Premieres slated for 101st San Francisco Symphony season 

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo

Only halfway through their centennial season, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony on Monday announced plans for 2012-13.

Notable programs include the Oct. 31 premiere of “Pandora,” a commission by assistant concertmaster Mark Volkert, who joined the orchestra in 1972.

Volkert is the only member of the orchestra who was present when MTT — who, with 17 years on the podium, is the country’s longest-serving music director of a major orchestra — made his debut here 38 years ago.

The commissioned piece “Absolute Jest” is by award-winning composer John Adams (whose works have been on symphony programs for decades), and “Drift and Providence,” a jazz and improvisational composition by Adams’ son, 27-year-old Samuel Carl Adams, also is slated for the upcoming season.

Among many novelties of the 101st season are June 2013 plans for Bernstein’s “West Side Story.” Even though the musical has been popular for six decades, the symphony’s presentation will mark the first complete concert performances of the music anywhere.

In addition to going on tour to the East Coast and Japan, the orchestra will perform at Sonoma’s new Green Music Center and participate in the inaugural gala week for Stanford’s new Bing Concert Hall.

The season’s opening gala at Davies Symphony Hall will be later than usual, Sept. 19, two weeks after subscription concerts begin. The delay accommodates MTT’s schedule; in early September, he will be in Europe leading the London Symphony Orchestra.

Performances of Beethoven works will span the composer’s career, ranging from a cantata by the 19-year-old composer to his late, mighty “Missa Solemnis.”

In January, the symphony will perform an original, semistaged concert experience based around Ibsen’s epic five-act play “Peer Gynt,” with music by Edvard Grieg and other composers, including Robin Holloway and Alfred Schnittke.

The Great Performers Series features concerts by the Warsaw Philharmonic and the Russian National Orchestra (conducted by the San Francisco Opera’s Patrick Summers), plus recitals by Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Renée Fleming with Susan Graham, and Matthias Goerne with Christoph Eschenbach.

San Francisco Symphony 101st season
Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: Sept. 5 through June 22, 2013
Tickets: Subscriptions on sale now; single tickets available after July 22
Contact: (415) 864-6000,

About The Author

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben is a writer and columnist for SF Classical Voice; he has worked as writer and editor with the NY Herald-Tribune, TIME Inc., UPI, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, San Jose Mercury News, Post Newspaper Group, and wrote documentation for various technology companies.
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