The program opens with Sibelius’ Night Ride and Sunrise, followed by Trifonov’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s glorious Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, and the program ends with the Symphony No 6 by Sibelius.
Osmo Vänskä has been a frequent guest of the San Francisco Symphony, his last appearance here having been in May 2012. He is particularly known for his interpretations of the music of fellow countryman, Jean Sibelius, and recorded a complete cycle of Sibelius’ music whilst Principal Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
He recorded the Sibelius Second and Fifth Symphonies as Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2012 - which was nominated for a Grammy® Award - and it has just been announced that his recording of the Sibelius First and Fourth Symphonies, again with the Minnesota Orchestra, has won the 2014 Grammy® Award for Best Orchestral Performance.
Mr Vänskä was formerly Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He is the recipient of a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, was named Musical America’s 2005 Conductor of the Year, and also received the Arts and Letters award from the Finlandia Foundation.
In addition to honorary doctorates from the University of Glasgow and the University of Minnesota, Osmo Vänskä was given the 2010 Ditson Award from Columbia University for his support of American music, and in 2013 he received the Annual Award from the German Record Critics' Award Association for his extensive involvement in BIS’s project to record the complete works of Sibelius.
Daniil Trifonov’s appearance this week marks his debut with the San Francisco Symphony. The 21-year-old pianist last appeared at Davies Symphony Hall in February 2013 with the Russian National Orchestra with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 3 and the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1.
Following Daniil Trifonov's triumph in the final of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2011, Martha Argerich observed: “What he does with his hands is technically incredible. It’s also his touch – he has tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that.”
Trifonov’s debut recording for Deutsche Gramophone in the US was released just this week. Entitled Trifonov: The Carnegie Recital, it features his performances of Liszt’s B-minor Sonata, Scriabin’s “Sonata-Fantasy”, Chopin’s 24 Preludes, and the second of Medtner’s Four Fairy Tales. When this album was released in Europe, Germany’s Bayerischer Rundfunk said, “At 21, Daniil Trifonov has already cultivated a pianistic freedom that … will probably remain out of most pianists’ reach all their lives.”
Daniil Trifonov returns to Carnegie Hall for a recital on February 6, and this season will see his debuts with the Detroit, Houston and National Symphony Orchestras.
Osmo Vänskä and Daniil Trifonov appear with the San Francisco Symphony from January 30 to February 1, at Davies Symphony Hall. Please note that the concert on January 30 starts at 2.00 pm, and those on January 31 and February 1 at 8.00 pm. For further information please visit the San Francisco Symphony website.