With the 2013-14 San Francisco Symphony season having been announced, it’s clear that Michael Tilson Thomas and the Symphony have put together a highly creative and star-studded program which will appeal as much to traditionalists as those with more adventurous tastes in music. It’s also certain that audiences are in for some wonderful concerts.
This next season will be MTT’s 19th as Music Director with the SFS. Currently the longest-tenured music director of any major American orchestra, he says: “One of the great rewards of a long partnership between a conductor and an orchestra is the opportunity to explore works old and new, by many composers. Just as we continue to examine the music of Beethoven and find new pathways into hearing his work, it is important to develop and support composers writing today, and treat new music in the way we treat music of the past - to revisit it over the years.”
The Symphony’s 102nd season opens with a gala performance on September 3 - an all-American program featuring soprano Audra McDonald - which includes Gershwin’s An American in Paris and Antheil’s Jazz Symphony.
Included in the succession of season highlights is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, and three weeks of some of Beethoven’s less frequently performed works, paired with three recent compositions by Mason Bates - Bay Area composer and electronica artist.
Pablo Heras-Casado returns to lead a two-week festival featuring the music of Mendelssohn, with Thomas Adès, and in the season-long focus on J S Bach there are performances by some of today's leading exponents of his music - Ton Koopman, András Schiff and Christian Tetzlaff.
Also on the list of guest conductors are Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Marek Janowski, Edwin Outwater and Osmo Vänskä.
Returning guest soloists include Emanuel Ax, Christine Brewer, Yefim Bronfman, Jeremy Denk, James Ehnes, Julia Fischer, Kirill Gerstein, Hélène Grimaud, Janine Jansen, Leila Josefowicz, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, Garrick Ohlsson, Gil Shaham, Stuart Skelton, Toby Spence, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Simon Trpčeski, Elza van den Heever, Yuja Wang and Alisa Weilerstein.
Amongst the debut performances with the SF Symphony are those by conductors Lionel Bringuier and Jaap van Zweden, and guest artists Martin Helmchen and Daniil Trifonov.
Yuja Wang and Mason Bates are the Project San Francisco resident artists for the season, and they’ll be collaborating with the Symphony in concerts, chamber music and lectures, as well as in education and community events.
There’s a new series of informal, experimental musical evenings highlighting musicians of the SF Symphony, Bay Area artists and composers, and also the West Coast premiere of composer Zosha Di Castri’s commissioned work - part of the inaugural New Voices composer initiative.
Included in the Great Performers Series are Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with Yuja Wang as soloist, and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, led by Yuri Temirkanov. Pinchas Zukerman directs the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in an all-Beethoven program - in which he plays the Violin Concerto - and Gidon Kremer appears with his Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra. Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings an all-Russian program, including pieces by Shostakovich, and pianists include Murray Perahia and Evgeny Kissin - performing solo recitals - as well as Katia and Marielle Labèque who appear in a special all-American concert featuring works by Philip Glass, Gershwin and Bernstein.
There’s a new film series - which includes A Night at the Oscars, City Lights, Fantasia and the first live performances of the complete score of Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
The San Francisco Symphony tours the US in November this year, and travels to Europe for a three-week tour in March 2014. On its SFS Media label, the Orchestra releases recordings of music by Beethoven, and will record performances of music by Bates and Beethoven for future release.
For detailed information about the 2013-14 season, visit the San Francisco Symphony website