Apr 25, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Guest conductors Giancarlo Guerrero and Manfred Honeck lead the San Francisco Symphony in two weeks of concerts at Davies Symphony Hall during the months of May and June.
May 25 and 27: Her Story
On May 25 and 27, Giancarlo Guerrero, Music Director of the Nashville Symphony, leads the San Francisco Symphony in the West Coast premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Her Story, featuring the Lorelei Ensemble in its Orchestral Series debut. The 45-minute piece for orchestra and women’s vocal ensemble was co-commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, and National Symphony Orchestra, and received its world premiere with Guerrero, the Lorelei Ensemble, and the Nashville Symphony in September 2022. Her Story invokes the words of historical figures and the spirit of pivotal moments to pay tribute to the centuries of ongoing struggle for equal rights, representation, and access to democracy for women in America. The piece incorporates text from throughout the history of women’s fight for equality, ranging from a letter written by Abigail Adams and words attributed to Sojourner Truth to public attacks directed at women protesting for the right to vote and political satire. Her Story is the latest in a series of compositions by Wolfe that highlight monumental and turbulent moments in American history and culture, and the people—both real and imagined, celebrated and forgotten—that defined them.
“Though we have yet to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, women have been battling for equality from the beginning of the nation,” says Wolfe. “Her Story captures the passion and perseverance of women refusing subordination, demanding representation, and challenging the prejudice and power structures that have limited women’s voices. The dynamic vocal artists of Lorelei Ensemble team up with five major American orchestras to tell this important yet much neglected thread of American political history.”
Rounding out the program is Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. The piece is inspired by The Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern folktales in which the Sultana Scheherazade tells the Sultan Shahriar a different story every night for a thousand and one nights until he spares her from a planned execution. Rimsky-Korsakov’s work is a marvel of orchestral color, narrative ingenuity, and melodic invention.
June 1–3: Manfred Honeck & Beatrice Rana
On June 1–3, Manfred Honeck, Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducts the San Francisco Symphony in a program featuring pianist Beatrice Rana. The concerts begin with the first SF Symphony performances of Gloria Isabel Ramos Triano’s amazon. Composed in 2021, the piece is inspired by the Amazon figures of Greek mythology. Ramos Triano says, “We all have images of those high-spirited women […] as strong and tough as men, vigorous and effective, yet who also show their feminine emotions.” amazon serves as a tribute not only to those mythical women but also to women today who are struggling or fighting in various ways.
Pianist Beatrice Rana joins the Symphony in her Orchestral Series debut to perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, a set of 24 variations on the last of Niccolò Paganini’s Caprices for solo violin. The work was an immediate success at its premiere (where it was performed by Rachmaninoff) and embodies the composer’s late style at its brilliant and witty best.
The June 1–3 program concludes with Franz Schubert’s Symphony in C major, The Great. The piece is Schubert’s final completed symphony, and it was not performed publicly in its entirety until 1839, more than a decade after Schubert’s death. When writing the Symphony in C major, Schubert was influenced strongly by Ludwig van Beethoven, not only in the work's length but also in its compositional approach.
CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:
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.
Davies Symphony Hall is located at 201 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco.
Health & Safety Information
Davies Symphony Hall is currently operating at full audience capacity. Based on the advice of the San Francisco Symphony’s Health and Safety Task Force, a face covering and vaccination against COVID-19 are strongly recommended but no longer required for entry into Davies Symphony Hall. These policies are subject to change. Visit sfsymphony.org/safety for the San Francisco Symphony’s complete up-to-date health and safety protocols.