Michael Tilson Thomas (photograph by Spencer Lowell) and Itzhak Perlman (photograph by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco) (courtesy of the San Francisco Symphony)
The featured soloist for the Opening Night Gala to launch the 2018–19 season of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will be violinist Itzhak Perlman. Taking a more popular approach to repertoire than usual, he will perform music from Hollywood film scores intended to feature a solo violin. The films and their respective composers will be Schindler’s List (John Williams), Cinema Paradiso (Ennio Morricone), Out of Africa (John Barry), and Scent of a Woman (Carlos Gardel). Gardel did not compose music for Scent of a Woman. (He died in 1935.) However, his music was appropriated for the tango scene; and the results could not have been better.
In addition Perlman will be bringing with him students from his Perlman Music Program. They will join him for a special and unique performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1043 concerto in D minor, scored for two violins, strings, and continuo. For the other concert instrumental selections Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas will lead SFS in the first of Franz Liszt’s “Mephisto” waltzes and two “international” compositions by George Gershwin, his “Cuban Overture” and “An American in Paris.”
The performance of this program will begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 5. Prices for concert tickets range from $180 to $300. They include a complimentary pre-concert wine reception and access to the after-party in the Tent Pavilion set up on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. In addition there will be four unique Dinner Packages that include premium seating for the concert. The event page on the SFS Web site provides hyperlinks for the purchase of both concert tickets and Dinner Packages. Each of the four options has its own Web page describing both the offering and the prices. One can also learn more about these options by contacting the Volunteer Council at 415-503-5500. Tickets will also be available by calling the Box Office at 415-864-6000 or by visiting it at the Grove Street entrance to Davies Symphony Hall at 201 Van Ness Avenue, on the south side of the street (again between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street). Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
As usual, the Opening Night Gala will be followed by the All San Francisco Concert. This is an event presented for San Francisco social service and neighborhood organizations, in recognition and gratitude for the work these groups do to enrich the lives of and serve the citizens of San Francisco. Members of those organizations are invited to attend the concert as SFS guests. The program will include the Liszt and Gershwin selections played at the Gala concert. However, the soloist will be the young local cellist Oliver Herbert playing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Opus 33 “Variations on a rococo theme” in A major.
This year, for the first time, the Concert will be given two performances. These will both take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, and Saturday, September 8. Tickets for the general public are now on sale for $12 for general seating. As of this writing, they may not be purchased online. [updated 7/31, 4:25 p.m.: Hyperlinks for online purchase for both performances have been added to the event page.] However, they are available at the Box Office and may be purchased by telephone or in person.