San Francisco Symphony's 99th season, announced today by Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, opens with Duke Ellington and closes with Beethoven.
Ellington songs such as “Sophisticated Lady” and “It Don't Mean a Thing” will be sung by opera diva Jessye Norman at the Sept. 7 opening gala for the 2010-11 season.
One of Beethoven's greatest – and rarely performed – works, the 1824 “Missa Solemnis,” ends the season in June 2011.
Classics rule during the nine-month season, including two all-Beethoven concert series (Jan. 20-23 and Feb. 2-5), an all-Beethoven program with the Mutter-Bashmet-Harrell Trio (Nov. 7) as well as all-Mozart (Feb. 17-19) and all-Mendelssohn (March 10-12) concerts.
Among large-scale works coming up are Orff's “Carmina burana” with three choruses (Nov. 3-5); John Adams’ “El Niño” (Dec. 2-4); and “Harmonielehre” (Dec. 8-11); Mendelssohn's “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” conducted by Kurt Masur (March 10-12); and Bach's B minor Mass, conducted by SFS Chorus Director Ragnar Bohlin (March 16-20).
MTT will conduct “Mahler in San Francisco” programs in May 2011, including Symphony Nos. 2 (“Resurrection”), 6 and 9. Adding Symphony No. 5, SFS will perform the works on two “Mahler in Europe” tours. This year is the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth, and 2011 the centennial of his death.
Visiting orchestras to Davies Hall include the Dresden Staatskapelle, with conductor yet to be announced (playing Beethoven and Brahms), Oct. 24; Israel Philharmonic, with Zubin Mehta (Haydn and Mahler), Feb. 27 and 28; National Orchestra of Spain, with Josep Pons (Falla, Joan Albert Amargós, Stravinsky, Ravel); April 10; St. Petersburg Philharmonic, with Yuri Temirkanov (Shostakovich and Brahms), March 27-28.
On the contemporary front, Project San Francisco continues, with two weeks in December spotlighting works by John Adams, and in June 2011, with young pianist Yuja Wang as soloist as well as chamber music and student events.
The season features eight works by living composers, including the two Adams pieces and two commissions. The others are 94-year-old Henri Dutilleux's “Tout un monde lointain,” György Kurtág's “Grabstein für Stephan,” Christopher Rouse's “The Infernal Machine” and Valentin Silvestrov's “Elegie.”
Of the two SFS commissions/world premieres, one, Rufus Wainwright's “Five Shakespeare Sonnets” – postponed from the current season – will run Nov. 11-13. Israeli composer Avner Dorman's “Uriah,” to be conducted by David Robertson, is Jan. 26-28.
The centennial season, 2011-12, is likely to present more investment in commissions, the gold standard for keeping orchestras living institutions. San Francisco Symphony, operating on a $63.5 million annual budget, has two commissions, while Alan Gilbert's New York Philharmonic ($64.5 million) has seven, and Gustavo Dudamel's Los Angeles Philharmonic ($95 million) has nine.
Locally, the upcoming season promises two world premieres at Joana Carneiro's Berkeley Symphony ($1.1 million), in addition to performances of works by John Adams, Peter Lieberson and James MacMillan.
There will be two world premieres at Michael Morgan's Oakland East Bay Symphony ($2.1 million), while Barry Jekowsky's California Symphony ($1.3 million), continues its nationally acclaimed Young American Composer-in-Residence progam, which has contributed substantially to the 23-year-old orchestra's 30 world premieres to date.
IF YOU GO
San Francisco Symphony
Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
When: September 2010 through June 2011
Tickets: Subscriptions beginning at $60 are on sale today; single tickets for non-subscribers on sale at 10 a.m. July 19
Contact: (415) 864-6000, www.sfsymphony.org