony’s Masterpieces in Miniature recording on SFS Media. And short video about the recording can be viewed here.

Jeremy Denk

Pianist Jeremy Denk has been a frequent guest of the SFS since his debut in 2004, and performed Henry Cowell’s Piano Concerto with the Orchestra in 2012 on its American Mavericks festival and tour. He recently appeared alongside an all-star lineup of pianists–Yuja Wang, Marc-André Hamelin, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Emanuel Ax–at the 70th birthday celebration for MTT, in a rare performance of Liszt’s Hexameron for Six Pianos and Orchestra. Denk is the winner of a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year award. In 2014, Denk served as Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival, for which, besides performing and curating, he wrote the libretto for a comic opera, The Classical Style, performed at Carnegie Hall in December 2014. He is known for his original and insightful writing on music, having contributed to the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the New York Review of Books.

St. Lawrence String Quartet

Established in 1989, the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ) performs over 120 concerts annually worldwide and is Ensemble in Residence at Stanford University. Violist Lesley Robertson and violinist Geoff Nuttall are founding members of the group, cellist Christopher Costanza joined the group in 2003, and violinist Owen Dalby began his first season with the quartet in June of this year. All four members of the quartet live and teach at Stanford University, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. The SLSQ is committed to the established quartet repertoire as well as the championing of new works by such composers as John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, Eziquiel Vinao, and Jonathan Berger. Their recordings have been honored with the German Critics Award, Canada’s Juno Award (for their release of Schumann’s 1st and 3rd quartets), and two Grammy nominations (for their landmark Yiddishbbuk CD). John Adams wrote Absolute Jest for them to perform with MTT and the San Francisco Symphony, and the work was included as part of the Orchestra’s last European tour in March 2014.


SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY 2015 EUROPEAN FESTIVALS TOUR

MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS, MUSIC DIRECTOR

St. Lawrence String Quartet, Yuja Wang piano, Jeremy Denk piano


Thursday, August 27 at 7:30 pm
Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
St. Lawrence String Quartet
San Francisco Symphony

SCHOENBERG             Theme and Variations, Opus 43b
John ADAMS                Absolute Jest
MAHLER                      Symphony No. 1 in D major


Friday, August 28 at 7:30 pm
Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Yuja Wang piano
San Francisco Symphony

IVES                            Decoration Day from Holidays Symphony
BEETHOVEN                Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Opus 58
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64


Sunday, August 30 at 7:30 pm
The BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Jeremy Denk piano
San Francisco Symphony

SCHOENBERG             Theme and Variations, Opus 43b
COWELL                      Piano Concerto
MAHLER                      Symphony No. 1 in D major


Monday, August 31 at 7:30 pm
The BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Yuja Wang piano
San Francisco Symphony

IVES                            Decoration Day from Holidays Symphony
BARTÓK                       Piano Concerto No. 2
BEETHOVEN                Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55, Eroica


Thursday, September 3 at 8:00 pm
Rheingau Festival, Kurhaus, Wiesbaden

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Yuja Wang piano
San Francisco Symphony

IVES                            Decoration Day from Holidays Symphony
BEETHOVEN              Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Opus 58
TCHAIKOVSKY          Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64


Friday, September 4 at 8:00 pm
Berlin Festival, Philharmonie, Berlin

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
St. Lawrence String Quartet
San Francisco Symphony

SCHOENBERG             Theme and Variations, Opus 43b
John ADAMS                Absolute Jest
BEETHOVEN                Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55, Eroica


Sunday, September 6 at 7:30 pm
George Enescu Festival, Sala Palatului, Bucharest
                                                                                               
Michael Tilson Thomas
conductor
Yuja Wang piano
San Francisco Symphony

IVES                            Decoration Day from Holidays Symphony
BARTÓK                     Piano Concerto No. 2
MAHLER                     Symphony No. 1 in D major


Monday, September 7 at 7:30 pm
George Enescu Festival, Sala Palatului, Bucharest

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
St. Lawrence String Quartet
San Francisco Symphony

ENESCU                       La Voix de la nature (Nuages d'automne sur les forêts)
John ADAMS               Absolute Jest
BEETHOVEN                Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55, Eroica


Wednesday, September 9 at 7:30 pm
Lucerne Festival in Summer, Kultur-und Kongresszentrum, Lucerne

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
St. Lawrence String Quartet
San Francisco Symphony

SCHOENBERG             Theme and Variations, Opus 43b
John ADAMS                Absolute Jest
BEETHOVEN                Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55, Eroica


Friday, September 11 at 7:30 pm
Lucerne Festival in Summer, Kultur-und Kongresszentrum, Lucerne  

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Yuja Wang piano
San Francisco Symphony

IVES                            Decoration Day from Holidays Symphony
BARTÓK                     Piano Concerto No. 2
MAHLER                     Symphony No. 1 in D major


Saturday, September 12 at 8:00 pm
Philharmonie, Luxembourg

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Yuja Wang piano
San Francisco Symphony

BARTÓK                       Piano Concerto No. 2
TCHAIKOVSKY             Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64


Sunday, September 13 at 8:15 pm
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Yuja Wang piano
San Francisco Symphony

BEETHOVEN                Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Opus 58
MAHLER                      Symphony No. 1 in D major


Monday, September 14 at 8:30 pm
Philharmonie, Paris

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
Yuja Wang piano
San Francisco Symphony

BEETHOVEN                Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Opus 58
MAHLER                      Symphony No. 1 in D major


Connect with the San Francisco Symphony on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and Instagram:

    

The San Francisco Symphony’s European Festivals Tour is made possible by a gift from the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation,

with additional support for performances in Germany from the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund,

in Paris from Sakurako and William Fisher,

and in Luxembourg from Ambassador James C. Hormel and Mr. Michael P. Nguyen.

San Francisco Symphony tours are supported by the Frannie and Mort Fleishhacker Endowed Touring Fund, the Brayton Wilbur, Jr. Endowed Fund for Touring, and the Halfmann-Yee Fund for Touring.

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

Emirates is the Official Airline of the San Francisco Symphony.

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

- SFS -

Related Photos