Pianist Jeremy Denk, photograph courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Following up on this week’s program consisting entirely of the music of Leonard Bernstein, next week’s San Francisco Symphony (SFS) season concert will see the return of pianist Jeremy Denk. Denk made his SFS debut in 2006 and has subsequently visited Davies as both a recitalist and to perform with SFS. His last SFS appearance was at the celebration of the 70th birthday of Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas in January of 2015. On that occasion he channeled the spirit of nineteenth-century pianist Johann Pixis, playing one of the six pianos required for a performance of Franz Liszt’s “Hexameron.” His last recital appearance was in March of 2016, when he presented a program structured around Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 988 (“Goldberg”) set of 30 variations on an aria theme.
For next week’s visit Denk will play the solo piano part in Béla Bartók’s second piano concerto. In terms of instrumentation, this is the most colorful of Bartók’s three piano concertos; so MTT has decided to complement it with another major work featuring a wide diversity of instrumental colors. That composition will be Hector Berlioz’ Opus 14, “Symphonie fantastique,” whose full title, in English translation, is “Fantastical Symphony: An Episode in the Life of an Artist, in Five Parts.”) This will be an overture-concerto-symphony program without the overture. The concerto will fill the first half of the program, and the second half will consist of the symphony.
This concert will be given three performances, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 28, and Saturday, September 30, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 1. There will be an Inside Music talk given by Peter Grunberg that will begin one hour prior to each concert. Doors to the lobbies open fifteen minutes before the talk begins. Ticket prices range from $35 to $159. They may be purchased online through the event page for this program on the SFS Web site, by calling 415-864-6000, or by visiting the Box Office in Davies Symphony Hall, whose entrance is on the south side of Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. In addition the event page has two hyperlinks for free podcasts, one for each of the selections on the program. These are hosted by KDFC’s Rik Malone, and they require Flash to be activated for listening. The event page also has hyperlinks of sound clips from both of the selections, which also require Flash to be activated. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday.