MTT’s From the Diary of Anne Frank & Beethoven's Eroica

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San Francisco Symphony


Symphony No. 3, Eroica

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

From the Diary of Anne Frank

Michael Tilson Thomas


Beethoven Symphony No. 3, Eroica

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

Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 5:00PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 11:00PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Sat, Nov 17, 2018 at 11:00PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Sun, Nov 18, 2018 at 5:00PM

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Event Description

Music as a Human Right

We believe that access to music and the arts are a human right. Join us as we celebrate music as a unifying space for community, compassion, healing, teaching, and social justice. Leave empowered by the triumph of the human spirit.

Marking the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, hear Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard narrate Michael Tilson Thomas’ spellbinding musical setting From the Diary of Anne Frank, a piece written for friend and UNICEF ambassador Audrey Hepburn. Then, experience Beethoven’s monumental testament to liberty, the exhilarating Eroica Symphony.  

As advocates of peace and hope through the message of music, the entire San Francisco Symphony family extends its deepest sympathies to those affected by the tragic events of October 27 in Pittsburgh. These concerts are dedicated to the memory of the victims.

Tickets to these concerts have been provided free of charge to volunteers and staff from a variety of Bay Area social justice and human rights organizations.

An exhibit in the First Tier lobby explores the ways the SF Symphony honors, fosters, and supports our "right to participate in the cultural life of the community," as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Free to all concert ticket holders



From the Diary of Anne Frank  1990  |  36 mins
MTT offers these comments: "From the Diary of Anne Frank is a melodrama in the form of symphonic variations. It was written for Audrey Hepburn. Audrey had grown up in occupied Holland; she was exactly the same age as Anne Frank and identified strongly with her—and with the suffering of all children. This work was written as a vehicle for Audrey in her role as an ambassador for UNICEF. It takes its shape primarily from the diary passages that Audrey and I selected and read together. While some of the words concern tragic events, so many of them reflect the youthful, optimistic, inquisitive, and compassionate spirit of their author. Above all, we wanted these qualities to come through in the piece, and so I have derived the themes . . . from turns of phrases in traditional Jewish music, especially the hymn to life, Kaddish. . . . I now realize that so much of this work is a reflection not only of Anne Frank, but of Audrey Hepburn. Audrey's simplicity, her deeply caring nature, the ingenuous sing-song of her voice are all present in the phrase shapes of the orchestra. The work would never have existed without her, and it is dedicated to her."  MORE  

Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55, Eroica  1804  |  50 mins
In May 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French. That bold move disenchanted Ludwig van Beethoven, who angrily scratched out his dedication to Napoleon of the newly completed Third Symphony. The score was published instead as a sinfonia eroica—a “heroic symphony . . . composed to celebrate the memory of a great man.” Its first performances were met with conflicting sentiment, with some shocked at the piece’s “lawlessness.” Beethoven had given his audience plenty to talk about—among which included writing a symphony twice as long as they would have expected, with unprecedented demands for orchestral virtuosity, tremendously complex harmonies, and an unbridled force of rhetoric. LISTEN FOR: The symphony’s first audiences questioned weird details like the famous “wrong” French horn entrance during the first movement (the horn confidently reaches an E-flat chord before the rest of the orchestra manages to get there!). In its day, another major departure from form was the shift of the music’s center of gravity from the first movement to the work's finale. Today, we hardly notice this, as Beethoven’s empowering Third set new standards for all symphonic music that followed. As it hurdles to the end, we experience Beethoven fulfilling his “heroic symphony” triumphantly in the affirmative.  MORE  

JEANETTE YU is Editorial Director at the San Francisco Symphony.



Concert Extras

Pre-Concert Panel Discussion: Steven Winn moderates a panel discussion exploring Music as a Human Right, one hour prior to each of these concerts. Free to all concert ticket holders.

Thursday, November 15 (matinee)

Nicholas Platoff, Associate Principal Trombone

Terry Beswick, Executive Director of the LGBTQ History Museum

Steven Winn, Moderator

Friday, November 16

Adrienne Sengpiehl, Violinist and SFS Music for Mentor’s Coach

David H. Stull, President of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Steven Winn, Moderator

Saturday, November 17

Jerome Simas, Bass Clarinet

Sheryl Evans Davis, Executive Director of the SF Human Rights Commission

Steven Winn, Moderator

Sunday, November 18 (matinee)

Jonathan Vinocour, Principal Viola

Lori Starr, Executive Director of the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Steven Winn, Moderator

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