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Gustavo Dudamel


Jorge Glem


San Francisco Symphony


Gabriela Ortiz
Odisea: Concerto for Venezuelan Cuatro and Orchestra
[First San Francisco Symphony Performances]
Gonzalo Grau

Symphony No. 2

Johannes Brahms
All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.


Davies Symphony Hall

Fri, Nov 24, 2023 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Sat, Nov 25, 2023 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Sun, Nov 26, 2023 at 2:00PM

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Event Description

The title of Gabriela Ortiz’s Kauyumari refers to a magical blue deer, sacred to the Huichol people of Mexico, which she invokes to reflect on our grateful return to post-pandemic live performance. In the one-movement concerto Odisea, commissioned by Gustavo Dudamel for Jorge Glem, Venezuelan composer Gonzalo Grau highlights his country’s national instrument, the versatile, four-stringed cuatro. On the surface Johannes Brahms’s Second Symphony seems like a sunny summer idyll, but shadows abound.

Gustavo Dudamel ’s appearance is supported by the Louise M. Davies Guest Conductor Fund.

At a Glance

Gabriela Ortiz is a prominent Mexican composer, who in 2022 became the first woman composer inducted into El Colegio Nacional, the honorary academy of Mexico’s most esteemed artists and scientists. Her piece Kauyumari is inspired by the “blue deer” that serves as a guide to the Huichol people of central Mexico, a being imagined as part of peyote-inspired spiritual practices.

Gonzalo Grau’s Odisea spotlights the cuatro, a relative of the guitar that is the national instrument of his native Venezuela. The concerto imagines a trip from the east coast of Venezuela into its center, referencing the hometowns of soloist Jorge Glem and conductor Gustavo Dudamel, and drawing from the diverse musical traditions of Venezuela.

Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 is almost invariably described as “sunny,” and it was written quickly and easily after he toiled for decades over his First Symphony. From the first three notes, Brahms generates a miraculously varied first movement. The second movement’s stern opening changes almost immediately into a glorious melody of enormous length and breadth. The Allegretto grazioso that follows is Brahms at his most lighthearted, and the finale makes for a heroic transformation.

Enrich Your Experience

  • Friday, November 24 from 6:30pm–7:00pm: A pre-concert talk with cuatro player Jorge Glem and composer Gonzalo Grau moderated by Martha Rodríguez-Salazar will be presented from the stage one hour before the concert. Free to all ticketholders.

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