With the conclusion of the 2017–18 season of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) at the end of this month, SFS will launch almost immediately into its Summer with the Symphony concerts at the beginning of next month. While most of the concerts in this series depart from the “classical” tradition, there will be three offerings likely to appeal to those that take their listening seriously. Furthermore, as in the past, one of those offerings will be free.
The first of those offerings is the very first to be presented next month. Edwin Outwater will return to the SFS podium to present A Salute to Gershwin. The program will consist entirely of music by George Gershwin, although many of the selections were subsequently arranged by others. Pianist Andrew van Oeyen will be guest soloist in a performance of “Rhapsody in Blue,” presumably using the arrangement prepared by Ferde Grofé. The other soloist will be vocalist Capathia Jenkins, who will sample Gershwin’s contributions to the Great American Songbook, given “concert treatment” by a variety of arrangers. The other major orchestral work on the program will be “An American in Paris;” and the concert will begin with the overture to the musical Girl Crazy.
This concert will be given only one performance in Davies Symphony Hall, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3. Ticket prices range from $20 to $79. 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 Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. The event page also has an embedded sound file of KDFC’s Rik Malone’s podcast about “Rhapsody in Blue,” along with sound clips of previous SFS performances the piece. Flash is required to play these sound files.
The other major concert offering will be a program entitled Decadent Romance: Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky. The conductor will be the 25-year-old rising talent Alexander Prior. The program will begin with the Tchaikovsky portion, the Opus 35 violin concerto in D major. The soloist will be another young talent, William Hagen. The second half of the program will then be devoted to Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Opus 27 (second) symphony in E minor.
This concert will be given two performances in Davies, both at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 14. Ticket prices range from $50 to $165. They may be purchased online through the event page. That event page also has an embedded sound file of previous SFS performances of the Rachmaninoff symphony.
That leaves the free event, which is the annual SFS appearance at the Stern Grove Festival. This year the conductor will be Jayce Ogren; and the concerto soloist will be Adam Golka, playing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 58 (fourth) piano concerto in G major. The program will follow the usual overture-concerto-symphony format, concluding with Jean Sibelius’ Opus 43 (second) symphony in D major. The “overture” will take a somewhat imaginative approach, consisting of a “suite” of three of the Slavonic dances of Antonín Dvořák.
This concert will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 22. The entrance to Stern Grove is on the northwest corner where 19th Avenue crosses Sloat Boulevard. No tickets are required. Those planning to attend need to know that there will be no public parking area at Stern Grove for this event. Finding parking is extremely difficult, so all are encouraged to use public transportation. The 19th Avenue bus lines (23 and 28) both stop right at the entrance to Stern Grove. The K and M Muni lines stop one block to the east, where Sloat Boulevard meets St. Francis Circle; but those coming from the center of town should remember that both of these lines will be influenced by the work on the Twin Peaks Tunnel. The SFS event page for this concert has a hyperlink to the home page for the Stern Grove Festival, from which one can find further information. The event page also has sound files for both the Beethoven concerto and the Sibelius symphony.