Acclaimed American conductor David Robertson leads the San Francisco Symphony in performances of Ravel’s La Valse and Elliott Carter’s Variations for Orchestra, and renowned pianist Marc-André Hamelin is featured in performances of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in D major for the Left Hand and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue May 22, 24-25 at Davies Symphony Hall and May 23 at Weill Hall at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center.
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue has been frequently performed by the Orchestra, perhaps most famously with Gershwin himself and Music Director Pierre Monteux at UC Berkeley in 1937. In 1921, Music Director Alfred Hertz conducted the U.S. premiere of Ravel’s La Valse at the Columbia Theater (now the American Conservatory Theater), and Ravel himself led the SFS in La Valse and other impressionist works at the Curran Theater in 1928. Commissioned by Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm during World War I, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in D major for the Left Hand was first performed by the SFS in 1946 with Wittgenstein at the piano and Monteux conducting. Composer Elliott Carter, who died at age 103 in November 2012, had his Variations for Orchestra first performed by the SFS in 1963 under conductor Enrique Jordá.
David Robertson is completing his eighth season as Music Director of the 133-year-old St. Louis Symphony. In January 2014, Robertson will assume the post of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony in Australia.
In March, Robertson and his orchestra toured California, including an intensive three-day residency at the University of California-Davis and a performance at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts with violinist James Ehnes. Robertson led the St. Louis Symphony and violinist Christian Tetzlaff on a European tour in 2012 which included appearances at London’s BBC Proms, at the Berlin and Lucerne Festivals, and culminated at Salle Pleyel in Paris.
French-Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin made his SFS debut in 2006 with the world premiere (and MTT/SFS commission) of Kevin Volans’ Piano Concerto No. 2, Atlantic Crossing, and appeared here most recently in 2010 performing works by Chopin and Mendelssohn. This season, Hamelin performs Haydn’s piano concertos with Les Violons du Roy and Bernard Labadie in a performance that will be recorded for release on Hyperion Records. He also performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Hamelin will also perform Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet with the Takacs String Quartet on tour throughout North America. Also a composer, he will appear in recital at the 92nd Street Y for the New York premiere of his Variations on a Theme by Paganini. His most recent releases include Reger’s and Strauss’s piano concertos with the Berlin Radio Symphony, and a disc of solo piano works by Liszt that was selected for Gramophone’s 2011 Critic’s Choice feature. An album of his own compositions, Hamelin: Études, received a 2010 Grammy nomination (his ninth) and a first prize from the German Record Critic’s Association.
Wednesday, May 22 at 8 pm
Thursday, May 23 at 8 pm (Sonoma State University Green Music Center – Weill Hall)
Friday, May 24 at 6:30 pm
Saturday, May 25 at 8 pm