It is no secret that, for all of the extensive interest that Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) has invested in the works of Gustav Mahler, that composer’s ninth symphony has been one of his personal favorites. Here in San Francisco that is perfectly understandable, since he made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) conducting that piece in 1974. (MTT was 29 at the time.) His most recent performance was in May of 2011, when it was the first piece performed in a series of concerts commemorating the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth and the 100th anniversary of his death. It had been scheduled for performance last March to preview a three-city four-concert visit to the East Coast, but both the San Francisco performances and the tour were cancelled due to the strike. In a more enduring capacity, the Mahler ninth received significant attention in MTT’s most recent Keeping Score project with SFS, Mahler: Origins and Legacy.
Next month MTT will return to the Mahler ninth. The performances will again serve as a tour preview. MTT will be performing it with SFS on November 14 at Carnegie Hall and on November 16 at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
As in the past, Mahler’s symphony will be the only work on the program. That program will be given four performances in Davies Symphony Hall at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18, Thursday, September 19, Friday, September 20, and Saturday, September 21. The speaker for the Inside Music talk, given one hour prior to performance, will be Scott Foglesong. In addition, a free audio podcast about the symphony, hosted by KDFC’s Rik Malone, will be posted on the Program Note Podcasts Web page on the SFS Web site. Ticket prices range from $15 to $156. They may be purchased online at 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.