Michael Tilson Thomas will celebrates his final, 25th season at the head of San Francisco Symphony in 2019-20. (Courtesy Brandon Patoc)

New music and more in MTT’s final SF Symphony season

The San Francisco Symphony’s 2019-20 season, its final with music director Michael Tilson Thomas, features a wide range of programming for which the orchestra is known.

“This season is very much about celebrating the relationships we have built together,” said Thomas, 74, who will depart after 25 years on the job.

Praising the orchestra and city’s “daring spirit,” he announced the season on March 12.

Championing new, American music, it includes new works by MTT (Jan. 9-12), John Adams (Sept. 19-22), Mason Bates (April 16-18), Julia Wolfe (Jan. 16-18) and Aaron Zigman (Feb. 14-16) as well as debut San Francisco Symphony performances of music by Wynton Marsalis (May 7-9).

A June 2020 program called “History’s Persistent Voice” offers commissions and local premieres of music by Rhiannon Giddens, Camille Norment, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Pamela Z, Tania León, Allison Loggins-Hull and Jessie Montgomery.

MTT also is slated to lead concerts of music by American composers Samuel Barber and John Corigliano (June 18-21) and Carl Ruggles (May 22-24).

Guest artists-in-residence include soprano Julia Bullock (Feb. 20-22 and April 24-25); mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke (Jan. 9-12 and May 31) and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter (Jan. 26-27, June 4-6).

Other guests include pianists Emanuel Ax (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Jan. 16-19); Yuja Wang (Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1, May 14-17); Daniil Trifonov (Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4, Sept. 19-22); violinist Gil Shaham (Barber’s Violin Concerto, June 18-21); and cellist Gautier Capuçon (Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2, March 12-14).

The season also features masterworks: A semi-staged production of Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” is in June 2020; and MTT leads concerts of Mahler’s Sixth (Sept. 12-15) and Eighth symphonies (June 25-28).

Beethoven’s 250th birthday concerts include Symphony No. 2 (Feb. 7-9), No. 5 (April 30-May 2) and No. 7 (Jan. 23-25) and piano recitals featuring Yefim Bronfman (April 5) and Igor Levit (May 24).

In February, music director designate Esa-Pekka Salonen leads programs including works by Ravel and Britten with soprano Bullock (Feb. 20-22) and Salonen’s Violin Concerto performed by Leila Josefowicz (Feb. 27-29).

The symphony’s principal percussionist Jacob Nissly gets the spotlight in a premiere by Adam Schoenberg (Oct. 17-19); and concertmaster Alexander Barantschik performs J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 1, with early music specialist Ton Koopman conducting (Nov. 7-9).

The symphony’s recently announced partnership with Stanford University includes performances July 10 and July 13-14 in the newly-renovated Frost Amphitheater.

The crowd-pleasing film series continues with “Get Out” (Oct. 30), “Coco” (Nov. 1-2), “Ghost Busters” (Nov. 29-30), “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Dec. 3-6) and “Apollo 13” (July 2 and July 5).

Continuing tradition, the season opens Sept. 4 with a gala honoring MTT and his husband Joshua Robison; Sept. 5 and Sept. 7 “All San Francisco” Concerts feature MTT and violinists Alina Ming Kobialka and Hannah Tarley playing works by Berlioz, Saint-Saens, Ravel, Gershwin and Britten.

IF YOU GO

San Francisco Symphony 2019-20 season

Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.

When: Sept. 4, 2019 through July 5, 2020

Tickets: $192-$918 for six concerts; $384-$1,836 for 12 concerts; from $32-$50 for single tickets

Contact: (415) 864-6000, www.sfsymphony.org/MTT25

Note: Subscriptions go on sale March 12; single tickets on July 22

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