Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik leads and performs with the San Francisco Symphony in a program of concertos and serenades January 23-26 at Davies Symphony Hall. SFS piccolo player Catherine Payne is featured as soloist in Vivaldi’s Piccolo Concerto, while oboist Jonathan Fischer joins Barantschik in Bach’s Concerto in D minor for Violin and Oboe. Barantschik performs as soloist and leader in Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor, and additionally leads Mozart’s Divertimento in D major for Strings and Serenade No. 6, Serenata notturna.
“When we start the rehearsals for a program like this, the process reminds me very much of preparing for a chamber concert,” Barantschik explains of preparing for a concert as both a leader and a performer. “We don’t have a conductor, so everyone takes a greater initiative. When we get all the details right, like the balance of sound, articulation and our bow technique, then things start to come together, and the real fun starts. We can be free with our interpretation and take risks, almost like improvisation. We are free to take time with certain sections, to make them more special in some ways, so that every performance is different. That is what makes performing with your colleagues so much fun.”
Alexander Barantschik joined the SFS in 2001 and performs on the famed 1742 Guarnerius del Gesù “David” violin, previously owned by Jascha Heifetz, on loan from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s Legion of Honor. A native of St. Petersburg, Barantschik previously served as concertmaster of the London Symphony Orchestra. He joined the SFS as Concertmaster in 2001. He last performed as leader-soloist with the Orchestra in May 2012 in performances of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos.
Catherine Payne has been a member of the San Francisco Symphony since 1996. Previously, she was principal flutist of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and associate principal flute and piccolo player with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with the Boston and Chicago Symphonies. Payne was featured in last season’s world premiere of Meredith Monk’s Realm Variations, and last performed as soloist with the orchestra in 2005 performances of Vivaldi’s Piccolo Concerto in C major.
Jonathan Fischer joined the San Francisco Symphony as Associate Principal Oboe in 2003. He has held positions with the Cleveland Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Savannah Symphony, and New World Symphony, where he frequently coaches. This summer, he will enjoy his third year as Principal Oboist with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho.