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Jaap van Zweden, Christian Reif, and Herbert Blomstedt conduct the SF Symphony in January, 2019

December 18, 2018

Public Relations
San Francisco Symphony
(415) 503-5474


 (High resolution images of Jaap van Zweden, Carey Bell, Christian Reif, and Johannes Moser, and Herbert Blomstedt are available for download from the San Francisco Symphony’s Online Photo Library.) 


On January 11–13, NY Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden leads the SF Symphony in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto performed by SFS Principal Clarinet Carey Bell

January 24–26 concerts, conducted by SFS Resident Conductor Christian Reif, feature the first SFS performances of Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto with cellist Johannes Moser making his SFS debut; Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5; and R. Strauss’ Don Juan

On January 31–February 2, SFS Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt leads the Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, Pastoral and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, Scottish

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Guest conductor Jaap van Zweden, Resident Conductor Christian Reif, and Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt lead the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in three diverse concert programs in January, at Davies Symphony Hall. On January 11–13, Jaap van Zweden, the acclaimed Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, returns to the Bay Area to conduct Bruckner’s monumental Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, featuring SFS Principal Clarinet Carey Bell. Completed the year of Mozart’s death, the Clarinet Concerto intertwines elegant lyrical passages with fiendish virtuosity and is considered a masterpiece of the instrument’s repertoire. In a glowing review of Bell’s 2008 performance of this concerto with the SFS, the San Francisco Chronicle noted, “It was about five minutes into Carey Bell's remarkable performance of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in Davies Symphony Hall on Wednesday night that I realized I was hearing a master storyteller at work.” Carey Bell is replacing Eugene Izotov, who was originally scheduled to perform Mozart’s Oboe Concerto in these concerts. Izotov is currently on medical leave due to an injury.

On January 24–26, Christian Reif—currently in his final season as SFS Resident Conductor and Wattis Foundation Music Director of the SFS Youth Orchestra—leads the San Francisco Symphony in R. Strauss’ passionate Don Juan and Prokofiev’s uplifting Symphony No. 5. Shortly after its successful premiere in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in 1945, Prokofiev wrote, “I regard the Fifth Symphony as the culmination of a long period of my creative life. I conceived of it as glorifying the grandeur of the human spirit…praising the free and happy man—his strength, his generosity, and the purity of his soul.” The symphony was received just as well abroad as it was on Soviet stages, even securing Prokofiev a place on the cover of Time Magazine following the American premiere later that year. These concerts also feature the SFS debut of German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser in the first SFS performances of Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto—one of the Polish composer’s most celebrated works. This replaces the previously announced performance of Andrew Norman’s Cello Concerto, which has been postponed to a later date. The Lutosławski Cello Concerto, along with the Dutilleux Cello Concerto, is featured on Moser’s most recent album, released in November 2018 on the label PENTATONE, for whom he records exclusively. Moser has performed with the world’s leading orchestras and is hailed by Gramophone Magazine as "one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists."

Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, who served as the SF Symphony’s Music Director from 1985 to 1995, conducts the Orchestra on January 31–February 2 in a program featuring two picturesque 19th-century symphonies, both of which drew inspiration from travel and nature—Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, Pastoral and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, Scottish. Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony, completed in 1842 and dedicated to “H.M. Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland,” commemorates a trip the composer took to Scotland, specifically finding inspiration in a visit to the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh. Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, full of expansive harmonies and exquisite melodies, reflects Beethoven’s love for nature and the idyllic atmosphere of his beloved Austrian countryside.

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