Conductor Marek Janowski conducts the San Francisco Symphony in two weeks of Beethoven programs

Marek Janowski is Music Director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva.

Alisa Weilerstein. Photo by Christian Steiner.

Alisa Weilerstein. Photo by Christian Steiner.For two weeks this winter, conductor Marek Janowski returns to conduct the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in a pair of all-Beethoven programs at Davies Symphony Hall. In the first week of concerts, January 20-23, Janowski leads the Orchestra in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring pianist Juho Pohjonen, Symphony No. 4, and the Leonore Overture No. 3. The program for Feb. 2-5 is the Triple Concerto featuring violinist Chee-Yun, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and pianist Jeremy Denk, and Symphonies No. 1 and 2.

Marek Janowski is Music Director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva. He also is a frequent guest conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Born in Warsaw in 1939 and educated in Germany, Janowski’s early career led him to the top opera stages of Europe and the United States, as well as to the position of Musical Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, a position he held from 1984-2000. Janowski, a regular collaborator with the SFS, last conducted the Orchestra in performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 and Egmont Overture in 2008. He made his SFS debut in 1990, leading the Orchestra in Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila.

Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen makes his SFS debut in these concerts. Selected by András Schiff as the winner of the 2009 Klavier Festival Ruhr Scholarship, he was also a prizewinner at several other competitions, including the Nordic Piano Competition and the International Young Artists concerto competition. Pohjonen received his Master of Music from the Sibelius Academy in 2008, and is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “CMS Two” Residency Program for Outstanding Young Artists. An active recitalist and soloist, Pohjonen also appears this season with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony in addition to these debut appearances with SFS.

Pianist Jeremy Denk, known for his wide repertoire and versatility across many genres, recently released a recording of Ives’ first two piano sonatas (including the Concord). Since receiving an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1998, Denk has been a frequent soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, last appearing here in summer 2009, and with other major orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony. He performs with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony in its opening week of concerts at the new Frank Gehry-designed Miami Beach hall in January 2011. He will return to the SF Symphony in March 2012, during its centennial season, to perform Henry Cowell’s Piano Concerto as part of the American Mavericks Festival. He is a frequent collaborator in chamber music concerts with the Brentano, St. Lawrence, and Vermeer quartets, and performs numerous duo recitals and recordings with violinist Joshua Bell. Denk is a professor at the Bard College of Music and writes a well-respected music blog called Think Denk.

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein made her debut with the Cleveland Orchestra at age 13 and now, at age 27, has performed with many of the major U.S. orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the San Francisco Symphony. She last appeared with the Orchestra in 2008, in performances of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. In addition to a busy solo career, Weilerstein and her parents Donald and Vivian form the Weilerstein Trio, currently the trio-in-residence at the New England Conservatory.

Violinist Chee-Yun was soloist in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto when Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS toured the United States in 2000, and also performed Richard Dee and Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin with American Gamelan in the first American Mavericks Festival here in San Francisco. These are her first appearances with the Orchestra since 2000. She is a regular soloist with orchestras around the world, and also is an avid educator, having held many faculty positions at music schools around the country. She performs on a Stradivarius violin, the “Ex-Strauss,” on loan to her from Samsung.

WEEK 1 WHERE AND WHEN:

Thursday, January 20 at 2:00 p.m.

Friday, January 21 at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 22 at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 23 at 2:00 p.m.

Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA

Marek Janowski, conductor

Juho Pohjonen, piano

San Francisco Symphony

PROGRAM:

Beethoven/Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Opus 60

Beethoven/Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Opus 37

Beethoven/Leonore Overture No. 3, Opus 72a

PRE-CONCERT TALK: Alexandra Amati-Camperi will give an “Inside Music” talk from the stage one hour prior to each concert. Free to all concert ticket holders; doors open 15 minutes before.

AUDIO PROGRAM NOTES: A free audio podcast about Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 will be downloadable from sfsymphony.org/podcasts and from the iTunes store before the concerts.

TICKETS: $15-$140. Tickets are available at sfsymphony.org, by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office, on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco.

BROADCAST: Portions of these concerts will be broadcast on Classical 102.1 KDFC.

WEEK 2 WHERE AND WHEN:

Wednesday, February 2 at 10:00 a.m.
Open Rehearsal
Wednesday, February 2 at 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 3 at 2:00 p.m.
Friday, February 4 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 5 at 8:00 p.m.

Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA

Marek Janowski, conductor
Chee-Yun, violin
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Jeremy Denk, piano
San Francisco Symphony

PROGRAM:
Beethoven/Symphony No. 1 in C major, Opus 21
Beethoven/Triple Concerto in C major, Opus 56
Beethoven/Symphony No. 2 in D major, Opus 36

PRE-CONCERT TALK: Scott Foglesong will give an “Inside Music” talk from the stage one hour prior to each concert. Free to all concert ticket holders; doors open 15 minutes before.

AUDIO PROGRAM NOTES: A free audio podcast about Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 will be downloadable from sfsymphony.org/podcasts and from the iTunes store before the concerts.

TICKETS: $15-$140. Tickets are available at sfsymphony.org, by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office, on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco.

BROADCAST: Portions of these concerts will be broadcast on Classical 102.1 KDFC.

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