TCHAIKOVSKY’S SYMPHONY NO. 5 – This week at Davies Symphony Hall and Flint Center

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson joins SF Symphony for Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 5
MTT conducts his own Street Song For Symphonic Brass

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Music Director MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony perform Tchaikovsky’s SYMPHONY No. 5 and Tilson Thomas’s own STREET SONG FOR SYMPHONIC BRASS at Davies Symphony Hall Thursday, January 15th and Saturday, January 17th. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson joins the Orchestra for performances of Prokofiev’s PIANO CONCERTO No. 5. The Orchestra and Ohlsson also perform Friday, January 16th at Flint Center in Cupertino.
Click here for ticket information: SF SYMPHONY

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SERGEI PROKOFIEV – MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS

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Tilson Thomas composed the three-part, 14-minute STREET SONG FOR SYMPHONIC BRASS for brass quintet in 1988; this arrangement, for a 12-piece brass ensemble, was written in 1996. These are the first SFS performances of the work, which will be performed on the Orchestra’s January West Coast tour. Ohlsson also joins the Orchestra on the tour, performing the Prokofiev concerto in Seattle and Los Angeles.

The SFS invites audience members to participate in Off the Podium, an informal post-concert question and answer session with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and pianist Garrick Ohlsson immediately following the concert on Saturday, January 17th. Peter Grunberg gives “Inside Music” talks one hour prior to each concert. Free to all concert ticket holders; doors open 15 minutes before. Michael Tilson Thomas will sign CDs in the Symphony Store following the concert on Thursday, January 15th. Click here to shop the Symphony’s: ONLINE STORE

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GARRICK OHLSSON, Pianist

Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist GARRICK OHLSSON has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although he has long been regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Frédéric Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire, which ranges over the entire piano literature. A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. His concerto repertoire alone is unusually wide and eclectic – ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century – and to date he has at his command some 80 concertos.

Acclaimed for his work as a composer, MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS has given world premieres of many of his works with the San Francisco Symphony. In 1999, MTT conducted the SFS in the first orchestral version of Three Songs to Poems by Walt Whitman, sung by baritone Thomas Hampson, and in 2001, Renée Fleming and the SFS premiered his song cycle Poems of Emily Dickinson. In October 2002, Tilson Thomas led the SFS in the world premiere of his contrabassoon concerto Urban Legend, with SFS contrabassoonist Steven Braunstein as soloist. In January 2005, MTT and the SFS performed Tilson Thomas’s Island Music, a celebration of percussion dedicated to the memory of Lou Harrison. In 1991, Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony were presented in a series of benefit concerts for UNICEF in the U.S. that featured Audrey Hepburn as narrator of From the Diary of Anne Frank, composed by Tilson Thomas and commissioned by UNICEF. This piece has since been translated and performed in many languages worldwide. In August 1995, he led the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in the world premiere of his composition Shówa/Shoáh, written in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

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RECOMMENDED RECORDINGS – Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony, MTT’s Street Song, Prokofiev’s 5th Piano concerto

Tilson Thomas’s many honors include Columbia University’s Ditson Award for services to American Music, The American Music Center’s Letter of Distinction, and the President’s Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He was named 1995 Conductor of the Year by Musical America, and in 2005 was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame. Tilson Thomas was a Carnegie Hall Perspectives Artist from 2003-2005, and in 2006 he was recognized with Gramophone’s Artist of the Year award, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of San Francisco. Tilson Thomas is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France. Viva Voce, MTT’s volume of conversations with British critic Edward Seckerso

Classic film fans will recall MGM.’s fabulous treatment of major themes from Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony in the 1937 production of Sigmund Romberg’s operetta, MAYTIME. Starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, the story concerns a glamorous but frustrated prima donna who is fated to reconnect with her first love – a rising but unknown baritone – in an opera composed especially for her, “Czaritza”. Prior to his untimely death, producer IRVING THALBERG outlined a new setting for the musical warhorse and made room for a magnificently contrived operatic sequence that would showcase MacDonald and Eddy and flaunt the talents of MGM’s most famous and flamboyant wardrobe designer, Gilbert Adrian. Whatever the talk may have been in 1937 around the secret life of composer Peter Tchaikovsky and Hollywood’s most romantic singing duo, this moment from MAYTIME is emblematic of the phenomenon referred to as, “The Star Treatment”.

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Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald take the 5th (Maytime, 1937) and Tchaikovsky (age 34) – scene from Czaritza.

For ticket information, click on the date below:
THURSDAY, January 15th, 8:00 pm – at Davies Symphony Hall
FRIDAY, January 16th, 8:00 pm – Flint Center, Cupertino
SATURDAY, January 17th, 8:00 pm– at Davies Symphony Hall

Add these recordings to your Classical Library. Click on the title to order on-line:
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5 – This recording from Telarc also includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s March from Tsar Saltan Suite, Op. 57. Andre Previn conducts the Royal Philharmonic.
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 5 – Featuring pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy. Conductor André Previn leads the London Symphony Orchestra.
EMPIRE BRASS – Bernstein, Gershwin, Michael Tilson-Thomas – Featuring composer Michael Tilson Thomas’ Street Song.

Visit Seán on YouTube:
Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
SAMSON & DELILAH – Meet Seán Martinfield
CA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES – A Preview Look with Seán Martinfield

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See Related: FINE ARTS CRITIC SEAN MARTINFIELD

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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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