05. December 2018 · Comments Off on From NY Times · Categories: Announcements, Conductors, News, San Francisco Symphony

An article that makes me feel like my complete surprise was not unwarranted. It also makes me even more excited about the appointment.

Go here to read it.

05. December 2018 · Comments Off on I Didn’t See This Coming · Categories: Announcements, Conductors, Press Releases, San Francisco Symphony

(photo from the SFS site main page)

SAN FRANCISCO, December 5, 2018 — San Francisco Symphony President Sakurako Fisher and Chief Executive Officer Mark C. Hanson today announced that Esa-Pekka Salonen will become the Orchestra’s next Music Director, beginning in September 2020. As the San Francisco Symphony’s 12th Music Director in its 107-year history, Salonen will succeed Michael Tilson Thomas, who concludes his 25-year tenure as Music Director in July 2020. One of the most influential and creative forces in music, Salonen has, through his many high-profile conducting roles, work as a leading composer, and as an advocate for accessibility and diverse musical voices, shaped a unique vision for the present and future of the symphony orchestra.

As my husband said, “Quite a catch.”

03. December 2018 · Comments Off on Who Will It Be? · Categories: Conductors, Ramble, San Francisco Symphony

I’ve read that on Wednesday, late afternoon, the San Francisco Symphony will announce who will fill MTT’s shoes. I haven’t a clue who is on the shortlist. I do know some names of conductors who have recently been there and I suppose it might well be one of them.

Here are some of the guest conductors I saw or found on the SFS site from recent concerts: Semyon Bychkov, Stéphane Denève, Daniel Harding, Pablo Heras-Casado, Jakub Hrusa, Manfred Honeck, Christian M?celaru, Susanna Mälkki, David Robertson, François-Xavier Roth, Krzysztof Urbanski, Osmo Vänskä, Simone Young, and Jaap van Zweden.

Obviously some of those couldn’t be in the running due to their current positions, some, I would think, have never been in the running, and I am certain some other names could be added. But maybe someone on the above list …? I was impressed with Heras-Casado, Mälkki, and Urbanski when we attended concerts.

But what do I know?

Nothing until tomorrow around 5:45 PM!

09. December 2014 · Comments Off on Eugene Izotov · Categories: News, San Francisco Symphony


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – December 8, 2014 – Eugene Izotov has been appointed Principal Oboe of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS), beginning with the 2015-16 season. Izotov is currently Principal Oboe of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2006. He previously served as Principal Oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and as Associate Principal Oboe of the San Francisco Symphony from 1996-2003. Izotov succeeds the late William Bennett as Principal Oboe of the San Francisco Symphony.

“I am delighted to be joining the San Francisco Symphony as Principal Oboe,” said Izotov. “This is a deeply personal decision for me since much of my life is connected to these two great American orchestras and cities. As I look forward to making music with maestro Michael Tilson Thomas and my colleagues of the San Francisco Symphony, I know my heart will be filled with wonderful memories of music-making with Chicago Symphony and profound gratitude to maestro Riccardo Muti for his humanity, support, and inspiration.”


12. November 2012 · Comments Off on I Want A Pic With The Cap! · Categories: Read Online, San Francisco Symphony

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is paying up after losing a wager with its counterpart in San Francisco on the outcome of the World Series.

Detroit music director Leonard Slatkin is expected to present San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas with coffee, coffee cake, Zzang! bars and Vernors ginger ale during intermission of today’s Live from Orchestra Hall webcast.

The Detroit Symphony had banked on the hometown Tigers defeating the San Francisco Giants. But the Giants spoiled it by sweeping Detroit in four games.

Tilson Thomas had vowed to wear a Detroit Symphony cap during rehearsals for an Asian tour if the Giants lost. Slatkin’s wager was to wear a San Francisco Symphony baseball cap.

He did Wednesday during a rehearsal in Detroit.

I read it here. There was no photo with Slatkin wearing the cap. 🙁

Just a few numbers for you, from a performance elsewhere (but hey, Blomstedt did conduct San Francisco Symphony some time ago, right?):

Herbert Blomstedt, Gewandhausorchester & Kammerchor Leipzig
Ruth Ziesak, soprano
Anna Larsson, alto
Christoph Genz, tenor
Dietrich Henschel, bass

10. Qui sedes ad dextram Patris

24. March 2010 · Comments Off on San Francisco Symphony Contest · Categories: San Francisco Symphony

Thank you, San Francisco Symphony for this information:

Why do you want to hear Duncan Sheik perform with the San Francisco Symphony?

Come up with the most compelling, interesting, entertaining answer – in writing, music, video, or any other way you want to tell us your story – and you and a guest could be the lucky winners to see Duncan Sheik live with the San Francisco Symphony Saturday, April 10! Plus, you’ll get an autographed Whisper House CD and you and a guest will get to meet Duncan Sheik after the show!

If you’re a member of San Francisco Symphony’s community you can enter.

I’m not going to enter. But I know what I would have written if I had decided to enter (and I know it wouldn’t get me a win, but still….)

So, wanna see what I would have written? Here goes:


That’s right. I’ve never heard of the guy. Seems like that should be a good reason to get me in the house, you know?

But like I said, I’m not going to enter. I’m not usually one for contests. Which probably explains why I never win ’em. 🙂

03. March 2010 · Comments Off on Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin · Categories: San Francisco Symphony, Videos

How in the world did I neglect to mention that San Francisco Symphony is doing Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin next season? (October 14, 15, 16 17) While it doesn’t say, “William Bennett, oboe soloist” it might as well … it’s really a huge work for the oboe, as readers know. I really enjoy playing the English horn part. It’s not nearly as fun, though, when I have to play both the EH and the second oboe (which is how it’s written; back in San Jose Symphony days we’d split the book). The tempo of the first movement below (no, this isn’t SF Symphony) is actually nice and playable. But the part where the two oboes play in unison is just not fun (for me, at least).

So, I meant to mention a little tidbit from San Francisco Symphony’s press conference on Monday. When MTT was talking about Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, he said that he played second oboe on the work, under the direction of Lukas Foss (I believe this was at USC). He quote Foss saying, “Let Beethoven take you into his sweaty embrace.”

Just thought I’d share that with you all! 🙂

So … now that I’ve sort of recovered from the socializing and from teaching my two students (the third canceled and these two forgot to pay … hmmm. Not the most stellar teaching day!), I’ll blog more a bit about what I heard this morning.

Three woodwind soloists from the orchestra will be playing. I already mentioned Russ deLuna will be playing in Copland’s Quiet City. Bassoonist Stephen Paulson will be playing Ciranda des sete notas by Villa-Lobos. Should I bravely mention I don’t know this work at all? No. I think I’ll not tell you that. I would probably be embarrassed if I did. Carey Bell will be soloing on Debussy’s Première Rapsoide for clarinet. All three of these works are ones I’d be very interested in hearing. From one bassoonist’s reaction (Hi, Imani!), the Villa-Lobos is a must hear for bassoonists. MTT mentioned that they want to feature more orchestra members in solo roles in the coming years.

They are doing two new commissions. One is by Avner Dorman (Who? Geesh … I’m feeling like an idiot here! But I’m not going to tell you I don’t know his name. Nope.), called Uriah. David Robertson will be conducting that concert (it also includes some Dukas and Prokofiev). We were told that it was originally going to have “The man the king wanted dead” as the title (or was it attached to the the title?) but that has been nixed. The other commission is Rufus Wainwright’s Five Shakespeare Sonnets which, if I’m understanding correctly, was originally to be done this year. Jeffrey Kahane will conduct the Wainwright set, and the concert also includes the Ravel G major piano concerto (best English horn solo ever) and Weill’s second symphony (which again I will not admit that I don’t know. At all.). By the way, I do know who Wainwright is. So there.

The Mahler recording project that they started in 2001 will be completed this year. Songs for Orchestra will feature my absolute favorite, Rückert Lieder (another best English horn solo ever), with Susan Graham and Thomas Hampson on Songs of a Wayfarer. We were told that 2011 is the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death. MTT wittily mentioned something like (and pardon me if I’m slightly off with the quote) “it’s the 137th anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah. News you can use. 😉

But what’s next? Since they are finishing up with Mahler, is there something else in store? Sounds like that’s a big “yes”. But we weren’t told just what, yet. Hmmm. Should we guess? Maybe. Maybe not. I might guess American. I might guess Ives. But I might be wrong. So I probably won’t guess. Yet.

Oh … and speaking of Mahler … the third season of Keeping Score will be about him, and I’ll definitely want that! We saw a small portion of it. It wouldn’t have even taken that to sell me on it, but it looked wonderful.

Okay. Enough of me rambling on and on.

Season Highlights
SF Symphony’s 2010-11 season (pdf)