Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka
The San Francisco Symphony’s Summer & the Symphony concert line-up includes a summer classical concert series, Orchestra performances with Johnny Mathis, Pink Martini, Chris Botti, and Arrival: the music of ABBA, and a screening of Casablanca with live orchestral accompaniment, as well as two evenings devoted to some of the best-loved Disney and Hollywood film music of all time. The Symphony performs two free outdoor concerts at Stern Grove and Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park. On the Fourth of July, the Orchestra plays folk, pop, and classical favorites at the annual Shoreline Amphitheatre Independence Day concert and fireworks extravaganza, with San Francisco Giants broadcaster Jon Miller narrating the classic “Casey at the Bat”.
JOHNNY MATHIS — ALEXANDER BARANTSCHIK
The Orchestra’s summer concerts begin Monday, June 27th, when vocalist Johnny Mathis performs with the Symphony. On Wednesday, June 29th, SF Symphony Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik leads the Orchestra in four concerts of favorite string serenades by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Dvořák. Young British conductor Michael Francis is on the podium Thursday, July 7th, for an all-Gershwin evening. Broadway star vocalist Laura Benanti (Gypsy; In the Next Room) joins the Orchestra with songs from the Gershwins’ repertoire, and pianist Ian Parker performs the Piano Concerto in F. Each of the classical concerts in the Summer & the Symphony series focuses on individual composers and themes, including Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, a night of Russian composers, and an evening of Vivaldi’s and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons with violinist Lara St. John.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: Summer & the Symphony
LAURA BENANTI – LARA ST. JOHN
San Francisco Symphony Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik, celebrates his 10th season with the Orchestra in 2011, leads the Orchestra and performs in Favorite String Serenades June 29th and 30th and July 2nd at Davies Symphony Hall and July 1st at Flint Center in Cupertino. The program includes Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Dvořák’s Serenade in E major, and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.
Conductor Michael Francis and the Orchestra perform an all-Gershwin evening, including music from An American in Paris and the Piano Concerto in F featuring Canadian pianist Ian Parker, on Thursday, July 7 at 8 p.m. Vocalist Laura Benanti makes her SFS debut singing selected Gershwin songs. Tony-nominated Benanti garnered critical acclaim for her performances in Gypsy and In the Next Room (The Vibrator Play). Parker, also debuting with this concert, is a recipient of the Sylva Gelber Career Grant – an annual award presented to the most talented Canadian artist. In addition to his appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, he has toured with the Vogler Quartet.
IAN PARKER – VALENTINA LISITSA – GILLES VONSATTEL
Pianist Gilles Vonsattel makes his SFS debut with Francis and the Orchestra in a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 on Sunday, July 17th at 2 p.m. The all-Mozart program also includes the Overture to Don Giovanni and Symphony No. 41, Jupiter. Vonsattel, a recipient of the 2008 Avery Fisher Career Grant, appeared at Tanglewood last summer with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
On Thursday, July 21st at 8 p.m., Francis leads the Orchestra in music by Tchaikovsky, including his Variations on a Rococo Theme with cellist Daniel Müller-Schott. The program opens with the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture, and also includes Symphony No. 4. Müller-Schott, winner of the 1992 Tchaikovsky Competition, makes his debut with the SFS in this concert. His recent appearances include concerts with the Dresden, Oslo, and Helsinki Philharmonics, in addition to performances of the Brahms Double Concerto with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and the London Philharmonic.
Violinist Lara St. John joins Francis and the Orchestra on Thursday, July 28th at 8 p.m. in the Four Seasons of Vivaldi and Piazzolla. St. John’s recording of these two works with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela reached No. 2 on the iTunes classical charts. She makes her SFS debut with these performances. Previously, St. John performed on tour with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has performed with the orchestras of Cleveland and Philadelphia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the NDR Symphony. The program also includes Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks.
MONDAY, June 27th at 8:00 pm — Johnny Mathis perform with the San Francisco Symphony in a concert of his best-loved hits. Johnny Mathis grew up in the Richmond District of San Francisco, became a star athlete at George Washington High School, and went to San Francisco State University before making it big as a contemporary singer of standards and jazz tunes. He has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards and has won the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. At 75, he continues to tour and record, and in 2010 released an album of traditional country songs, with duets with Vince Gill and Alison Krauss. He celebrated his 50th anniversary in music with the releases of Johnny Mathis: Gold – a 50th Anniversary Celebration and a Christmas album, both in 2006. His Johnny’s Greatest Hits album, including It’s Not For Me to Say, Wonderful, Wonderful, and Chances Are which spent an unprecedented 490 weeks on the Billboard chart, a testament to his enduring popularity and a feat no other artist has ever matched.
THURSDAY, June 30th and Friday, July 1st at 8:00 pm
Saturday, July 2nd at 8:00 pm – At the Flint Center
The sound: 1930s Cuban dance orchestra, classical chamber ensemble, Brazilian street band, and Japanese film noir. The band: Pink Martini, an eclectic 12-member “little orchestra.” Pink Martini returns to Davies Symphony Hall to perform two special concerts with the Orchestra on SFS Resident Conductor Donato Cabrera conducts. The Portland, Oregon-based ensemble was created in 1994 by Harvard graduate and classically trained pianist Thomas M. Lauderdale to play at political fundraisers for progressive causes. Fronted by multilingual and multitalented China Forbes, the group made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival, and has since toured the world to great acclaim. Its latest CD, recorded with the Oregon Symphony, was released last year.
FOURTH OF JULY — Concert, Celebration and Fireworks
SFS Resident Conductor Donato Cabrera leads the San Francisco Symphony in its annual Fourth of July concert and celebration at 8:00 pm at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. The concert includes a variety of American folk songs (“Oh, Susannah,” “California, Here I Come,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”), pop hits (The Beach Boys’ “California Girls” and “I Get Around”), film and TV theme music from E.T. and The Simpsons, and classical works including Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain and Grieg’s “March of the Dwarfs” from Lyric Suite. San Francisco Giants broadcaster Jon Miller narrates “Casey at the Bat” with orchestral accompaniment. The evening concludes with a spectacular fireworks show.
SUNDAY, July 10th, at 2:00 pm — FREE CONCERT
The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra presents a free outdoor concert at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park. The concert features conductor Michael Francis and pianist Valentina Lisitsa. The program includes Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
DANIEL MÜLLER-SCHOTT — CHRIS BOTTI
THURSDAY, July 14th and Friday, July 15th at 8:00 pm
Jazz trumpeter Chris Botti joins the Orchestra for two nights. Sarah Hicks conducts. Since the release of his 2004 critically acclaimed CD When I Fall in Love, Botti has become the largest selling American jazz instrumental artist. His ongoing association with PBS has led to four #1 jazz albums, as well as multiple Grammy Awards. His Chris Botti in Boston CD and DVD features guest appearances by Sting, Josh Groban, Steven Tyler, Yo-Yo Ma, John Mayer, Katharine McPhee, Lucia Micarelli, and Sy Smith. Most recently, he performed for President Barack Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and guests at The White House State Dinner, and in a February performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC he invited former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright onstage to play the drums.
Arrival: the music of ABBA
Saturday, July 16th at 8:00 pm — Arrival: The Music of ABBA
Arrival performs some of the most popular and well-loved songs by the Swedish hitmakers ABBA with the Orchestra on at Davies Symphony Hall. Arrival’s members include musicians who performed and toured with ABBA, whose hits include the hook-laden “Mamma Mia,” “Fernando,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and many others. ABBA disbanded in 1982, but their best songs continue to be popular worldwide. Though ABBA tribute bands are many, Arrival alone works with ABBA’s costume designer, and is the only group awarded the rights to recreate the staging and costumes from the original band’s shows. The group has been together since 1995 and has toured the world performing ABBA hits in more than 35 countries. Sarah Hicks leads the Orchestra.
FRIDAY, July 22nd at 8:00 pm — CASABLANCA
The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, led by Michael Francis, performs Max Steiner’s original score to accompany a screening of the classic Curtiz film Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
HUMPHREY BOGART and INGRID BERMAN — MAX STEINER
SATURDAY, July 23rd at 8:00 pm
Disney In Concert: Magical Music from the Movies
The Orchestra performs songs from the Disney films Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lion King, and more. Conducted by Steven Reineke and featuring guest soloists to be announced, the evening promises to bring favorite Disney stories to life through the melodies, film clips, animation cels, and original storyboard art.
SUNDAY, July 24th at 2:00 pm — FREE CONCERT
Michael Francis conducts the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in its annual free outdoor concert under the eucalyptus trees in beautiful Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco. The Orchestra performs Beethoven’s Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus and his Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, featuring pianist Sara Davis Buechner, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. This free concert is presented in association with the Stern Grove Festival.
FRIDAY, July 29th at 8:00 pm
Music from the Movies with the San Francisco Symphony
The 2011 Summer & the Symphony series closes at Davies Symphony Hall as the Orchestra performs unforgettable music from 70 years of great film, including Jurassic Park, Lawrence of Arabia, Out of Africa, Spiderman, Diamonds are Forever, North by Northwest, Jaws, E.T., and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. Michael Francis leads the Orchestra and hosts the evening.
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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 AllExperts.com. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.