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OPEN REHEARSALS ARE ENDOWED BY A BEQUEST FROM THE ESTATE OF KATHARINE HANRAHAN.
KLAUS MÄKELÄ'S APPEARANCE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY THE SHENSON YOUNG ARTIST FUND.
Event DescriptionTwenty-five-year-old conductor Klaus Mäkelä leads the SF Symphony in Jimmy López Bellido's Perú Negro, a fantasy on Afro-Peruvian folksongs, while violinist Vilde Frang performs Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto, a work rife with the emotion of a composer grappling with the fragility of life. The program closes with Dmitri Shostakovich’s tragic Tenth Symphony, widely seen as a depiction of the composer’s terrifying life in Stalinist Russia.
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At A Glance
Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Jimmy López Bellido didn’t pay much attention to his country’s traditional musical culture until he moved away to pursue graduate study in Finland. “There,” he says, “I realized that in order to develop a distinct voice I could not continue ignoring my geographical origins.” Doctoral study at UC Berkeley helped cement his musical outlook, in which vibrant South American sounds are fused with the techniques of the European and American avant-garde. Composed in 2012, Perú negro draws on Afro-Peruvian songs and rhythms to build a propulsive sequence of six sections, unified by recognizable melodic motifs.
Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto is dedicated “To the Memory of an Angel,” the eighteen-year-old Manon Gropius, who had died of polio. The piece is built on the twelve-tone technique developed by Arnold Schoenberg, as well as on the Lutheran chorale “Es ist genug! Herr wenn es Dir gefällt” (It is enough! Lord, if it pleases You). Berg discovered that the opening notes of the chorale corresponded to the final four notes of his tone row (the sequence of pitches from which the piece is built), and that the words corresponded to what he was wanting to express: the inevitable resignation to death.
Dmitri Shostakovich was an essential composer who functioned in a society tyrannically demanding of its artists. His Tenth Symphony is viewed by many as a portrait of Joseph Stalin. Its first movement is darkly brooding. The next movement, the supposed Stalin portrait, crashes forward at relentless speed and fury. In the final movements, Shostakovich literally inserts himself into the music using the German transliteration of his name (Schostakowitsch) to yield the initials DSCH: an indelible four-note motif that became his musical calling card.