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San Francisco Symphony
2006-07 season

Bay City News Service

March 2, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Two world premieres, the United States premiere of John Adams' new one-act opera, "A Flowering Tree'' and a concert performance of Charlie Chaplin's original score for his classic film, "City Lights,'' are the highlights of the San Francisco Symphony's 2006-07 season.

The symphony unveiled its upcoming season at a news conference at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco on Wednesday with Adams in attendance.

The Adams work, part of the symphony's 10-year commissioning project with Adams, is a co-commission with the Lincoln Center in New York City, the Barbican Centre in London, and the Berlin Philharmonic.

Speaking about his new work, Adams, whose opera "Dr. Atomic'' was the centerpiece of the San Francisco Opera last year, said he wrote "A Flowering Tree'' as a part of the 250th anniversary Mozart celebration.

"It is my response to Mozart's "The Magic Flute''; young people coming of age, gaining moral awareness in the world, and falling in love,'' Adams said.

He said he used a 2,000-year-old South Indian folk tale for the work at the suggestion of his collaborator Peter Sellers. He added that he had to do something like this after spending three years of handling Plutonian and "Dr. Atomic'' and the real, frightening possibility of the end of the world.

"I had to come out from under that cloud and write something direct and simple that goes right to the emotional core of a story,'' Adams explained. "After all, as musicians, this is what we do -- deal with emotions.''

"A Flowering Tree'' will be given its world premiere Nov. 14 in Vienna with Adams conducting the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. The piece, with Adams conducting, will play in San Francisco March 1-3 in a semi-staged performance.

Featured will be soprano Hyunah Yu, tenor Russell Thomas, a baritone narrator yet to be announced, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus.

The two symphony-commissioned world premieres are by South African composer Kevin Volans and British composer Robin Holloway. Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct Volans' Piano Concerto and Holloway's Fourth Concerto for Orchestra. The Piano Concerto will feature pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin.

David Robertson returns to conduct the orchestra in Thanksgiving week concerts playing the Chaplin score for "City Lights.'' The film will be screened while the orchestra plays.

Tilson Thomas, in commenting on the new season, said he is pleased with the direction the season has taken. He said he encouraged returning guest conductors to bring pieces that are their favorites.

"I liken this to a banquet with great chefs,'' Tilson Thomas said of putting the season together. "We are pairing new or rarely heard works with those of the core classical repertoire.''

Tilson Thomas will conduct 15 weeks of concerts in the new season beginning with the Sept. 6 Opening Gala featuring German violinist Christian Tetzlaff. The season also includes his tribute to the 250th anniversary Mozart celebration, "A Mozart Journey.'' Here he plans to explore the music of Mozart and his contemporaries.

In all, the 2006-07 season features 19 San Francisco Symphony premieres: 13 works by living composers, and six by American composers.

The symphony also announced its two international tours during the season: a September three-concert residency at the prestigious Lucerne Festival immediately following the Opening Gala, and a May 2007 tour to New York City for its annual appearances at Carnegie Hall, followed by two-concerts each in Vienna and Prague.

This year the acclaimed San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra will celebrate its 25th Anniversary Season. The celebration, announced at the news conference, includes an Anniversary Concert, a Davies Symphony Hall exhibit, and the establishment of a Youth Symphony alumni network.

The symphony's award-winning Mahler Recording Project was also discussed. The project was originally conceived to include all nine of Mahler's symphonies plus the Adagio from Symphony No. 10. On Wednesday, it was announced that the project is being expanded to include Mahler's Song Cycles. Mezzo soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and baritone Thomas Hampson will record part of the cycle this season. Mahler's Adagio is the other recording scheduled for the 2006-07 Season. The huge Symphony No. 8, "Symphony of a Thousand,'' will now be recorded during the 2008-09 Season.

The San Francisco 2006-07 season runs from Sept. 6 through June 24. There are still holes to be filled in the announced performances, but overall it looks to be an exciting excursion into the classical music world.

Season subscriber tickets go on sale March 2 and single performance ticket sales open to the general public Aug. 28.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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