It’s billed as the most elegant party in town, and - hosted by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, with guest artists Yuja Wang and Bonnie Raitt - the Gala Opening of the Symphony’s 2014-15 season will most certainly be a very glamorous occasion.
This performance heralds a particularly special season for both MTT and the Symphony, celebrating MTT’s 20th year as Music Director - the longest of any American orchestra and its Music Director today - and the program is simply glorious!
Singer and songwriter Bonnie Raitt marks her debut with the Symphony in a presentation of classics from the American Songbook, the sensational Yuja Wang is guaranteed to raise the roof with her performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and there are works by three Russian masters - Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Prokofiev.
The Tchaikovsky work is his Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture - with its searingly beautiful love theme. Stravinsky is represented by his Scherzo à la russe which was given its first performance for full orchestra by the San Francisco Symphony in March 1946, at a concert conducted by the composer himself. The program ends with excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet - a work which Michael Tilson Thomas and the Symphony recorded during the first three months of MTT’s tenure as Music Director, and with which the Symphony won its first Grammy with MTT, in 1996.
The mood for this black-tie event is set with a pre-concert glass of sparkling wine, and following the performance the after-party takes off in the tented pavilion, where there’s dancing and entertainment to be enjoyed, along with cocktails and offerings from some of San Francisco’s finest restaurants. All this is included in your concert ticket, and - to quote a Gershwin line: Who could ask for anything more?!
The Gala Opening of the 2014-15 San Francisco Symphony season takes place at Davies Symphony Hall on Wednesday, September 3. Full details are available on the SFS website.
Michael Tilson Thomas and the Symphony continue the opening week of the season with concerts on Friday and Saturday, September 5 and 6. These concerts again feature the Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Prokofiev works, but the guest artist is the highly acclaimed young British pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor, who plays Ravel’s jazz-inspired Piano Concerto in G major. Winner of the piano section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2004 competition, Benjamin Grosvenor recently peformed the Chopin Piano Concerto No 1 at the first of his two BBC Proms appearances this season, a performance described by Hilary Finch of The Times as “..... elegant, fluent and graceful, possessing brilliance and clarity”. Gramophone magazine hails him as a “talent not heard since Kissin’s teenage Russian debut”.
For further information on these concerts, and for tickets, please visit the San Francisco Symphony website.