Oct 4, 2021SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the San Francisco Symphony in four Orchestral Series concert programs at Davies Symphony Hall in October 2021. On October 7–9, Salonen leads the Symphony in the U.S. Premiere of Hannah Kendall’s Tuxedo: Vasco ‘de’ Gama, which takes inspiration from Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artwork Tuxedo. Kendall comments on her work, “[Basquiat’s] reference to Vasco da Gama, the first European to voyage to Asia by sea, offers a commentary on exploration and the seeds of globalization and multiculturalism: two important themes in the context of the year 2020.” The program also includes Ludwig van Beethoven’s triumphant Symphony No. 7 and the San Francisco Symphony Premiere of Unsuk Chin’s multi-layered Graffiti, a musical composition inspired by street art. The idea of street art is further reflected in original murals, which will be painted live onsite pre-concert on each performance night by three local Bay Area artists who are members of the group The Writerz of Doom—Jude Capili, Alex Douhovnikoff, and Domingo Magobet.
Concerts on October 14–17 celebrate the magic of the natural world with Claude Debussy’s evocative Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun) and La Mer, with the program anchored by two works inspired by the majesty of birds. Pianist Jeremy Denk is featured in Olivier Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques (Exotic Birds), a work which incorporates the songs of 47 species of birds, and flutist and SF Symphony Collaborative Partner Claire Chase performs Kaija Saariaho’s concerto for flute and orchestra, Aile du songe (Wing of the Dream). Chase performed a version of Terrestre—the last movement of Aile du Songe —in her recently released SoundBox: Metamorphoses program, available for free viewing now on SFSymphony+. Claire Chase comments, “Kaija is an astonishing artist, a composer who is uncompromising in her vision and dedication to craft, and whose compositional voice is unlike any other that I know. She has paved the way for so many female-identifying composers and performers in younger generations.”
On October 21–23, SF Symphony Collaborative Partners composer Bryce Dessner and violinist Pekka Kuusisto join forces for the U.S. premiere of Dessner’s Violin Concerto, an SF Symphony co-commission along with Hessischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Southbank Centre, London. Dessner says of the work, “My Violin Concerto was partly inspired by Anne Carson’s essay ‘The Anthropology of Water,’ which re-imagines the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. I now live in the Basque region of France, just beyond the Spanish border on the Atlantic coast which sits directly on the pilgrimage route.” The program opens with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 2, originally written to introduce his only opera, Fidelio, and closes with Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 5.
October 28–30 concerts feature the San Francisco Symphony Premiere of the orchestral version of Anders Hillborg’s Kongsgaard Variations, which takes a few bars of Beethoven as the basis for a dreamy composition extolling the virtues of music and wine. The program continues with Richard Strauss’ Sonatina No. 2 in E-flat, Fröhliche Werkstatt (Happy Workshop) and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, performed by pianist Yefim Bronfman.
About the San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony is widely considered to be among the most artistically adventurous and innovative arts institutions in the United States, celebrated for its artistic excellence, creative performance concepts, active touring, award-winning recordings, and standard-setting education programs. In the 2020–21 season, the San Francisco Symphony welcomed conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen as its twelfth Music Director, embarking on a new vision for the present and future of the orchestral landscape. In their inaugural season together, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony introduced a groundbreaking artistic leadership model anchored by eight Collaborative Partners from a variety of cultural disciplines: Nicholas Britell, Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, Bryce Dessner, Pekka Kuusisto, Nico Muhly, Carol Reiley, and esperanza spalding. This group of visionary artists, thinkers, and doers, along with Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony, have set out to explore and develop new ideas inspired by the Partners’ unique areas of expertise, including innovative digital projects, expansive and imaginative performance concepts in a variety of concert formats, commissions of new music, and projects that foster collaboration across artistic and administrative areas. Shaped by the dynamic partnership and shared vision of Esa-Pekka Salonen, San Francisco Symphony’s eight Collaborative Partners, and the Orchestra and Chorus, the 2021–22 season reflects a spirit of collaboration, experimentation, and renewed dialogue through live music. This exciting artistic future builds on the remarkable 25-year tenure of Michael Tilson Thomas as the San Francisco Symphony’s Music Director, who continues his rich relationship with the Symphony as its first Music Director Laureate.
CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:
- Davies Symphony Hall is located at 201 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco.
- Tickets for concerts at Davies Symphony can be purchased via sfsymphony.org or by calling the San Francisco Symphony Box Office at 415-864-6000. Ticket prices range from $20 to $165.
- Davies Symphony Hall is currently operating at full audience capacity. The San Francisco Symphony requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for everyone ages 12 and up entering Davies Symphony Hall—including patrons, performers, volunteers, and staff. Full vaccination is defined as completion of the two-dose regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered two weeks or more in advance of the concert. Audience members under age 12 must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR test within 72 hours of the event, or antigen [rapid] test within 24 hours of the event). All patrons are required to wear a face mask while attending performances. Details about health and safety protocols at Davies Symphony Hall can be found here.
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