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February will begin with the SFS debut of conductor Lionel Bringuier

Pianist Hélène Grimaud and conductor Lionel Bringuier
Pianist Hélène Grimaud and conductor Lionel Bringuier
courtesy of the San Francisco Symphony

The first San Francisco Symphony (SFS) concerts for next month will feature the debut of French conductor Lionel Bringuier. From 2007 to 2013 Bringuier had served as Resident Conductor at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, having worked with Music Directors Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel. He will begin serving as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich for the 2014–15 season.

His guest artist will also be French, the pianist Hélène Grimaud. Grimaud last performed with SFS in January of 2011, working again with a young conductor, Kirill Karabits. On that occasion she performed Robert Schumann’s Opus 54 concerto in A minor. With Bringuier she will present Johannes Brahms’ Opus 15 concerto in D minor (his first). Brahms first started working on this concerto following Schumann’s attempted suicide in 1854, but he only completed it two years after Schumann’s death in 1856.

The second half of the program will feature a return performance of Henri Dutilleux’ “Métaboles,” last performed when Semyon Bychkov visited SFS in November of 2009. On that occasion Bychkov also performed Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse,” a composer Dutilleux greatly admired. Listeners will be able to appreciate the extent to which Ravel influenced Dutilleux when Bringuier performs “La Valse” immediately after “Métaboles.”

This concert will be given three performances in Davies, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5, and Friday, February 7, and at 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 6. The Inside Music talk will be given by James Keller and, as usual, will begin one hour prior to the concert and last about half an hour. Admission is free to all ticket holders. Ticket prices for this concert range from $15 to $157; and tickets may be purchased online through the hyperlinks on the event page for this program. Tickets are also available for purchase at the Davies Box Office on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street or by calling 415-864-6000.