Last season the month of May was distinguished by the fact that, in the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) subscription concerts, the podium of Davies Symphony Hall was occupied entirely by visiting conductors. Such will be the case again next month. While there will be only three subscription concerts that month, each will feature its own visiting conductor, the last of whom will be making his SFS debut. Specifics for the three visitors and the programs they have prepared are as follows:
October 11–13: Manfred Honeck will be the first of the two conductors returning to Davies. However, he will be joined by a cello soloist, who will be making his SFS debut. This will be the Norwegian cellist Truis Mørk, who will be featured in a performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Opus 125 in E minor, which he called a “Symphony-Concerto.” The composer dedicated this piece to its soloist at its premiere performance, Mstislav Rostropovich. The Prokofiev selection will fill the first half of the program and will be followed by Antonín Dvořák’s Opus 88 (eighth) symphony in G major.
This concert will be given three performances, at 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, and at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 12, and Saturday, October 13. There will be an Inside Music talk given by Peter Grunberg that will begin one hour before the performance. Doors to the Davies lobbies open fifteen minutes before the talk begins. Ticket prices range from $20 to $156. They may be purchased online through the event page for this program on the SFS Web site, by calling 415-864-6000, or by visiting the Davies Box Office, whose entrance is on the south side of Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. The event page also has an embedded sound file of KDFC’s Rik Malone’s podcast about the Dvořák symphony. Flash must be enabled for both streamed content and online ticket purchases. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
October 18–20: The visiting conductor for the second concert of the month will be Pablo Heras-Casado. He will be joined by pianist Javier Perianes, who will be the soloist in a performance of Béla Bartók’s third piano concerto, composed shortly before his death. The remainder of the program will consist entirely of twentieth-century French music, framed by two of the most familiar orchestral works of Maurice Ravel, “Alborada del gracioso” and “Boléro.” The second half of the program will begin with the second of the three Images pieces Claude Debussy composed for orchestra, “Ibéria.”
This concert will be given three performances, all at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, Friday, October 19, Saturday, October 20. The Inside Music talk will be given by Laura Stansfield Prichard one hour prior to each concert. Ticket prices range from $35 to $156, and an event page has been created for online purchase. The event page also has an embedded sound file of KDFC’s Rik Malone’s podcast about “Alborada del gracioso” and sound clips of previous SFS performances of both Ravel compositions and the Bartók concerto.
In addition, these performances will be preceded by the first Katherine Hanrahan Open Rehearsal of the season. This special behind-the-scenes experience begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 18, with coffee and complimentary doughnuts, followed by a half-hour introductory talk by Prichard at 9 a.m. The rehearsal itself begins at 10 a.m.; and, of course, the pieces rehearsed are at the conductor’s discretion. General admission is $30 with $40 for reserved seats in the Premiere Orchestra section and Rear Boxes and $45 for seating in the Side Boxes and the Loge. Tickets may be purchased online through a separate event page.
October 25–27: The conductor making his debut will be Cristian Mӑcelaru. His soloist will be violinist Ray Chen, playing Édouard Lalo’s Opus 21 “Symphonie espagnole.” The program will also present the world premiere of “Silent Night Elegy,” Kevin Puts’ orchestral arrangement of music from his Silent Night opera, which was co-commissioned by SFS. In addition Mӑcelaru will begin his program with the first SFS performances of Anna Clyne’s “Masquerade.” The program will conclude with the orchestral suite that Richard Strauss extracted from the music for his Opus 59 opera Der Rosenkavalier.
This concert will be given three performances, all at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, Friday, October 26, Saturday, October 27. The Inside Music talk will again be given by Grunberg one hour prior to each concert. Ticket prices range from $20 to $156, and an event page has been created for online purchase. The event page also has an embedded sound clips of previous SFS performances of the Lalo composition. Rik Malone’s podcast about Strauss’ suite is not, as of this writing, on the event page; but it should appear on the Program Notes Podcasts Web page prior to the first performance of this program.