Press Room


Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 503-5474
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Oct 26, 2023


Cuatro player Jorge Glem makes his Orchestral Series debut in the first SF Symphony performances of Gonzalo Grau’s Odisea: Concerto for Venezuelan Cuatro and Orchestra

The program also features Gabriela Ortiz’s Kauyumari and Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Conductor Gustavo Dudamel leads the San Francisco Symphony in concerts featuring cuatro player Jorge Glem on November 24–26.

The program opens with Gabriela Ortiz’s Kauyumari, which premiered at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance conducted by Dudamel in 2021. “Kauyumari” translates to “blue deer” in Huichol, an indigenous language of Mexico, and is known as a spiritual guide for the Huichol people. In a program note, Ortiz writes, “When I received the commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to compose a piece that would reflect on our return to the stage following the pandemic, I immediately thought of the blue deer and its power to enter the world of the intangible as akin to a celebration of the reopening of live music.” Kauyumari features a traditional Huichol melody, which Ortiz previously used in her 1997 piece Altar de Muertos (Altar of the Dead).

Making his Orchestral Series debut, Jorge Glem joins Dudamel and the Orchestra for the first San Francisco Symphony performances of Gonzalo Grau’s Odisea: Concerto for Venezuelan Cuatro and Orchestra. In these concerts, Glem plays the cuatro, a stringed instrument similar to the guitar and ukulele. The concerto reflects Grau’s connection to his Venezuelan folkloric roots, and the composer envisions the piece as a figurative journey from the east to the west of Venezuela. He writes in a program note, “I personally imagined our soloist ‘Jorge Glem’ leaving his born-place of Cuman√° to encounter our conductor ‘Gustavo Dudamel’ in his home-town of Barquisimeto. Throughout the entire concerto, you will hear the ‘golpe drum’ on a distance getting closer and closer as the odyssey progresses.”

Rounding out the program is Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, composed during a summer holiday in a small Austrian village. Written quickly and easily after Brahms toiled for decades over his First Symphony, the Second Symphony is often compared to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, owing to its sunny demeanor.

On Friday, November 24, at 6:30pm, attendees can arrive early for a preconcert talk with Jorge Glem and Gonzalo Grau, hosted by Philippa Cole. The discussion will take place on the Davies Symphony Hall stage one hour before the concert. (Free to all concert ticket holders.)

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