Former San Francisco Symphony Resident Conductor Edwin Outwater returns to the SFS October 24-26 to lead a program of Eastern European works, including Ligeti’s Concert Românesc, Dvořák’s Legends, Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto, with pianist Simon Trpčeski.
These are the first SFS performances of Concert Românesc and Dvořák’s Legends for Orchestra. Prokofiev’s Third Piano has a rich SFS history: its SFS premiere was in 1930 with Prokofiev himself as soloist and then-Music Director Alfred Hertz. In 1959, Van Cliburn performed the work with the SFS, led by then-Music Director Enrique Jordá. The piece was featured in the Prokofiev Festival and subsequent European tour in 2007 with MTT and Yefim Bronfman, and in 2012 MTT led Lang Lang in its most recent SFS performances. The first SFS performances of Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra were in 1966 under conductor Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt at The War Memorial Opera House. Witold Lutosławski himself conducted the piece at Davies Symphony Hall in 1991, and the most recent SFS performances were in 2000, conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier.
Edwin Outwater has a long history with the San Francisco Symphony and has become a regular presence at Davies Symphony Hall this year. In addition to these performances, Outwater also conducts the San Francisco Symphony Music for Families concerts on September 28 and December 7. Outwater conducted several SFS concerts during the Orchestra’s 2013 Summer and the Symphony series, including a Fourth of July concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, the SFS’s annual outdoor concert at the Stern Grove festival, two performances with Johnny Mathis, and Carmina burana with the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus.
Outwater served as Resident Conductor of the SFS from 2001-2006 and Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) from 2001-2005. As Resident Conductor, he worked closely with Michael Tilson Thomas and conducted numerous concerts each season, including family and summer concerts, as well as Adventures in Music and Concerts for Kids performances for grade school children. He first conducted the SFS in a series of 2001 holiday concerts, and made his SFS regular subscription concert debut in 2002 as one of two conductors (Kurt Masur was the other) for Britten’s massive War Requiem. On two occasions, Outwater stepped in for Michael Tilson Thomas, conducting performances of Stravinsky’s complete Pulcinella, as well as works by Beethoven, Wagner, and Cherubini. In 2006, Outwater conducted the world premiere performance of The Composer is Dead, an SFS-commissioned work with music by Nathaniel Stookey and text by Lemony Snicket, which was later released by HarperCollins.
As Music Director of the SFSYO, he led the ensemble in all of their season concerts, as well as on tour in Europe in the summer of 2004, when the orchestra made its debut at Vienna’s Musikverein and Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and returned to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Outwater’s work in music education and community outreach has been widely celebrated. In 2004 his education programs at the San Francisco Symphony were given the Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Educational Programming, and his Chinese New Year Program was given the MET LIFE award for community outreach.
Outwater is currently Music Director of Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and regularly guest conducts the Chicago and New World Symphonies. In addition to his appearances with the SFS, highlights of his 2013-14 season include three appearances with the Chicago Symphony, and further guest appearances with the New World Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Indianapolis Symphony, and many others.
In the United States, Outwater has conducted the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Houston, Detroit, and Seattle. In Canada, he has conducted the National Arts Centre Orchestra, as well as the symphonies of Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Victoria. International appearances include the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the New Zealand Symphony, the Adelaide Symphony, the Malmö Symphony, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Mexico City Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. In 2009 he made his professional opera debut with the San Francisco Opera conducting Verdi’s La Traviata, and he has since conducted Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires with concert:nova Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Opera, as well as Menotti’s one-act opera Amahl and the Night Visitors at New York’s Lincoln Center. He participated as Associate Conductor with MTT in both YouTube Symphony projects, at Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House.
Simon Trpčeski made his SFS debut in 2004 playing Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier. Most recently in 2012, he performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with former Music Director Edo de Waart conducting. He performs regularly with the world’s most important orchestras, including the London Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Bolshoi, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, NDR Hamburg, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Sydney and Melbourne symphony orchestras and on tour with the New Zealand Symphony.
In North America, Trpčeski performs regularly with many of the major orchestras, including those of Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Toronto. He has also given solo concerts in Amsterdam (on the main stage of the Concertgebouw), Atlanta, Bilbao, Lisbon, Hamburg, London, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Prague, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver. Trpčeski often performs chamber music, having attended festivals such as Aspen, Verbier, and Risor. With the special support of KulturOp – Macedonia’s leading cultural and arts organization – and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia, Trpčeski works regularly with young musicians in Macedonia in order to cultivate the talent of the country’s next generation of artists.
In 2010, Trpčeski released his concerto recording debut on the Avie label, showcasing Rachmaninov’s notoriously challenging Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The album was awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’année and Classic FM’s “Editor’s Choice” Award. In 2011, Avie released the second concerto album from Trpčeski, Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 4 alongside Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The second disc also received the Diapason d’Or de l’année and Classic FM’s “Editor’s Choice” Award, as well as an “Editor’s Choice” award from Gramophone magazine. In 2009, the President of Macedonia, H.E. Gjorge Ivanov, honored Trpčeski with the Presidential Order of Merit for Macedonia, a decoration given to foreign and domestic dignitaries responsible for promoting Macedonian culture abroad. In 2011, Trpčeski was awarded the first-ever title “National Artist of the Republic of Macedonia.”