Aug 31, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO, CA— Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the San Francisco Symphony in the first three Orchestral Series programs of the 2023–24 season, September 29–October 1, October 6 & 7, and October 12–14, at Davies Symphony Hall. The programs feature acclaimed guest artists Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Collaborative Partner Pekka Kuusisto, as well as world premiere performances of new works by Anders Hillborg and Jesper Nordin, and the West Coast premiere of a work by Wynton Marsalis.
These performances follow the Salonen and the Orchestra’s Opening Night Gala and All San Francisco concerts on September 22 and 23 featuring Richard Strauss’s picaresque Don Juan; Gustav Mahler’s love-sick Songs of a Wayfarer, featuring baritone Simon Keenlyside in his San Francisco Symphony debut; Anders Hillborg’s Rap Notes, featuring Oakland-based musician, educator, and activist Kev Choice, conceiver and creator of Freestyle Love Supreme Anthony Veneziale (Two-Touch), and soprano Hila Plitmann; and Maurice Ravel’s captivating and hypnotic Boléro.
September 29–October 1: Salonen conducts An Alpine Symphony
September 29–October 1, Salonen and the Orchestra are joined by violinist Leonidas Kavakos for Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, one of the most popular and beloved works in the genre. The program also features the West Coast premiere of Wynton Marsalis’s Herald, Holler and Hallelujah!, a fanfare for brass and percussion which received its world premiere by the New Jersey Symphony in November 2022. Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony, which depicts a teenaged Strauss’s day-long hike of an Alpine mountain, closes the program. One of Strauss’s most grandly scaled works, An Alpine Symphony features expansive woodwind, brass, and percussion sections, including an offstage ensemble of twelve horns, two trumpets, and two trombones to represent a hunting party near the work’s beginning.
Prior to and during intermission of this program, audiences can see several rare and historic horns from San Francisco Symphony Principal Horn Robert Ward and section horn Jonathan Ring’s personal collections on display in the Davies Symphony Hall lobbies. On Friday, September 29, at 6:30pm, Ward and Ring will participate in a preconcert discussion about Strauss’s relationship with the horn. (Free to all ticket holders.)
October 6 & 7: Salonen conducts the world premiere of Jesper Nordin’s Convergence with Pekka Kuusisto
Pekka Kuusisto joins Salonen and the Orchestra for the world premiere of composer and developer Jesper Nordin’s violin concerto Convergence, October 6 & 7. Kuusisto and Nordin, along with members of the San Francisco Symphony, premiered a portion of Convergence at their jointly curated SoundBox performances in February 2023. Convergence features Reactional Music, an electronic instrument invented by Nordin that Salonen will play while conducting the piece, with Kuusisto performing and improvising alongside him. The performance will feature video projections by French visual artist Thomas Penanguer, created live during each performance. Before each performance of Convergence, Nordin and Salonen will give an in-concert demonstration and discussion of Reactional Music from the stage.
The second half of the program features John Adams’ Naïve and Sentimental Music, inspired in part by Friedrich Schiller’s essay, “On Naive and Sentimental Poetry.” Adams dedicated the work to Esa-Pekka Salonen, who conducted the world premiere of the work with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1999.
October 12–14: Emanuel Ax performs the world premiere of Anders Hillborg’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Salonen and the SF Symphony
October 12–14, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Emanuel Ax, and the San Francisco Symphony give the world premiere Anders Hillborg’s witty and colorful new Piano Concerto No. 2, a San Francisco Symphony commission which the composer wrote expressly for Ax. Salonen and Hillborg are longtime friends and collaborators, and Salonen has conducted upwards of 10 world premieres by the composer. The program also includes Johannes Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn, one of the first set of orchestral variations in music history, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2.
On Thursday, October 6, at 6:30pm, composer Anders Hillborg will participate in a preconcert discussion of his work on stage at Davies Symphony Hall. (Free to all ticket holders.)
[To view or download the full PDF version of this press release, click DOWNLOAD A PDF]