Cancelled: San Francisco Symphony
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor
Gautier Capuçon, Cello
JOHN ADAMS I Still Dance (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No. 1
STRAVINSKY The Firebird
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Pre-Concert TalkPre-concert talk at 7 PM with Paul Berry, Adjunct Associate Professor of Music History, Yale University.
This performance is sponsored by Mizuho Americas.
Support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by members of Carnegie Hall's Composer Club.
In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.
At a Glance
JOHN ADAMS I Still Dance
John Adams’s brief new piece, I Still Dance, was composed in honor of the 25th and final season of Michael Tilson Thomas’s tenure as the San Francisco Symphony’s music director. It celebrates “the continued youthful vitality” of Tilson Thomas, as well as of his husband, Joshua Robison. I Still Dance sustains an explosive, relentless intensity from the first downbeat through most of its span. Just as the churning maelstrom of energy seems poised to rouse for a climax, Adams dims the lights for what he describes as a “soft landing.”
SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33
Saint-Saëns was not only an extraordinary composer, he was an accomplished organist, champion of forgotten early music and of contemporary composers, inspiring teacher, gifted writer, world traveler, and an informed aficionado of such disciplines as Classical languages, astronomy, archaeology, philosophy, and even the occult sciences. He gave cellists their most famous short piece, the noble and evocative “The Swan” from Le carnaval des animaux, and this, one of the most graceful of concertos. It is nicely punctual, it has pleasing tunes and a bang-up close, and—something particularly appreciated by cellists—it presents none of the problems of balance, of sheer audibility of the solo instrument, that are a bother in almost all other examples of the genre.
STRAVINSKY The Firebird
San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) gave its first concerts in 1911 and has grown in acclaim under a succession of distinguished music directors: Henry Hadley, Alfred Hertz, Basil Cameron, Issay Dobrowen, Pierre Monteux, Enrique Jordá, Josef Krips, Seiji Ozawa, Edo de Waart, Herbert Blomstedt, and Michael Tilson Thomas, who assumed his post in 1995. Esa-Pekka Salonen was recently named the symphony’s next music director, beginning in September 2020. The SFS has won such recording awards as France’s Grand Prix du Disque, Britain’s Gramophone Award, and the United States’ Grammy. The SFS education program Adventures in Music brings music to every child in grades 1–5 in San Francisco’s public schools. In 2004, the SFS launched the multimedia Keeping Score on PBS and the web. In 2014, the SFS inaugurated SoundBox, an experimental performance venue and music series located backstage at Davies Symphony Hall. SFS radio broadcasts, the first in the nation to feature symphonic music when they began in 1926, today carry the orchestra’s concerts across the country. For more information, go to sfsymphony.org.
Michael Tilson Thomas
Michael Tilson Thomas first conducted the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in 1974 and has been music director since 1995. In what is widely considered one of the most dynamic and productive partnerships in the orchestral world, Mr. Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been praised for their innovative programming, enhancing the orchestral concert experience with multimedia and creative staging, showcasing the works of American composers, and attracting new audiences to orchestral music, both at home at Davies Symphony Hall and through the orchestra’s extensive media projects. A Los Angeles native, he studied with John Crown and Ingolf Dahl at the University of Southern California, becoming music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra at age 19. He worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland at the famed Monday Evening Concerts, and was pianist and conductor for Piatigorsky and Heifetz master classes. In 1969, Mr. Tilson Thomas won the Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Ten days later, he came to international recognition, replacing Music Director William Steinberg mid-concert at Lincoln Center. He went on to become the BSO’s principal guest conductor, and he has also served as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and as a principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. With the London Symphony Orchestra he has served as principal conductor and principal guest conductor; he is currently conductor laureate. He is artistic director of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy, which he co-founded in 1987. Mr. Tilson Thomas’s recordings have won numerous international awards, including 11 Grammys for SFS recordings. In 2014, he inaugurated SoundBox, the San Francisco Symphony’s new alternative performance space and live music series. His television credits include the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts, and in 2004 he and the SFS launched Keeping Score on PBS. His compositions include From the Diary of Anne Frank; Shówa/Shoáh; settings of poems by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Rainer Maria Rilke; Island Music; Notturno; and Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind. Mr. Tilson Thomas is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, was Musical America’s Musician and Conductor of the Year, and was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in 2015. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Arts and Letters, was inducted in the California Hall of Fame, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama. Most recently, he was a 2019 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
Gautier Capuçon regularly performs with many of the world’s foremost conductors and instrumentalists. He is also founder and leader of the Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and artist-in-residence with Orquesta de Valencia in Spain.
The 2019–2020 season sees Mr. Capuçon perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Philippe Jordan, Czech Philharmonic and Semyon Bychkov, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Stéphane Denève, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda, and Frankfurt Radio Symphony with Alain Altinoglu. He also tours Europe and the US with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. As a chamber musician, this season he performs on tour with Yuja Wang, and in concerts with Renaud Capuçon, Frank Braley, Jérôme Ducros, and Leonidas Kavakos.
Mr. Capuçon records exclusively for the Erato (Warner Classics) label. His latest album, featuring works by Schumann, was recorded live with Martha Argerich, Renaud Capuçon, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe led by Bernard Haitink. Mr. Capuçon also recently released an album with Yuja Wang that features sonatas by Chopin and Franck. Previous recordings include concertos by Shostakovich with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, and Saint-Saëns with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Lionel Bringuier; the complete Beethoven cello sonatas with Frank Braley; Schubert’s String Quintet with the Ébène Quartet; and Intuition, an album of encores recorded with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Douglas Boyd, and Jérôme Ducros. In 2013, Deutsche Grammophon released a DVD featuring Mr. Capuçon as soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Gustavo Dudamel in a live performance of Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1.