San Francisco Symphony concerts this week offer an unusual program and one of the most important young violinists around. At 25, Hilary Hahn has been on the international concert circuit for well over a decade. Unlike child prodigies who soar, only to crash and burn before an adult career, Hahn has been on a journey of consistent excellence and constant growth, but not eschewing a gig or two playing electronic violin with a rock band. (In a somewhat unusual move, she’s making an in-store appearance at 7 p.m. today at Amoeba Records, 1855 Haight St., San Francisco.)
The Davies Hall concerts — Wednesday at 8 p.m., Thursday at 2 p.m. and Friday at 6:30 p.m. — are conducted by David Zinman, who put together a varied program from Hollywood, Central Europe and a controversial contemporary Swedish composer.
Aaron Copland’s 1942 "Music for Movies" presents excerpts from Copland soundtracks for "The City," "Our Town" and "Of Mice and Men." Zoltán Kodály’s "Háry János" uses Hungarian folk themes in telling the colorful story of a self-proclaimed hero’s adventures in the Napoleonic wars.Then there is the local premiere of "Liquid Marble" by Swedish composer Per Anders Hillborg. It is a sonic extravaganza that, believe it or not, sounds just like you’d imagine from its title — an adventure of chromatic scales overlapping one another in an acoustic environment of "colossal sounds."
Central Europe and Hollywood meet in the evening’s concerto, performed by Hahn. Erich Korngold was both an important classical-music composer and the creator of many film scores. His 1945 "Violin Concerto" has fallen out of regular repertory, but when Hahn performed it as part of the soundtrack for M. Night Shyamalan’s movie "The Village," interest was revived in the work. (At Friday’s "6.5" concert, only Copland’s and Korngold’s works will be performed, after a lecture-demonstration.)
"The Korngold is a great concerto that should be played more," Hahn says. "I like playing a varied repertoire that includes standard works, unusual and less-performed concertos and violinists’ violin pieces. There is a lot of great music, like the Korngold, lost in the corners of the violin repertoire that needs to be heard.
"I have included a live performance of it on my DVD, which will be out in thespring. David Zinman will bring out fantastic colors in the work, and I’m really looking forward to playing it with him and the San Francisco Symphony."
Hahn, admitted to Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 10, has relatives in the Bay Area, and often has performed here both with the San Francisco Symphony and with Jeffrey Kahane, former music director of the Santa Rosa Symphony. "In addition to the many performances throughout the years, we also recorded together on a Bach Violin Concertos album with the L.A. Chamber Orchestra," Hahn says.
"I like being here and I am looking forward to making new connections with people who may have not heard me perform live before. I’ll be doing in-store appearances at Amoeba Records, and join the alt-rock band And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead at The Fillmore Auditorium on electric violin."
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, 2 p.m. Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
Contact: (415) 864-6000 or www.sfsymphony.org