SF Symphony returns to in-person concerts in May
When Esa-Pekka Salonen took charge of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 2020, he vowed to bring a cutting-edge, tech-savvy vision to the 110-year-old orchestra. This willingness to adapt came in handy when the pandemic forced the cancellation of Salonen’s ambitious first season as Music Director. Quickly he and the symphony shifted gears, launching a new streaming service with the belief that online performances are an art form in its own right, and trying out experiences like private, open-air and socially distant concerts. for lone fans thanks to a raffle system.
No matter how noble these experiences were, they certainly did not replace the feeling of seeing dozens of top-level instrumentalists performing in person. But with millions of Californians now vaccinated and safety instructions for the performing arts in place, the day has finally arrived. The San Francisco Symphony announced its return to live events at Davies Symphony Hall on May 6, with concerts every Thursday and Friday in May and June.
“A friend recently told me, ‘We just need to get started.’ I feel joy and relief that I can finally do just that with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, ”Salonen said in a statement. “We are participating in these concerts after working as a unit to bring music into your homes in unique and meaningful ways this year. We now welcome the public to our home, which we didn’t know we took for granted. Let’s start, together. “
All tickets for the performances on May 6 and 7, as well as part of the tickets for the concerts that follow, will be distributed free of charge to health professionals in the Bay Area. Each concert will last 75 minutes without an intermission. A number of other COVID-19 precautions will be in place, including contactless tickets, a smaller audience, universal mask requirements, and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
The program of the first pair of concerts, conducted by Salonen, includes Jean Sibelius Rakastava, George Walker Lyrics for strings, By Carl Nielsen Small suite for strings, Caroline Shaw Intermission and Edvard Grieg’s From Holberg’s temporal sequence. On May 13 and 14, pianist Jeremy Denk conducts the orchestra in performances by William Grant Still Out of the silence, Piano Concerto No. 1 by Johann Sebastian Bach in D minor, BWV 1052, Piano Concerto No. 14 by Wolfgang Amadè Mozart in E flat major, K.449 and Gerald Finzi Eclogue for piano and strings. Guest conductor James Gaffigan joins the US premiere of Freya Waley-Cohen on May 20 and 21 Talisman, D’Arnold Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for strings.