May 16, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO, CA— Pianist Igor Levit, the San Francisco Symphony’s Artist-in-Residence for the 2022–23 season, joins Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestra for two weeks of programs, June 15–27. Performances include Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 and Ferruccio Busoni’s Piano Concerto across two Orchestral Series programs with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony, in addition to a Great Performers Series solo recital and a chamber music performance with members of the Orchestra.
“Few things nowadays make me so happy than thinking forward to playing with the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka so extensively,” said Levit. “Especially when part of the program will be Busoni’s magnificent, heroic, huge, long, mounting, and really incredible piano concerto. Playing this piece doesn’t happen too often and getting the chance to play it with such a great orchestra and such a great conductor, in a way, leaves me speechless.”
“Igor Levit is perhaps the hottest pianist in Europe at the moment,” said Salonen. “He plays the piano on a supreme technical and musical level, and when he touches an old war horse piece, like a Beethoven piano concerto or a Brahms piano sonata, it’s almost like he’s a brilliant restorer of old paintings. He treats these paintings with utmost care and respect, but somehow the colors become vivid. It's a really magical touch he has in this sense. And I'm so especially excited that Igor has decided to play the Busoni Piano Concerto with us, which is the strangest piano concerto ever written. It's about 75 minutes long and needs a big orchestra and a chorus. And it's a massive but utterly fascinating journey, full of beauty, struggle, love, and pain.”
Levit became a household name in 2020 when he presented a daily concert online from his home for 50 consecutive days, offering music, hope, and connection during the pandemic. He has been described by the New York Times as one of the “most important artists of his generation,” was Musical America’s Recording Artist of the Year in 2020 and received the 2018 Gilmore Artist Award.
June 15–17: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 & Symphony No. 3, Eroica
June 15–17, Igor Levit joins Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony for a program of works by Ludwig van Beethoven. Levit opens the program with Piano Concerto No. 5, which represents the culmination of what has become known as the composer’s “heroic” manner—a period of several years when he composed most prolifically—and was his last piano concerto. The second portion of the program is dedicated to Beethoven’s expansive Third Symphony, Eroica. At the time it was completed in 1804, the Third Symphony was the longest work in the genre, utilizing a structure that was unprecedented in its magnitude and variety.
June 22, 24 and 25: Igor Levit plays Busoni’s Piano Concerto
On June 22, 24 & 25, in his second Orchestral Series concert, Levit performs Ferruccio Busoni’s Piano Concerto with Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, marking the San Francisco Symphony’s first performances of the work. Busoni’s Piano Concerto is one of the most massive and demanding piano concertos in the genre, featuring a large orchestra and chorus and clocking in at 75 minutes.
June 18: Chamber Series concert with members of the San Francisco Symphony
Levit joins members of the San Francisco Symphony for the final Chamber Series program of the 2022–23 season on June 18. The first half of the program features three short string pieces: Frank Bridge’s Lament for two violas, featuring Principal Viola Jonathan Vinocour and violist Leonid Plashinov-Johnson; and two pieces by fiddler and composer Mark O’Connor—Appalachia Waltz and Emily’s Reel—with Assistant Principal Second Violin Jessie Fellows, Assistant Principal Viola Katie Kadarauch, and Associate Principal Bass Daniel G. Smith.
On the second half of the program, Levit joins violinist Melissa Kleinbart, Principal Second Violin Dan Carlson, Principal Viola Jonathan Vinocour, and Assistant Principal Cello Amos Yang for Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor, Opus 57, one of the composer’s most well-known chamber works.
June 27: Great Performers Series recital with Igor Levit
In his Great Performers Series recital on June 27, Levit performs Johannes Brahms’ Six Chorale Preludes, arranged by Ferruccio Busoni; Fred Hersch’s Songs Without Words, which Levit commissioned; the prelude to Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, arranged by Zoltán Kocsis; and Franz Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor.
CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:
Tickets for concerts at Davies Symphony Hall 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.
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