R. Strauss and Schumann with Igor Levit and the SF Symphony

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2016-17 SeasonHailed as "one of the essential artists of his generation," (The New York Times) Igor Levit performs Schumann’s exhilarating Piano Concerto. Then, envision breathtaking Roman ruins and sweeping rural landscapes in Richard Strauss’ first tone poem, Aus Italien, inspired by the young composer’s trip to Italy.


Fabio Luisi


Igor Levit


San Francisco Symphony



Piano Concerto in A minor

R. Strauss

Aus Italien

All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.


Strauss' Aus Italien

At a Glance

Piano Concerto in A minor
 1845  |  31 mins
What makes for a great piano concerto? In 1839 Schumann wrote: “[W]e must await the genius who will show us in a newer and more brilliant way how orchestra and piano may be combined, how the soloist, dominant at the keyboard, may unfold the wealth of his instrument and his art, while the orchestra, no longer a mere spectator, may interweave its manifold facets into the scene.” That much-awaited genius would end up being Schumann himself. In 1841, he composed a one-movement Concert Phantasie for Piano and Orchestra. It didn’t make a huge splash, yet was also too good to abandon. Four years later Schumann went back and revised it into the first movement of his Piano Concerto in A minor. Now one of his most popular pieces, listeners will be struck by how much the piano and the orchestra interact.

Aus Italien
 1886  |  47 mins
The impetus for the composition of Aus Italien came from a three-month trip Strauss took to Italy during the summer of 1886. In the course of his visit, Strauss made the rounds of Verona, Bologna, Rome, Naples, and Florence, drinking in the country’s cultural highlights—museums, music, architectural treasures, archeological ruins—and generally falling under the spell of that nation. It comes as no surprise that he felt to memorialize his experiences through composition. Aus Italien was the ardent result.

Jeanette Yu is Director of Publications at the San Francisco Symphony.





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  1. Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  2. Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  3. Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

Pre- and post-show Events

Inside Music, an informative talk by Alexandra Amati-Camperi, begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders. Learn More.