Monday, December 06, 2010

SF Symphony Centennial Season

Sandwiches at the SymphonyThis afternoon at Davies Hall, the SF Symphony gave an invited audience a teasing preview of the up-coming 2011-2012 centennial season. Symphony President John D. Goldman introduced Executive Director Brent Assink & Maestro Michael Tilson-Thomas, who discussed the highlights. Most impressive was the announcement that SFS will present an American Orchestra series featuring 6 major orchestras in Davies Hall in one season: Boston led by Levine, Chicago led by Muti, Cleveland led by Welser-Möst, NY Phil led by Gilbert, Philadelphia led by Dutoit & LA Phil led by Dudamel. Mr. Assink said it was like inviting your friends to your birthday party.

We will get the return of the much-praised American Mavericks Festival in 2012, featuring composers John Cage, Morton Feldman, Carl Ruggles, Edgar Varése & Charles Ives. The festival includes a John Adams commission, Absolute Jest, which the composer describes as "the world's longest scherzo." A choral work called Mass Transmission has also been commissioned from Mason Bates, who was present at the announcement.

Opening night, September 7, 2011, will feature Lang Lang & Itzhak Perlman. Lang Lang will also participate in a free concert in Civic Center Plaza the next day. There will be a week of concerts called Barbary Coast and Beyond: Music from the Gold Rush to the Birth of the Symphony. MTT said he wants to present music that defined particular historical moments in America & hopes to create a "San Francisco version of last night at the Proms."

The hour-long presentation included videos & a Q&A session but was maddeningly short on specifics. Poor MTT was suffering from a bad case of laryngitis & probably felt even worse than he sounded, but he gamely talked up the season & praised the "week to week brilliance" of the orchestra. Attendees included arts administrators, patrons & media. There was some competitive jostling around the table of light refreshments.

Full details of the 2011-2012 season will be available on March 1st.


y2k said...

I'm so jealous that the Bay Area residents will get to sample all these wonderful orchestras without traveling afar!

Axel Feldheim said...

I know, it's pretty outrageous! I was a bit stunned when they announced it. There were no specifics about repertoire, but each orchestra is also supposed to be bring a commissioned work. Composers mentioned were Thomas Adès, Elliot Carter, Enrico Chapela, Anna Clyne (don't know her at all), Magnus Lindberg & Kaija Saariaho.