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San Francisco Symphony


Symphony No. 5
Gustav Mahler


Davies Symphony Hall

Thu, Jan 25, 2024 at 10:00AM

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Event Description

When a 29-year-old conductor named Michael Tilson Thomas made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1974, leading Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, few could have foreseen that this would evolve into one of the most successful unions of composer, conductor, and orchestra in recent memory. Now, in celebration of 50 years performing Mahler together, MTT and the Symphony present Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which finds the composer at his most joyous and life-affirming.

Michael Tilson Thomas' appearance is supported by the Louise M. Davies Guest Conductor Fund. 

These concerts, a part of The Barbro and Bernard Osher Masterworks Series, are made possible by a generous gift from Barbro and Bernard Osher.

These concerts are generously sponsored by the William and Gretchen Kimball Fund.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Open rehearsals are endowed by a bequest from The Estate of Katharine Hanrahan.

At A Glance

In July 1901, Gustav Mahler turned to the writings of Friedrich Rückert, and with this new literary inspiration, his music became leaner and harder. Meanwhile, at least partly due to the composer’s recent acquisition of the complete works of J. S. Bach, Mahler’s orchestral textures become more complex. After attending the first rehearsal of his Fifth Symphony, Mahler wrote his wife: “Heavens, what is the public to make of this chaos in which new worlds are forever being engendered, only to crumble into ruin the next moment?” His comment was right on the money: For the symphony’s first listeners, this music ushered in an exceptionally new, modern sound for the 20th century.

Enrich Your Experience

      • [Open Rehearsal only] Thursday, January 25 from 9:00am-9:30am: Learn more about this program in a preconcert talk hosted by Sarah Cahill and presented from the stage. Free to all ticketholders.

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