View Tickets Browse Concerts


Alisa Weilerstein


San Francisco Symphony


Don Quixote
Richard Strauss
D’un soir triste [San Francisco Symphony Premiere]
Lili Boulanger
Concerto for Orchestra
Witold Lutosławski


Davies Symphony Hall

Fri, May 13, 2022 at 7:30PM

Buy Now

Davies Symphony Hall

Sat, May 14, 2022 at 7:30PM

Buy Now

Davies Symphony Hall

Sun, May 15, 2022 at 2:00PM

Buy Now

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

Event Description

Conductor Karina Canellakis leads the SF Symphony and cellist Alisa Weilerstein in a concert featuring Richard Strauss’ stunning Don Quixote for solo cello and orchestra. One moment brilliant and triumphant, the next farcical, sometimes sad, the music paints a nuanced portrait of Cervantes’ complicated and compelling title character. The program also features Lili Boulanger’s D’un soir triste, a brooding work she wrote shortly before her death at age 24, and Witold Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, brimming with folk-inspired melodies and sweeping musical gestures.

For more information, including full program notes, visit the San Francisco Symphony’s digital program book platform at sfsymphony.encoreplus.app or text “SFS Concert” to 55741.

At A Glance

In October 1896, the idea of composing a Don Quichote (as he then preferred to spell it) occurred to Richard Strauss. Structured as a theme and variations with prominent solo cello and viola parts, the tone poem is based on Miguel de Cervantes’s early seventeenth-century novel Don Quixote de la Mancha. Don Quixote is a minor noble who reads so many chivalric romances that he becomes convinced he is a knight. The farmer Sancho Panza becomes his squire, and together they embark on ill-fated adventures, tilting at windmills and taking on armies of sheep.

Lili Boulanger had made much of her twenty-four years when she died in 1918, leaving behind a small but choice oeuvre. She conceived D’un soir triste (Of a Sad Evening) as a piano trio but created parallel settings for other forces, including the version for large orchestra played here. Dogged by poor health throughout her life, she was nearing her end as she composed this work. It does seem a deathbed piece, a dirge that marches relentlessly on while disconsolate emotions surge, recede, and surge again.

An icon of Polish Modernism, Witold Lutosławski made many important musical statements. He adapted to Stalinist dictums by developing an idiom that was decidedly personal and modern, but that nonetheless paid homage to populist folk music. Direct impetus for his Concerto for Orchestra came from the conductor Witold Rowicki, who asked Lutosławski to write a piece based on folk sources for a performance by the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra. What he received is a brilliant showpiece that is indeed a virtuoso vehicle for the orchestra.

Concert Extras

Pre-Concert Talk: Join us for an informative “Inside Music” talk from the stage with Scott Foglesong. Free to all ticketholders, these talks begin one hour before the May 13-15 performances. Doors open 15 minutes before.

Please wait...