Salonen to lead SF Symphony; Bryce Dessner to have role

Esa-Pekka Salonen has been named as the next music director of the San Francisco Symphony, succeeding Michael Tilson Thomas. And in what seems to be a trend, the orchestra will take on the new approach of having an artistic leadership team with a group of eight collaborative members, who will “reimagine” the role of the orchestra.

Aaron and Bryce Dessner performed Bryce Dessner’s “St. Carolyn by the Sea” with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Photo courtesy of CSO

One of those is Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner, of the band The National. Of course, most of us know that he is also an excellent classical composer and curator, whose music has been premiered by the Cincinnati Symphony.

The Finnish conductor Salonen will serve as Music Director Designate for the next year and half, and will become the 12th Music Director in the illustrious 107-year history of the San Francisco Symphony.

His tenure as Music Director will begin in September 2020 following the conclusion of Thomas’ remarkable 25-year tenure.

In a statement, the orchestra says that “Esa-Pekka values a collaborative approach to artistic leadership and music making. Together, the SFS and Esa-Pekka Salonen will reimagine the role of a symphony orchestra in our community and in today’s world.”

The new partners come from a variety of cultural disciplines. They are pianist, film producer, and composer of award-winning film scores Nicholas Britell; soprano and curator Julia Bullock, who has made social consciousness and activism fundamental to her work; flutist, educator, and advocate for new and experimental music Claire Chase; composer, new music curator, and member of The National Bryce Dessner; violinist, musical director, and artistic trailblazer Pekka Kuusisto; composer and genre-breaking collaborator Nico Muhly; artificial intelligence entrepreneur and roboticist Carol Reiley; and jazz bassist, vocalist, and undefinable artist Esperanza Spalding.

Salonen will lead the orchestra in concerts on January, 18, 19, and 20, 2019.

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In memoriam: Don Siekmann

Don Siekmann, immediate past president of the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, had a big smile and a booming voice. A champion of Music Hall, he was most enthusiastic about the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ, and established a concert series in the Ballroom, a popular series still sells out quickly.

Mr. Siekmann died on Nov. 14.

Born in 1938 in St. Louis, Mr. Siekmann was the longtime managing partner of Arthur Anderson & Co.. His involvement with Cincinnati arts and civic groups was widespread. Besides, SPMH, Mr. Siekmann served as president of the Greater Cincinnati Arts and Education Center (the organization led by Erich Kunzel that spearheaded the new School for Creative and Performing Arts) and was a Cincinnati United Way Campaign chair.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Linda, and son Brian, as well as a sister, Ruth Ann Yorg and two grandchildren.

Visitation is 5 pm to 8 pm Nov. 19 at Spring Grove Funeral Homes, 4389 Spring Grove Ave. Services are at 10:30 am Nov. 20 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Milford, preceded by visitation at 9 am.

To read more, visit bizjournals.com/cincinnati.

Who are the next leaders in the arts?

One of the most interesting stories I have had the privilege to write for the Business Courier was about 10 up-and-coming young arts patrons who will be guiding our great Cincinnati arts institutions in the decades to come. For as long as I’ve covered the arts here, there has been hand-wringing over who will replace those great philanthropists and board leaders who have gone before. The Nipperts and Corbetts are just two of most well-known names from the previous generation, among many others.

Cincinnati has a great history of generosity and stewardship that goes back more than a century. You only need to consider this:

The CSO turns 125 in 2020

Cincinnati Opera turns 100 in 2020

Art Academy of Cincinnati turns 150 in 2019

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music is celebrating its 150th this year.

That kind of legacy takes leadership and creativity. And it takes changing with the times. Who could have imagined that an arts event called Blink could bring a million people downtown last year?

These young leaders already hold some of the city’s most important board roles. I think the arts are and will be in very good hands.

So who are the 10? Read the story here.

Where to find arts news and reviews: Visit the new Arts Front at bizjournals.com/cincinnati. It’s free, but you may need to register for a free subscription. For the latest CSO review of Beethoven’s Ninth, click here.

Review: Terrific all-Russian concert at CSO

Click here to read the review of pianist Yevgeny Sudbin with the Cincinnati Symphony, led by guest maestro Hannu Lintu this morning in Music Hall.

Yevgeny Sudbin wowed in his CSO debut, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Photo by Lee Snow

Reviews on the Cincinnati Business Courier website are supported by the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

My picks in the coming week

As always, Cincinnati offers myriad choices of things to do in the fall season. Here are just a few options that you might want to try.

Cincinnati Ballet’s “Peter Pan,” with a charming musical score composed by Carmon DeLeone, honors the maestro in its performances this weekend for his unprecedented 50 years as the Ballet’s music director. The dancing crocodile is one of my personal favorites. Thursday through Sunday in Music Hall. Tickets: cballet.org or call 513-621-5282.

Christian McBride. Photo provided

The great jazz bassist Christian McBride has shared the stage with jazz legends like Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock or Pat Metheny; pop giants like James Brown, Sting andThe Roots; and classical artists like Kathleen Battle, Edgar Meyer or the Shanghai Quartet. He visits the Xavier Jazz Series, 8 p.m. Oct. 27 in Gallagher Theater on the XU campus. Tickets: xavier.edu/musicseries

Cincinnati native and rising conductor Isaac Selya has just returned from making his debut with the Deustche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (yes, Paavo’s orchestra).

Next, he says, “I’m jumping straight into the next Queen City Opera program.” This one will be operatic selections featuring 11 emerging artists, accompanied by full orchestra. Eight of them trained at CCM; the other three trained at Indiana University, University of Kentucky, and Miami University in Oxford.

The concert will also feature the Xavier University Concert Choir,

Isaac Selya

singing in “Habanera” from Carmen. There will be a rare chance to hear the Council Chamber Scene from Simon Boccanegra, which ends with a soft entreaty for peace.

Just one performance: 3 p.m. Sunday, October 28 at the Sanctuary at Community Matters (2110 Saint Michael Street, 45204). To read the details on the repertoire and the performers click here.
Tessa Lark
Violinist Tessa Lark returns to the Queen City (where she trained at CCM) to star in Matinee Musicale’s 106th season, 2 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Anderson Center, 7850 Five Mile Road. Since her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony at age 16, the Kentucky native is the recipient of a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant and was silver medalist in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and winner of the 2012 Naumberg International Violin Competition. She recently acquired a very special new violin from the Stradivari Society of Chicago. Read about it here. Andrew Armstrong collaborates at the piano. Here’s the program:
Suite Italienne……………………Igor Stravisky (1882-1971)

Appalachian Fantasy…………….Tessa Lark

Sonata in A major………………..César Franck (1822-1890)

Sonata No. 9, Op. 47 “Kreutzer”.. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Visit matineemusicalecincinnati.org for tickets or purchase at the door.

 

An unusual concerto at the symphony

Photo provided/Lee Snow

Principal violist Christian Colberg performed his own viola concerto, an ambitious, 30-minute work on the theme of “Don Quixote” with the Cincinnati Symphony in last weekend’s concerts.

The notes said he was the first CSO musician in recent memory to perform his own work with the CSO.

But I do recall bassist Frank Proto performing his own music with the orchestra in years past.

Do you remember any others?

Click here to read the review.

Where are the reviews?

Joshua Bell performing Sibelius with the CSO. Photo by Lee Snow

Some of you have asked me where to find symphony reviews. Thanks to a grant from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, they can be found on the Cincinnati Business Courier’s new Arts Front, which is free to read. (You may need to register for a FREE subscription).

Here’s the season so far:

‘Hamilton’ star Leslie Odom Jr. is electric in debut with Pops: There’s no question that there is life after “Hamilton” for Leslie Odom Jr., the Broadway star who played Aaron Burr in the hip-hop sensation until two years ago. The only question was whether the Tony- and Grammy-winning singer-actor would make it to Cincinnati in time for his Cincinnati Pops debut on Friday after Hurricane Florence canceled his flight. Review.

French program offers festive kickoff to CSO season: The French music, which demands both clarity and atmosphere, revealed that the orchestra is adjusting to Springer Auditorium’s new acoustics as it begins its second season in the hall following a transformational renovation. Review.

Joshua Bell dazzles, ‘Rite’ impresses in CSO’s season opener: It was vibrant, athletic playing. Bell leaned back, crouched, turned to the orchestra and mopped his brow between movements. The slow movement was warm and dark, and he smiled as he played its expressive themes. He soared brilliantly through the diabolical virtuosities of the finale, almost dancing along with the timpani beats that open the movement (Patrick Schleker). Review.

‘Dharma at Big Sur’ a mesmerizing experience in CSO’s all-American program: John Adams’ inspiration for the piece was Jack Kerouac’s description of the rugged California coastline at Big Sur as well as the beat poet’s interest in Buddhism. For this performance, the CSO also engaged video artist Adam Larsen to create projections that played on three screens above the orchestra. Review.

Read about this weekend’s soloist, principal violist Christian Colberg: CSO violist enjoying life after near-death scare. Click here for the story.