HERBERT BLOMSTEDT and EDO DE WAART – Conductors return to Davies Symphony Hall

Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher

Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Former San Francisco Symphony Music Directors Herbert Blomstedt and Edo de Waart return to Davies Symphony Hall in February to lead the Orchestra in three weeks of concert programs in celebration of the Orchestra’s 2011–2012 Centennial Season.  Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt will lead the Orchestra in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 with pianist Garrick Ohlsson and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 on February 2nd–4th, and then in performances of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 on February 8th and 10th. Edo de Waart will conduct the SFS in Schreker’s “Prelude to Act 1″ of Die Gezeichneten, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with pianist Simon Trpčeski, and Saint Saëns’ Symphony No. 3, “Organ” on February 16th–19th.



Herbert Blomstedt was the SFS’ tenth Music Director from 1985-1995 and is currently its Conductor Laureate.  Under his leadership, the Orchestra won its first Grammy award, for a recording of Orff’s Carmina Burana, greatly expanded its international profile with numerous acclaimed performances on tour in Europe and at festivals including those of Edinburgh, Salzburg, Munich and Lucerne, and launched the Adventures in Music program.  He has held chief conductor positions with the Oslo Philharmonic, the Swedish and Danish Radio Orchestras, and the Dresden Staatskapelle. Until 2005, he was the Music Director of the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig, with which he recorded several Bruckner symphonies, including the Fifth.  With the SFS on the London label, he recorded Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 and No. 6.



Edo de Waart was the SFS’ ninth Music Director from 1977-1985.  During his tenure, the Orchestra built and opened Davies Symphony Hall (in 1980) and became a full-time orchestra with a year-round season.  De Waart also formed the Orchestra’s first composer-in-residence relationship with John Adams, a collaboration which was unique for American orchestras at that time and produced many new works and recordings, including of Adams’ Harmonielehre and Harmonium. In these performances, he conducts Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3, Organ, which he recorded with the Orchestra in 1984 and was the first recording to feature the newly-installed Davies Symphony Hall Ruffatti organ, one of America’s largest concert hall organs. Also on the program is Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4, a work which he recorded with the SFS in 1982. Currently, de Waart is Chief Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and Music Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.


Mozart and Tchaikovsky
Feb 2nd at 2 pm / Feb 3rd at 6:30 pm / Feb 4th at 8 pm
Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major, K.271
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64
Susan Key will give an “Inside Music” talk from the stage one hour prior to each concert.  Free to all concert ticket holders; doors open 15 minutes before. Immediately following the performance on February 4th, Garrick Ohlsson will sign his CDs in the Symphony Store.

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5
Feb 8th at 10 am (Open Rehearsal)
Feb 8th at 8 pm / Feb 10th at 8 pm
Bruckner – Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major
Scott Foglesong will give an “Inside Music” talk from the stage one hour prior to each concert.  Free to all concert ticket holders; doors open 15 minutes before. Immediately following the performances on February 10, Herbert Blomstedt will sign his CDs in the Symphony Store.

Schreker, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saëns
Feb 16th at 2 pm / Feb 17th at 8 pm / Feb 18th at 8 pm / Feb 19th at 2 pm
Schreker – Prelude to Act I of Die Gezeichneten
Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Opus 40
Saint-Saëns – Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Opus 78, “Organ”

Inside Music, an informative talk with Laura Stanfield Prichard, begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders. Meet Simon Trpčeski at a CD signing immediately following the 17, 18, and 19 concerts at the Symphony Store in the lobby.



Pianist and San Francisco resident Garrick Ohlsson won the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition and was a student of Claudio Arrau.  Ohlsson made his SFS debut in 1972 under Music Director Seiji Ozawa, and has performed with the Orchestra numerous times over the past forty years, including four appearances with Herbert Blomstedt during his tenure as Music Director, with whom he performs in these concerts.  In the fall of 2008, the Hyperion label re-released Ohlsson’s 16-disc set of the complete works of Chopin, and recently released his recordings of all of the Brahms piano variations and a two-disc set of Carl Maria von Weber’s four piano sonatas.



Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski made his SFS debut in 2004 and last appeared here in April 2010, with conductor Vasily Petrenko. With Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Trpčeski recorded two discs for Avie Records encompassing all of the works for Piano and Orchestra by Rachmaninoff, including the Concerto No. 4, which he performs here. Trpčeski has performed with orchestras worldwide, including those of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Seoul, and Sydney, and was the youngest person ever to receive a medal of honor from his home country of Macedonia—the Presidential Order of Merit, for affirmation of Macedonia abroad.


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