San Francisco concert-goers will surely be delighted by the return to Davies Symphony Hall of Pablo Heras-Casado as he begins a two-week season with the San Francisco Symphony.
The first series of concerts – from April 20 to 23 – features Haydn’s Piano Concerto in D, with Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter as soloist, and Beethoven’s Symphony No 2. It opens with the Suite from Pygmalion by Rameau (the first time this work has been performed by the Symphony) and Battalia á 9 by the 17th century Czech composer Biber .
Pablo Heras-Casado is always a welcome guest in San Francisco. Following his debut with the Symphony in 2010, he became a Shenson Young Artist in 2013, and last appeared at Davies Symphony Hall in April 2015, in a program which featured violinist Joshua Bell. The young Spanish maestro has served as Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s since 2012, and in 2014 was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of Teatro Real in Madrid – the same year in which he was named Musical America’s Conductor of the Year, and received Ópera Acutal Magazine’s award for “most promising young Spanish artist”.
With a repertoire which includes the symphonic and operatic repertoire as well as contemporary scores, he is a regular guest with some of the world’s major orchestras – including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, the Mariinsky Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera. He is a laureate of the 2007 Lucerne Festival Conductors’ Forum to which returned in 2013, at the invitation of Pierre Boulez, to co-direct the festival’s Academy. Maestro Heras-Casado is also a Global Ambassador for Ayuda en Acción – a Spanish charity which supports the eradication of poverty and injustice in the world.
Ingrid Fliter, a laureate of the Ferruccio Busoni Competition in Italy, started attracting attention when she won the silver medal at the 2000 Frederic Chopin Competition in Warsaw, but it wasn’t until she received the Gilmore Artist Award in 2006 that the international world of music took note – she was one of only a few pianists to have received this honor, and the only woman to have done so. She was subsequently selected as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, working with several of the BBC orchestras from 2007 to 2009 under the auspices of this program.
It was in 2007 that Ms Fliter made her debut with the San Francisco Symphony, and she now returns to Davies Symphony Hall as a Shenson Young Artist. She is known as one of the foremost interpreters of the music of Chopin, was the featured soloist on the Youth Orchestra of the Americas’ Canadian tour in summer 2015, and last fall she was invited to teach at the Imola International Academy ‘Incontri col Maestro’. Highlights of her 2015-16 season include all-Chopin recitals in London, Stockholm, Lisbon and at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, her debut with the New World Symphony, and appearances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish National Symphony, Hungarian National Philharmonic, and the Scottish and Swedish chamber orchestras.
Pablo Heras-Casado leads the San Francisco Symphony and guest soloist Ingrid Fliter at Davies Symphony Hall on April 20, 22 and 23. For more information and tickets, visit the San Francisco Symphony website.
During the second part of his two-week season of concerts in San Francisco, Pablo Heras-Casado leads the Symphony in a performance of the Shostakovich Symphony No 9 – which Leonard Bernstein referred to as “one of his gayest and most amusing works” – not the grand and heroic symphony with chorus and soloists which those in power in Russia in 1945 were expecting. The program also features Bartók’s Dance Suite, one of three works commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the formation of Hungary’s capital Budapest, and Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, written originally for piano – in honor of the fallen soldiers for whom Ravel had cared during World War I – and transcribed for orchestra in 1918.
The program also features a world premiere – a work by Mason Bates, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, entitled Auditorium, in which the composer performs, with the orchestra, on electronica. Michael Tilson Thomas and the Symphony have long championed the works of Mason Bates, and in March this year released an album – on the SFS Media label – entitled Mason Bates: Works for Orchestra, which features his three largest electro-acoustic orchestral works. Previous SFS commissions from Bates include The B-Sides, Mass Transmission – composed for the Symphony’s Centennial – and Attack Sustain Decay Release.
“Auditorium”, says the composer, “begins with the premise that an orchestra, like a person, can be possessed. The works haunts the San Francisco Symphony with ghostly processed recordings of a baroque ensemble, with the electronic part comprised entirely of original neo-baroque music created especially for the piece. Essentially it is a work for two orchestras – one live, one dead.”
Pablo Heras-Casado leads the San Francisco Symphony in music by Bartók, Mason Bates, Ravel and Shostakovich at Davies Symphony Hall from April 27 to 29. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the San Francisco Symphony website.
San Francisco Symphony program notes
Leonard Bernstein – Young People’s Concert: A Birthday Tribute to Shostakovich