This month, Gordon Getty - composer, philanthropist and generous supporter of the San Francisco Symphony - celebrates his 80th birthday. To mark the occasion, Michael Tilson Thomas leads the SF Symphony and Chorus in a special concert, with world renowned tenor Plácido Domingo, on Monday January 6 at Davies Symphony Hall.
The only public celebration of Getty’s birthday, the concert also features guest artists Frederica von Stade, Lisa Delan and pianist Robin Sutherland, in a program which includes music by Beethoven, Delibes,Tallis, Strauss Jr, Mahler, Lehár, Verdi and Gordon Getty himself.
Mr Getty, who was raised in San Francisco and is an alumnus of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, is a long-standing Board member of the SF Symphony. He and his wife, Ann, have provided leadership and generous support for some the Symphony’s most important initiatives, included in which are the acoustic renovation of Davies Symphony Hall in 1990, the Grammy® Award-winning Mahler recording cycle, and the Orchestra’s international tours.
With compositions performed widely in North America and Europe, Gordon Getty was honored as an Outstanding American Composer at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1986, and in 2003 he was awarded the Gold Baton of the American Symphony Orchestra League. His works have been performed by the San Francisco Symphony on many occasions, and include two world premieres and one West Coast premiere. Most of Getty’s works feature the voice, but he has also written for orchestra, chamber ensembles and solo piano.
Describing his style as “undoubtedly tonal, though with hints of atonality”, Getty says that he “represents a viewpoint that stands somewhat apart from the twentieth century, which was in large measure a repudiation of the nineteenth and a sock in the nose to sentimentality. Whatever it was that the great Victorian composers and poets were trying to achieve, that’s what I’m trying to achieve”.
Plácido Domingo’s appearance at this celebratory concert marks his return to the San Francisco Symphony for the first time since his debut performance in 1973. With over 3600 performances to his credit - and having appeared in more than 140 different roles - Mr Domingo has conducted more than 450 opera performances and symphonic concerts, founded the international voice competition, Operalia, and has celebrated 40th anniversaries at the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Arena dei Verona and Covent Garden. He has also made more than 100 recordings - winning 12 Grammy® Awards - over 50 music videos, won two Emmy Awards, and starred in three feature opera films.
One of the most beloved musical figures of our time, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade has a career in opera, concert and recital which spans three decades. She is well known to audiences around the world through her many featured appearances on television, which include several PBS specials and Live from Lincoln Center telecasts.
American soprano Lisa Delan - recognized for her versatility and accomplishment in opera, song and recording - has performed on some of the world’s leading concert stages, including Lincoln Center, the Auditiorio Nacional in Madrid, the Moscow Conservatory, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, and in a special appearance at Windsor Castle. Ms Delan sang the title role in the world premiere of Gordon Getty’s Joan and the Bells in 1998, a role she has since reprised in France, Germany, the US and Russia,
Michael Tilson Thomas and Plácido Domingo celebrate Gordon Getty on Monday, January 6, at Davies Symphony Hall, with the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus led by Ragnar Bohlin. For further information and tickets, please visit the SF Symphony website.