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Frühbeck de Burgos and Weilerstein return to San Francisco Symphony

Rafael Frübeck de Burgos
Rafael Frübeck de Burgos
Photo: Steve J Sherman

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos leads the San Francisco Symphony this week in a program of works by Haydn and Rimsky-Korsakov - with cellist Alisa Weilerstein as guest soloist. These performances mark Maestro Frühbeck de Burgos’ first appearance with the Symphony since 1985, although his latest appearance at Davies Symphony Hall was with the Vienna Symphony in both 1994 and 1996. Ms Weilerstein last performed with the Symphony during the 2012 summer season, when she played the Dvořák Cello Concerto in a performance conducted by Michael Francis.

Spanish Maestro, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, is currently Chief Conductor of the Danish National Orchestra, and is a regular guest with North America’s finest orchestras. He appears at the Tanglewood Music Festival each year, and among the ensembles he’s conducting during this 2013-14 season, are the orchestras of New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Houston, Seattle and the New World Symphony.

Named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 2011, Maestro Frühbeck de Burgos has toured extensively with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the London Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Madrid, and the Swedish Radio Orchestra. He has toured North America with the Vienna Symphony, the Spanish National Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra.

American cellist, Alisa Weilerstein, made her debut with the Cleveland Orchestra at the age of just 13, playing the Tchaikovsky 'Rococo' Variations. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, she made her first appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1997, with the New York Youth Symphony. Ms Weilerstein was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2011, and has appeared with major orchestras and renowned conductors throughout the United States.

Described by The New York Times as “one of the most exciting American cellists of the new generation”, Ms Weilerstein has a list of engagements for the 2013-14 season which includes appearances with the Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston and Toronto symphonies, and with the Chicago, Israel and Los Angeles Philharmonics. She also performs in London with Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, appearing with James Gaffigan and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.

This week, with the San Francisco Symphony, Alisa Weilerstein plays Haydn’s Cello Concerto No 1 - a work which was written between 1761 and 1765, then lost for almost 200 years. Having been rediscovered in Czechoslavakia in 1961, the concerto received its first ‘modern’ performance on May 19, 1962, by the Czech Radio Symphony, directed by Charles Mackerras, with soloist Miloš Sádlo. Jacqueline du Pré was the soloist in the first performance of the work by the San Francisco Symphony - in February 1970 - conducted by Seiji Ozawa.

The opening work on the program is also by Haydn - his Symphony No 6, Le Matin, the opening work of a triptych entitled Times of the Day. It was written in the spring of 1761, after Haydn’s appointment as Vice-Capellmeister for the Esterházy princes. The other two symphonies - No 7, Le Midi, and No 8, Le Soir - are thought to have been written in the same year.

The concert ends with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade - probably his most famous work. This symphonic suite is based on the collection of stories - mainly of Middle Eastern and Indian origin - known as The Thousand and One Nights, a series of tales about Aladdin, Ali Baba and Sinbad the Sailor, told by Scheherazade to King Sharyar, to delay, and finally thwart, the king’s plans to put her to death.

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Alisa Weilerstein appear with the San Francisco Symphony on February 19, 21 and 22 at 8.00 pm, and on Thursday February 20 at 2.00 pm. For further information and tickets please visit the San Francisco Symphony website.

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