BEETHOVEN – A Two-Week Gig At San Francisco Symphony

Marek Janowski leads the SF Symphony Orchestra 1/20–23, and 2/2–5
Programs feature the SFS debut of pianist Juho Pohjonen in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and violinist Chee-Yun, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and pianist Jeremy Denk in the Triple Concerto

Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

For two weeks this winter, conductor Marek Janowski returns to conduct the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in a pair of all-Beethoven programs at Davies Symphony Hall.  In the first week of concerts, January 20th–23rd, Janowski leads the Orchestra in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring pianist Juho Pohjonen, Symphony No. 4, and the Leonore Overture No. 3. The program for February 2nd–5th is the Triple Concerto featuring violinist Chee-Yun, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Jeremy Denk, and Symphonies No. 1 and 2.


MAREK JANOWSKI is Music Director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva. He also is a frequent guest conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  Born in Warsaw in 1939 and educated in Germany, Janowski’s early career led him to the top opera stages of Europe and the United States, as well as to the position of Musical Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, a position he held from 1984-2000. Janowski, a regular collaborator with the SFS, last conducted the Orchestra in performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 and Egmont Overture in 2008. He made his SFS debut in 1990, leading the Orchestra in Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila.


JUHO POHJONEN, a native of Finland, makes his SFS debut in these concerts. Selected by András Schiff as the winner of the 2009 Klavier Festival Ruhr Scholarship, he was also a prizewinner at several other competitions, including the Nordic Piano Competition and the International Young Artists concerto competition.  Pohjonen received his Master of Music from the Sibelius Academy in 2008, and is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “CMS Two” Residency Program for Outstanding Young Artists. An active recitalist and soloist, Pohjonen also appears this season with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony in addition to these debut appearances with SFS.


JEREMY DENK known for his wide repertoire and versatility across many genres, recently released a recording of Ives’ first two piano sonatas (including the Concord).  Since receiving an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1998, Denk has been a frequent soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, last appearing here in summer 2009, and with other major orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony. He performs with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony in its opening week of concerts at the new Frank Gehry-designed Miami Beach hall in January 2011. He will return to the SF Symphony in March 2012, during its centennial season, to perform Henry Cowell’s Piano Concerto as part of the American Mavericks Festival. He is a frequent collaborator in chamber music concerts with the Brentano, St. Lawrence, and Vermeer quartets, and performs numerous duo recitals and recordings with violinist Joshua Bell.


ALISA WEILERSTEIN made her debut with the Cleveland Orchestra at age 13 and now, at age 27, has performed with many of the major U.S. orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the San Francisco Symphony.  She last appeared with the Orchestra in 2008, in performances of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto.  In addition to a busy solo career, Weilerstein and her parents Donald and Vivian form the Weilerstein Trio, currently the trio-in-residence at the New England Conservatory. 


CHEE-YUN was soloist in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto when Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS toured the United States in 2000, and also performed Richard Dee and Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin with American Gamelan in the first American Mavericks Festival here in San Francisco.  These are her first appearances with the Orchestra since 2000. She is a regular soloist with orchestras around the world, and also is an avid educator, having held many faculty positions at music schools around the country.  She performs on a Stradivarius violin, the “Ex-Strauss,” on loan to her from Samsung.

Week 1 – Click here to order tickets on-line: January 20th–23rd
Thursday, January 20th at 2:00 pm
Friday, January 21st at 8:00 pm
Saturday, January 22nd at 8:00 pm
Sunday, January 23rd at 2:00 pm
Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Opus 60
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Opus 37
Leonore Overture No. 3, Opus 72a

Week 2 – Click here to order tickets on-line: February 2nd–5th
Wednesday, February 2nd at 10:00 am – Open Rehearsal
Wednesday, February 2nd at 8:00 pm
Thursday, February 3rd at 2:00 pm
Friday, February 4th at 8:00 pm
Saturday, February 5th at 8:00 pm
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Opus 21
Triple Concerto in C major, Opus 56
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Opus 36

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:


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