Friday, February 7, 2020

Fabien Gabel to Debut on SFS Podium

Conductor Fabien Gabel (from the event page for next week’s SFS concert)

Next week’s San Francisco Symphony (SFS) subscription concerts in Davies Symphony Hall will see the debut of conductor Fabien Gabel. Gabel has already established himself internationally with a broad repertoire that ranges from what might be called “symphonic standards” to the performance of both recent compositions and lesser-known works by French composers. The program he has prepared will be framed by two familiar French composers, Paul Dukas and Camille Saint-Saëns. However, the concerto in this overture-concerto-symphony program with be the United States premiere of music by the American composer Aaron Zigman co-commissioned by SFS.

This new work also has a “French connection,” since one of the commissioning partners was Radio France, along with the Beijing Music Festival. The composition is a piano concerto entitled “Tango Manos” (tango hands), composed specifically for the French pianist (and frequent SFS guest artist) Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The idea of a “tango concerto” originated with Long Yu, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the China Philharmonic; and, when Thibaudet discovered that Zigman was a “tango maven,” he invited him to compose the concerto. The concerto will be preceded by another perspective on dance, the music that Dukas composed for the one-act ballet “La Péri.” The symphony portion of the program will be taken by Saint-Saëns Opus 78, his third (“Organ”) symphony in C minor. The organ part will be performed by Jonathan Dimmock.

This program will be given three performances, at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 14, and Saturday, February 15, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February, 16. The Inside Music talk will be given by Laura Prichard one hour prior to each concert and will include a conversation with Zigman. Ticket prices range from $35 to $165, and an event page has been created for online purchase. They may also be purchased 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. KDFC’s Rik Malone’s podcast about the Saint-Saëns symphony will be posted to the Program Note Podcasts Web page prior to the first performance of this program, and the event page includes a sound clip of excerpts from that 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, from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and two hours prior to Sunday performances.

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