When San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas first met Leonard Bernstein in 1968, Bernstein put Thomas on the spot, asking him to go to the piano and play his favorite piece of music.
Thomas tentatively approached the piano and began to play the last movement of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. The piece was one of Bernstein’s favorites as well, and he immediately jumped up and began playing along with Thomas.
That initial encounter began a decades-long collaboration and mentorship, one that would last until Bernstein's death. During the symphony’s upcoming 2017-2018 season, Thomas honors his mentor’s 100th birthday with a season-long Bernstein Centennial celebration.
“It is a joy to celebrate my friend and longtime colleague Leonard Bernstein’s spirit and legacy through his music next season,” said Thomas. “Bernstein was a great friend to many people, and gifted us all his tremendously adventurous spirit.”
A full concert version of Bernstein's operetta "Candide" (January 18th–21st) anchors the programming for the centennial celebration. The season opens with an all-Bernstein program September 22nd–24th, which includes "Symphonic Dances" from "West Side Story." The film adaptation of "West Side Story" is also featured in the symphony’s wildly popular Film Series in February.
Other big names are also coming to Davies Hall this year. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma headlines the season's Opening Night Gala on September 14th, while pianist Yuja Wang—who has had a longstanding friendship with Thomas and the Symphony since her debut at 18—returns for a solo recital as part of her North American tour. Pianist Daniil Trifonov, who made a huge splash when he debuted in San Francisco a few years ago, is returning for no less than six concerts in a variety of formats, including a solo recital.
Violin fans also have two major performers to look forward to during the season. Violinist Joshua Bell is back, this time with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Later in the season, another acclaimed violinist, Itzhak Perlman, will perform several concerts, including one with his longtime friend and collaborator, pianist Martha Argerich.
This year’s Film Series—which features the symphony performing the score live along with iconic films—includes "North By Northwest," "West Side Story," "Amadeus," and "Home Alone."
One performance that's sure to sell out: two screenings of Tim Burton's 1989 film "Batman" with a live performance of Danny Elfman's original score (April 4th–5th).
For more information on the San Francisco Symphony's 2017-2018 season, visit their website. Subscription packages, which include member perks such as early access, discounts and a free seat upgrade, are available for purchase.
[Editor’s note: This is a sponsored post.]
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