EMANUEL AX – Renowned Pianist Appears with San Francisco Symphony October 9th – 11th

Peter Oundjian, Music Director of the Toronto Symphony leads the SFS Orchestra

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Toronto Symphony Music Director PETER OUNDJIAN leads pianist EMANUEL AX and the San Francisco Symphony in the first SFS performances of Szymanowski’s SYMPHONY NO. 4 for Piano and Orchestra. Ax is a champion of the composer and one of only two pianists who perform this piece. The music of Polish composer KAROL SZYMANOWSKI has been performed only four times before by the SFS, and not since 1982, when violinist Henryk Szeryng performed his VIOLIN CONCERTO NO. 2 under Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. Richard Strauss’s BURLESKE IN D MINOR showcases Ax’s supreme musicianship in a way few pieces in the piano repertory can. The Overture to Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE and Tchaikovsky’s FRANCESCA DI RIMINI complete the program.

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KAROL SZYMANOWSKI, Composer & PETER OUNDJIAN (Photo, Cylla von Tiedemann)

Peter Oundjian begins his fifth season as Music Director of the TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (TSO) this year. During his tenure there, he has created the annual Mozart and New Creations festivals. Last season, Oundjian and the TSO introduced the acclaimed “TSO Live” recording series. They make their Carnegie Hall debut together in fall 2008. Oundjian, who is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Detroit Symphony, last conducted the San Francisco Symphony in 2005.

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FRANCESCA DA RIMINI (by Gustave Doré) – PETER OUNDJIAN (Photo, Cylla von Tiedemann)

EMANUEL AX has been a frequent guest and collaborator with the San Francisco Symphony since his subscription concert debut here in 1979. He most recently performed with the SFS under the baton of conductor Osmo Vänskä in March 2007. Recent highlights for Mr. Ax include a season-long Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall and his appointment as Pianist in Residence at the BERLIN PHILHARMONIC, performing under Sir Simon Rattle in Berlin and New York. In Europe he joined the New York Philharmonic in Vienna and Warsaw and toured with the Budapest Festival Orchestra in Germany and Holland.

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EMANUEL AX, Pianist – RICHARD STRAUS, Composer

Friday’s concert, October 10th, is the first in the SFS’s 2008-09 FRIDAY 6.5 SERIES, with an earlier start time at 6:30 p.m., and an opportunity to hear the conductor share unique perspectives on the composer and the music. Emanuel Ax will sign CDs in the Symphony Store following the concert.
The program will consist of:
Szymanowski – Symphony No. 4 for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 60
R. Strauss – Burleske in D minor for Piano and Orchestra
Tchaikovsky – Francesca di Rimini, Opus 32
To purchase tickets on-line: Friday, October 10th, at 6:30 pm

The programs for Thursday, October 9th and Saturday 11th are the same:
Mozart – Overture to The Magic Flute, K. 620
Szymanowski – Symphony No. 4 for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 60
R. Strauss – Burleske in D minor for Piano and Orchestra
Tchaikovsky – Francesca di Rimini, Opus 32
Scott Foglesong gives the INSIDE MUSIC talks one hour prior to the concerts on Friday and Saturday. It is free to all concert ticket holders; the doors open 15 minutes before. The SFS invites audience members to participate in OFF THE PODIUM, an informal post-concert Question and Answer session with conductor Peter Oundjian and pianist Emanuel Ax immediately following the concert on THURSDAY, October 9th. Emanuel Ax will sign CDs in the Symphony Store following the concert on SATURDAY, October 11th.
To purchase tickets on-line:
Friday, October 10th, at 6:30 pm
Saturday, October 11th, at 8:00 pm

Add these recordings to your Classical Library:
CD – EMANUEL AX Plays Strauss’ Burleske for Piano and Orchestra in D minor, AV 85. Disc includes Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30, and Don Juan, Op. 20. Conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch leads the Philadelphia Orchestra.
CD – KAROL SZYMANOWSKI: Complete Piano Music. Featuring pianist Martin Jones, this is a 4-disc Box Set with 43 tracks.
CD – TCHAIKOVSKY: Francesca di Rimini. Disc also includes Symphony No. 1. Conductor Kurt Masur leads the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig orchestra.
DVD – Mozart – Die Zauberflote Fur Kinder. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s production for children features Christian Boesch, Peter Schreier, Ileana Cotrubas, Kurt Rydl, and Zdzislawa Donat.
CD – SZYMANOWSKI: Symphony No. 4 – Op. 60, “Symphonie concertante”. Disc also includes the composer’s Symphony No. 3, Violin Concertos, and Orchestral Songs. Conductor Simon Rattle leads the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Chorus, and Symphony Youth Chorus.

Visit Seán on YouTube:
CA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES – A Preview Look with Seán Martinfield
Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
SAMSON & DELILAH – Meet Seán Martinfield

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See Related: FINE ARTS CRITIC SEAN MARTINFIELD

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Seán Martinfield 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”, which is being prepared for publication. 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: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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