Superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma will join the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas for the annual Opening Night Gala that will launch the 2017–18 season. Ma will serve as soloist in two performances:
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, courtesy of the San Francisco Symphony
Before the intermission he will be the soloist in Camille Saint-Saëns’ Opus 33 (first) cello concerto in A minor. He will then return after the intermission to play Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Opus 33 “Variations on a Rococo Theme.” This is the closest Tchaikovsky ever came to writing a cello concerto, although he clearly thought highly on the instrument. (Think of the solo work for violin and cello in the “White Swan” pas de deux in the Opus 20 score for the ballet Swan Lake.)
Ma’s performances will be framed by two “dynamite” selections. The concert will open with the overture that Leonard Bernstein composed for the musical Candide. This will officially mark the beginning of programming of Bernstein’s works throughout the season, leading up to the celebration of his 100th birthday on August 25, 1918. The final selection on the program will be Maurice Ravel’s “Boléro,” originally composed as a ballet score for Ida Rubinstein.
The performance of this program will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 14. Prices for concert tickets range from $190 to $300. They include a complimentary pre-concert wine reception and access to the after-party in the Tent Pavilion set up on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. In addition there will be four unique Dinner Packages that include premium seating for the concert. The event page on the SFS Web site provides hyperlinks for the purchase of both concert tickets and Dinner Packages. Each of the four options has its own Web page describing both the offering and the prices. One can also learn more about these options by contacting the Volunteer Council at 415-503-5500. Tickets will also be available by calling the Box Office at 415-864-6000 or by visiting it at the Grove Street entrance to Davies Symphony Hall at 201 Van Ness Avenue, on the south side of the street (again between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street). Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday.