Bay Area concertgoers have a unique opportunity in late June when Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) present Music for a Modern Age—a concert filled with cutting edge multi-media projections, vivacious dancers and vocalists, and a smooth mélange of classical and jazz in a never-before multi-sensory concert experience.
The program continues a grand tradition of breaking new artistic ground with a Symphony and maestro on the forefront of new American music, bringing a wild and unconventional program to Davies Symphony Hall June 23-25, 2017.
Dancer Erin Moore with the New World Symphony in a performance of Antheil's A Jazz Symphony.(Rui Dias-Aidos)
From two contemplative, modernist masterpieces by Charles Ives and Lou Harrison's stunning Suite for Symphonic Strings, to Antheil's A Jazz Symphony and MTT's own Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind, Music for a Modern Age aims to present contemporary works on a contemporary stage, taking elements from the SFS' wildly successful SoundBox series and bringing them to the larger stage. Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind, which makes its West Coast premiere in the performance, will feature accompanying video content. Antheil's A Jazz Symphony is also set to feature a cast of dancers as well as video projections for a dynamic fresh performance. This multimedia staging is sure to be an immersive experience, elevating the presentation of these already groundbreaking works and exploring new potentials within the modern era concert experience.
MTT and the SFS have a long tradition as champions of artistic innovation. The SoundBox series has breathed new life into a once vacant practice space at Davies, with its state-of-the-art Myers Sound Constellation Acoustic System, multistage formats, and screens projecting creative visuals crafted and tailored to each program. Long before SoundBox, though, the SFS has been on the leading edge with innovative programming and in-house media projects from SFS Media. Most notably, the Keeping Score series has brought pioneering, thought provoking classical music content to PBS, radio, the web, and education programs across the country—creating a national model for classroom arts education for K-12 teachers.
MTT's Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind was inspired by the wide breadth of American musical influences the great conductor has studied and brought to the stage throughout his career. George Antheil composed A Jazz Symphony in 1925 as part of a commission from former SFS violinist Paul Whiteman, later premiering the work at Carnegie Hall in 1927. Its perfect intermingling of the classical orchestra with jazz heralded a future of risk taking and pushed the boundaries of both genres into a new arena of experimentation. Six artists make their SFS debuts in these performances – vocalists Mikaela Bennett and Kara Dugan, dancers Kiva Dawson and Erin Moore, pianist Peter Dugan, and director Patricia Birch. // Buy your tickets now at sfsymphony.org.