‘Tis the Season at Davies Symphony Hall

By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Linda Ronstadt will join the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) to perform Sergei Prokofiev’s cherished musical tale, Peter and the Wolf. Music Director Donato Cabrera will conduct the December 12th presentation at the Flint Center in Cupertino and two performances on Sunday, December 13th at Davies Symphony Hall at 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm.  Linda Ronstadt’s work has been recognized for its connection with many vocal genres, including country, rock and roll, big band, jazz, opera, Broadway standards, and Mexican and Afro-Cuban songs.  With worldwide album sales of over 50 million, at least 31 gold and platinum records, and 11 Grammy Awards to her credit, Ms. Ronstadt is the consummate American artist.  In May 2009, she received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music.  Ms. Ronstadt last appeared with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in 1992 when she narrated Peter and the Wolf.


The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) is recognized internationally as one of the finest youth orchestras in the world. In 1994, former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan officially proclaimed the ensemble a “City Treasure.” Founded by the San Francisco Symphony in 1981, the SFSYO’s musicians are chosen from more than 300 applicants in annual auditions. The SFSYO’s purpose is to provide an orchestral experience of pre-professional caliber, tuition-free, to talented young musicians from the greater Bay Area. The more than 100 diverse musicians, ranging in age from 12 to 21, represent communities from throughout the Bay Area. The SFSYO rehearses and performs in Davies Symphony Hall under the direction of Music Director Donato Cabrera.

Along with Peter and the Wolf, the program will include:
Tchaikovsky: Russian Dance from Nutcracker Suite, Opus 71a
Prokofiev: Troika from Lieutenant Kijé Suite, Opus 60
Tchaikovsky: March from Nutcracker Suite, Opus 71a
Tchaikovsky: Arabian Dance from Nutcracker Suite, Opus 71a
Tchaikovsky: Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy from Nutcracker Suite, Opus 71a
Strauss: Radetzky March, Opus 228
Tchaikovsky: Waltz of the Flowers from Nutcracker Suite, Opus 71a

MTT Conducts Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony
Wednesday through Saturday, l2/9 – 12/ll


Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in performances of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and the composer’s Fourth Piano Concerto, with pianist Emanuel Ax as soloist, December 9th – 12th. The orchestra will also perform Webern’s Symphony and his arrangement of Schubert’s German Dances.


These are the first of Emanuel Ax’s four appearances under the auspices of the San Francisco Symphony this season. In recognition of the bicentenaries of Chopin and Schumann in 2010 and in partnership with the San Francisco Symphony, Barbican, Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Emanuel Ax has commissioned new works from Thomas Adès, Peter Lieberson and Osvaldo Golijov. At Davies Symphony Hall, he’ll perform the new Lieberson work, Remembering Schumann, with cellist Yo-Yo Ma (1/26), the Golijov piece with soprano Dawn Upshaw (3/20), and a solo recital (4/25) in which he’ll perform the Thomas Adès commission. The Thomas Adès piece replaces a previously scheduled John Adams commission.
Emanuel Ax toured Asia in October with the New York Philharmonic and Music Director Alan Gilbert. This month, he tours in Europe with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and James Conlon. In the spring, Ax performs on tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony with Manfred Honeck, and with the Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston Symphony Orchestras. Ax also is collaborating with the Mark Morris Dance Group and Yo-Yo Ma in a new dance work.

This week’s program will include:
Schubert (arr. Webern) – German Dances, Op. Post (D.820)
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Opus 58
Webern – Symphony, Opus 21
Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Opus 67
Click here for ticket information: MTT Conducts Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

HOLIDAY PIPE DREAMS with organist David Higgs
December 13 at 7 p.m. in Davies Symphony Hall

Soprano Lisa Vroman and a quintet of San Francisco Symphony brass musicians — Principal Trumpet Mark Inouye, Principal Horn Robert Ward, Principal Trombone Timothy Higgins, Principal Tuba Jeffrey Anderson, and Acting Second Trumpet Jeff Biancalana — join organist David Higgs for this year’s Holiday Pipe Dreams concert, showcasing Davies Symphony Hall’s magnificent Ruffatti organ, December 13th at 7 p.m.


With a repertoire that ranges from Stravinsky to Weill to Broadway, Ms. Vroman is a frequent guest soloist with Theatre/Opera companies and Orchestras including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, National, Hong Kong, Cleveland, Pacific, Utah, Dallas, and the Boston Pops (Keith Lockhart) and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. Miss Vroman made her debut at The Hollywood Bowl singing with Dick Van Dyke in a medley for Mary Poppins, John Mauceri conducting a Disney 75th celebration. She guest starred with SONY artist Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis in his NYC debut concert at City Center; and has performed in Stephen Blier’s New York Festival of Song, in a tribute to Broadway director Harold Prince. Miss Vroman has sung in concert with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, composer Stephen Schwartz, Organist David Higgs, and the Empire Brass Quintet. Her solo CD Broadway Classic features Metropolitan Opera Mezzo-Soprano Stephanie Blythe and 47 of San Francisco’s finest orchestral players. Miss Vroman had the honor of singing at the Profiles in Courage Award dinner in Boston at the JFK Library , as a guest of the Kennedy family. She has also sung  on separate occasions for Queen Elizabeth, former President Bill Clinton, and former Vice President Al Gore. This coming season Lisa will star as Lili/Kate in “Kiss Me Kate” with the Glimmerglass Opera Festival, as Birdie in Blitzstein’s “Regina” with Utah Opera and the premiere of two Comic Operas (Musto/ Bolcum) with NYFOS in NYC.
Click here for ticket information: HOLIDAY PIPE DREAMS

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, 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 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:


Telephone: 415-846-2475




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