Concerts feature Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, pianist Yuja Wang performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and the New York premiere of Samuel Carl Adams’ SF Symphony co-commission Drift and Providence
Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will perform four concerts on their 2013 East Coast tour from March 20 to 23, with performances in New York at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium (March 20-21); in Newark at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) (March 22) and in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center (March 23). The tour repertoire spans the breadth of MTT and the SFS’s hallmark programming with performances of core repertoire including Mahler, Brahms and Beethoven, and a contemporary work by American composer Samuel Carl Adams.
The concert programs feature the New York premiere of Samuel Carl Adams’s Drift and Providence, a work for large orchestra and live electroacoustic processing performed by Adams, who makes his Carnegie Hall and NJPAC debuts. Yuja Wang joins the Orchestra for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. The Orchestra also performs Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 in New York and Newark, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in New York and Washington, D.C.
In advance of the tour, in their home of Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, MTT and the SFS perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 March 14-17 The Orchestra performs Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Yuja Wang, and Samuel Carl Adams’ Drift and Providence, with Adams performing on electronica, March 6-9 at Davies Symphony Hall and the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University.
About the soloists
Bay Area native Samuel Carl Adams (b. 1985) is a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music and the son of frequent SFS collaborator composer John Adams. Based in Brooklyn, Adams draws on his experiences with jazz, noise, programming, and phonography. He is an active collaborator and performer in San Francisco and New York; his previous commissions include works for Oakland’s Paul Dresher Ensemble Electroacoustic Band, ACJW, and MATA (Music at the Anthology). In spring 2012 Adams was a resident artist at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and he regularly performs as a bassist with FOUNDRY, a post-classical ensemble based in New York.
Samuel Adams’ Drift and Providence was co-commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and the New World Symphony. MTT conducted its world premiere with the New World Symphony in April 2012 and the West Coast premiere with the San Francisco Symphony in September 2012. Anthony Tommasini in his New York Times review of the West Coast performance described Drift and Providence as an “atmospheric, inventively orchestrated 20-minute piece.” Written from the point of view of a West Coast native living elsewhere and as a composer exploring new ways to use tonality, Adams says, “Drift and Providence is looking at my home, the west, from within and from afar; Drift and Providence explores what it means to embark from and arrive at the acoustically familiar.” The score for the work includes live electronic processing which will be performed by Adams and controlled by a CNTRL-Rm, Analog Experience Factory and MacBook Pro.
Yuja Wang made her debut with the San Francisco Symphony in 2006 at its annual Chinese New Year concert, and has returned to perform with the Orchestra each year since then, developing a close artistic connection with Michael Tilson Thomas. She performed on tour with MTT and the Orchestra in Macau, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo in November 2012. In 2008 Wang performed as a soloist with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra led by Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall. See a video of Yuja Wang discussing her musical relationship with MTT and the SF Symphony at http://bit.ly/4Yuja <http://bit.ly/4Yuja> .
Born in Beijing in 1987, Wang began studying piano at age six, with her earliest public performances taking place in China, Australia and Germany. She studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing under Ling Yuan and Zhou Guangren. From 1999 to 2001 she participated in the Morningside Music summer program at Calgary’s Mount Royal College, an artistic and cultural exchange program between Canada and China, and began studying with Hung Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone at the Mount Royal College Conservatory. In 2002, when she was 15, she won Aspen Music Festival’s concerto competition. She then moved to the U.S. to study with Gary Graffman at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she graduated in 2008. In 2006 Yuja received the Gilmore Young Artist Award. In 2010 she was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Since her 2005 debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra led by Pinchas Zukerman, Yuja Wang has performed with many of the world’s prestigious orchestras, including, in addition to the San Francisco Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, New World Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Orchestra, and internationally with the Tonhalle Orchestra, China Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Gulbenkian Orchestra, London Philharmonic, the NHK Symphony in Tokyo and Orchestra Mozart, among others.
Her acclaimed recordings include Transformation, for which she received an Echo Award 2011 as Young Artist of the Year. Wang next collaborated with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra to record her first concerto album featuring Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, which was nominated for a Grammy® as Best Classical Instrumental Solo. Her most recent record, Fantasia, is a collection of encore pieces by Albéniz, Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saëns, Scriabin and others.
About MTT and Mahler
In 2010, Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS concluded their self-produced Mahler recording project, launched in 2001 and encompassing all of Mahler’s symphonies and works for voice, chorus and orchestra. The Orchestra’s Mahler cycle on SFS Media has been recognized with seven Grammy Awards, including three Grammy Awards for its recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Symphony No. 10. Live concert footage of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 was included in SFS Media’s PBS television series Keeping Score: Mahler, now available on DVD and Blu-ray. An excerpt of their performance of the Rondo burleske movement from Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 can be viewed at http://bit.ly/UlRaL5.
About the San Francisco Symphony
Founded in 1911, the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) celebrated its Centennial Season in 2011-12 and is widely considered to be among the country’s most artistically adventurous and innovative arts institutions. Under Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT), the SFS presents more than 220 concerts and presentations annually for an audience of nearly 600,000 in its home of Davies Symphony Hall and through an active national and international touring program.
Tilson Thomas assumed his post as the SF Symphony’s eleventh Music Director in September 1995 and celebrates his 18th season as Music Director in 2012-13. Together, he and the SFS have formed a musical partnership hailed as one of the most inspiring and successful in the country. His tenure with the Orchestra has been praised by critics for outstanding musicianship, innovative programming, highlighting the works of American composers, and bringing new audiences to classical music.
Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony maintain a leading presence among American orchestras around the world through an active touring program, award-winning recordings, and innovative broadcast and education projects. In 1996, MTT led the orchestra on the first of their nearly two dozen national and international tours together to Europe, Asia and throughout the United States, with annual performances at Carnegie Hall. Recent tour highlights include the November 2012 six-city tour of Asia with Yuja Wang, including the Orchestra’s first performances in Beijing and Macau, its first visits to Japan and Taiwan in more than 15 years, and concerts in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The Orchestra and MTT performed a two-week national U.S. tour of all-American Mavericks music in March 2012, with Meredith Monk, Jessye Norman, Paul Jacobs, Emanuel Ax, Joan La Barbara, Jeremy Denk, and Mason Bates. Other recent tour highlights include a 2011 three-week tour of Europe; a 2007 European tour that featured two televised appearances at the BBC Proms in London, concerts in Edinburgh, Berlin and Frankfurt, and at several major European festivals, including Lucerne; and their first appearances in mainland China, including opening the Hong Kong Arts Festival, as part of their 2006 Asia tour. They opened Carnegie Hall’s 2008-09 season with a gala tribute to Leonard Bernstein that was filmed and broadcast nationally on Thirteen/WNET New York’s Great Performances on PBS television.
The Orchestra’s own SFS Media label showcases the Orchestra’s core classical repertoire alongside lesser-heard contemporary and modern works, especially by American composers. As part of an ongoing Beethoven exploration, in 2009 SFS Media released a recording of MTT and the San Francisco Symphony performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 featuring Emanuel Ax paired with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. It has also released recordings of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and this spring will release a CD of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in advance of performing a festival of Beethoven’s lesser known works at Davies Symphony Hall in May 2013. MTT and the SFS were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral performance for a 2012 recording of John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Harmonielehre. Grammy Awards will be announced on February 10. The Orchestra’s 2011-12 Centennial Season Opening Gala concert was televised on PBS-TV’s Great Performances and released on DVD.
The San Francisco Symphony’s commitment to music education has resulted in the groundbreaking television, radio, multimedia and website project Keeping Score; an award-winning children’s website, www.sfskids.com ; and Adventures in Music, a nationally acclaimed in-school music education program in San Francisco schools. The Keeping Score series has been viewed by over nine million people since its first broadcast in 2006 and has been acclaimed for making classical music accessible to a wider, more diverse audience.