Sep 2, 2022
High-resolution images of the San Francisco Symphony and guest artist headshots are available for download from the Online Photo Library
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the San Francisco Symphony in the first four Orchestral Series programs of the 2022–23 season, September 24, September 29–October 2, October 7–9, and October 13–15, at Davies Symphony Hall. Across four programs, Salonen conducts three world or U.S. premieres by composers Daniel Kidane, Magnus Lindberg, and Trevor Weston, and welcomes the Orchestral Series debuts of violinist Randall Goosby and soprano Golda Schulz and return appearances by mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung and pianist Yuja Wang.
These performances follow the Orchestra and Salonen’s Opening Night Gala and All San Francisco performances of Felix Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the African-American Shakespeare Company, sopranos Anne-Marie MacIntosh and Elisa Sunshine, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus on September 23 and 22, respectively. Salonen returns to the podium October 20 & 22 and October 27–29 for two weeks of programs of works inspired by myth, magic, and horror.
September 24: Also sprach Zarathustra
On September 24, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony open the program with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Overture to the comic opera The Impresario, composed for festivities given in Vienna in early 1786 by Emperor Joseph II. Violinist Randall Goosby, in his SF Symphony Orchestral Series debut, then joins Salonen and the Orchestra for the SF Symphony premiere of Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 2. The single-movement work, imbued with Price's unique musical language, was her last large-scale composition, composed in 1952, a year before her death. Concluding the program is Richard Strauss’ epic tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra, based on Friedrich Nietzsche’s four-part treatise which delves into themes of human existence, aspiration, and the human spirit’s search for perfection. Salonen last conducted Also sprach Zarathustra with the San Francisco Symphony in his first performances as Music Director Designate in January 2019.
September 29, October 1 & 2: Salonen conducts Mahler 2 and the world premiere of Trevor Weston’s Push
On September 29–October 2, Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the Orchestra in the world premiere of Push, a new work by Trevor Weston—the inaugural winner of the Emerging Black Composers Project, sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) and San Francisco Symphony. Launched in 2020 and underwritten by Michèle and Laurence Corash, the project includes a ten-year commitment to spotlight early career Black American composers and their music. The inaugural selection committee was led by the late Oakland Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan, SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
The title of Weston’s new work, Push, was inspired by a quote from Antonín Dvořák following his stay in the United States in 1895: “The enthusiasm of most Americans for all things new is apparently without limit. It is the essence of what is called ‘American push.’” In an interview with the San Francisco Symphony, Weston said, “This piece seemed like a great opportunity to use that as a title. In the same quote, [Dvořák] talks about being criticized for advocating the use of plantation songs as a basis for American classical music, and points out that the immensely popular songs by Stephen Foster came from the same, African-American source. I thought that was pretty observant in 1895. So in writing this piece, I wanted to connect to that reality, that a lot of American music has connections to African-American music.” Weston dedicated the second movement of the new commission to Michael Morgan, who passed away in August 2021.
The concert also features Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, a realization of the composer’s views on universal themes of life, death, and the, with Salonen conducting the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, joined by mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung and soprano Golda Schultz in her SF Symphony Orchestral Series debut.
October 6-9: The Firebird
October 7–9 concerts open with the U.S. premiere of Sun Poem by Daniel Kidane, a work exploring ideas of fatherhood and heritage, based on the same-titled poem of Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite. Co-commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra, Sun Poem received its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival on August 18, 2022, with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
In an interview with the LSO, Kidane said, “Last year I lost my father to cancer and this year I became a father myself, so it’s quite a personal journey of looking at my own heritage and how it’s interconnected with now becoming a father. This is quite an exciting piece—it’s supposed to reflect the idea and the journey of fatherhood up until the point when the newborn comes into the world, so hopefully it captures some of that excitement and turbulence as well.”
The program continues with two works inspired by folklore. Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the SF Symphony in Jean Sibelius’s brooding tone poem Luonnotar, based on Finnish mythology with text from the Kalevala depicting the creation of the heavens and earth, performed by soprano Golda Schultz. Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird concludes the program, with Salonen leading the Orchestra in the complete score of this groundbreaking ballet based on Russian folk tales of the mystical Firebird.
The October 6 performance of this program takes place at UC Davis’ Mondavi Center as part of the venue’s 20th anniversary season. The October 7–9 performances take place at Davies Symphony Hall.
October 13-15: Esa-Pekka Salonen & Yuja Wang perform the world premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 3
On October 13–15, pianist Yuja Wang joins Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Orchestra in world premiere performances of Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 3, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony. Both of a generation of groundbreaking Finnish composers that includes Kaija Saariaho and Jouni Kaipainen, Salonen and Lindberg have been close collaborators and friends since they were students at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in the 1970s.
Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is dedicated to Wang, whose virtuosic musicianship inspired the composer. “I had seen her play in Hamburg, and I got to speak with her after the concert and I thought, “ah!, if ever there were a chance to compose something for her, that would be my goal,’” Lindberg told the San Francisco Symphony in an interview. “So when I began working on this concerto I decided to tailor everything for her; I wanted to make it something that would attach to her world. I like that idea very much. It was not giving up any of my musical ideas; just shaping them. That is the luxury of writing concertos; you can do it for someone personally.”
Also on the program are Carl Nielsen’s sun-drenched Helios Overture, a work inspired by the Aegean coast, and Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, which showcases the musicians of the SF Symphony with solo turns for almost every instrument.
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 is strongly recommended but not required for entry into Davies Symphony Hall beginning with the start of the Orchestra’s 2022–23 season. The San Francisco Symphony requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for everyone entering Davies Symphony Hall ages 12 and up who’s eligible—including patrons, performers, volunteers, and staff. “Full vaccination” is defined as two weeks after completion of the two-dose regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or other WHO authorized COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, proof of booster shots is not required. Patrons under age 12 must show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (PCR test taken within 2 days of event entry or antigen [rapid] test taken within 1 day of event entry). These policies are subject to change. Visit sfsymphony.org/safety for the San Francisco Symphony’s complete up-to-date health and safety protocols.
[To view or download the full PDF version of this press release, click on DOWNLOAD A PDF]