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