Booking is now open for individual tickets for the San Francisco Symphony’s 2014-15 season - which features at least two important events - the 20th year of Michael Tilson Thomas’ collaboration with the Symphony, and MTT’s 70th birthday in January 2015. There’s much to celebrate, and the season is every bit as varied and exciting as you’d expect.
Let’s take a look at just some of the highlights
Top honors have to go to the MTT 70th Birthday Gala, in which the Symphony’s Music Director invites the audience to share his very special occasion. The date is January 15, and, since the piano was MTT’s first love, the line-up of guest artists includes some of the world’s greatest exponents - Emanuel Ax, Jeremy Denk, Marc-André Hamelin, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Yuja Wang. The full program has yet to be announced, but we can be sure that it will be an evening of scintillating performances.
For many Symphony enthusiasts, the Beethoven Festival will be high on the list of favorites. Taking place over three weeks in June 2015, it includes a semi-staged production of the grand Missa solemnis, concert performances of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, and a program entitled Beethoven Marathon - a recreation of the historic four-hour concert which took place in December 1808 at the Theater an der Wien. Included in this concert are Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth symphonies, and his Piano Concerto No 4.
Throughout the season, the Symphony celebrates the contribution of American composers to the symphonic repertory. The concerts which feature The American Sound include works by Mason Bates, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Johan Adams, Samuel Adams, John Luther Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen - who will also conduct the performance of his work entitled Nyx - John Cage and, of course, Leonard Bernstein.
Amongst the stars included in the concerts featuring Brilliant Violins are Isabelle Faust with the Britten Violin Concerto, Gil Shaham who plays concertos by Mozart and Prokofiev, Anne-Sophie Mutter with the Brahms Violin Concerto, Joshua Bell who performs the Beethoven concerto, Janine Jansen whose chosen work is the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, and Itzhak Perlman in recital.
Other eminent guests include Yefim Bronfman, Jonathan Biss, Gautier Capuçon, Kyrill Gerstein, Benjamin Grosvenor, Garrick Ohlsson and Leif Ove Andsnes.
On the podium we can also expect to see illustrious figures such as Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Byckov, Charles Dutoit, Pablo Heras-Casado,Ton Koopman, Bernard Labadie and Vasily Petrenko.
Among the visiting ensembles are the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Vladimir Jurowski, the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer, the Rotterdam Philharmonic under Yannick Nézet Séguin, Myung Whun-Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, John Eliot Gardner and the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by MTT, with Yuja Wang playing the Gershwin Piano Concerto.
The season includes works by Handel and Haydn, Vivaldi and Bach, by the great Russians - Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Stravinsky - by Brahms and Bruckner, by Mahler, Ravel and Elgar, and by Barber and Bartók.
There’s also a series of music from the movies in which the Symphony accompanies the screening of a host of memorable films. The Wizard of Oz celebrates its 75th anniversary, The Godfather has its US premiere with live orchestra, for Halloween a restored version of the 1920 silent film, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, is accompanied by the Ruffatti organ, and Gotta Dance! celebrates some of the greatest dance sequences from the world of film.
Full details of the programs and performers are available from the San Francisco Symphony website.