Michael Tilson Thomas leads a star-studded program with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, violinist Gil Shaham, soprano Lisa Vroman, and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and Chorus in a tribute to immediate past SFS President John Goldman. The SFS Chorus opens the concert with Lux aeterna, Ligeti’s transcendent piece made famous by 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major is infused with cool jazzy sounds brought to life by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Gil Shaham performs the finale from Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. The fourth movement of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 and Lisa Vroman singing excerpts from South Pacific begin the second half of the program, followed by special surprise guests on stage to celebrate John Goldman’s eleven-year tenure as SFS President. The Martini Brothers will entertain guests in the lobby prior to the concert and at intermission.
John D. Goldman was elected President of the SF Symphony in December 2001 and has been a member of the SFS’s Board of Governors since 1996. He completed his tenure as President in December 2012, and continues to serve on the board. Goldman’s many accomplishments include the launch and completion of the Symphony’s Second Century campaign to support the Orchestra’s artistic, education, and community programs. The funds raised ensure the organization’s continued commitment to artistic and musical excellence, develop new audiences, fund artist and composer residencies and commissioned works, and support the organization’s financial stability. Goldman was at the helm during the planning and celebration of the Orchestra’s Centennial season in 2011-12, highlighted by the return of the groundbreaking American Mavericks Festival, the visits of six leading American orchestras for two-concert residencies, and the expansion of education and community programs.
Also during his tenure, the Orchestra launched and successfully completed the globally-acclaimed, decade-long Gustav Mahler recording project on SFS Media, which encompassed the recordings of all of the composer’s symphonies and works for voice, chorus, and orchestra, a cycle that won seven Grammy Awards. With Goldman as President, the SFS conceived and created the $25 million Keeping Score project, producing a national television and radio series, and websites designed to make classical music more widely accessible for all. The Symphony’s media and technology endeavors significantly expanded during Goldman’s leadership as President, further establishing the SFS as an innovator in reaching audiences far beyond the concert experience at Davies Symphony Hall.
Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s 2012-2013 season includes a tour of Europe with Kammerorchester Basel, engagements at Carnegie Hall, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and a tour of Spain with the German Symphony Orchestra. Thibaudet has released more than 40 albums with Decca, which have won the Schallplattenpreis, the Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, a Gramophone Award, two Echo awards and the Edison Prize. He was the featured pianist on the Oscar and Golden Globe award-winning soundtrack to Atonement and the Oscar-nominated Pride and Prejudice, and recorded the soundtrack of the 2012 film, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, composed by Alexandre Desplat.
Violinist Gil Shaham has been a frequent guest of the San Francisco Symphony since his debut in 1990. He most recently performed at Davies Symphony Hall in recital in March, and will also perform Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto with MTT and the SFS June 19 and 20. This season, Shaham continues his long-term exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” a project he started in 2010. Last fall he released a recording tied to the project on his label, Canary Classics, which included the Barber, Stravinsky and Berg Violin Concertos with three leading orchestras under the baton of David Robertson. Shaham plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius. He lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.
Lisa Vroman has performed with the SFS numerous times, including singing the roles of Johanna in the San Francisco Symphony’s Emmy award-winning Sweeney Todd in Concert in 2001 and Mary Turner in Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing/ Let ‘Em Eat Cake in concert with Michael Tilson Thomas, the SFS and the SFS Chorus. She starred for several years on Broadway as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera, garnering Theatre Critic’s awards for the role in a record-breaking run in San Francisco, and did a return engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. In addition to roles in many stage and opera productions this season, Vroman made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops. She made her Broadway debut in 1990 in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love, and she is the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in Les Miserables. She starred as Laurey in Oklahoma, which was filmed live in concert for the BBC’s PROMS festival at The Royal Albert Hall. Vroman sang at the Profiles in Courage Award dinner in Boston at the JFK Library as a guest of the Kennedy family, and has sung on separate occasions for Queen Elizabeth, former President Bill Clinton, and former Vice President Al Gore.