The stars come out as Petrenko and Bell guest with San Francisco Symphony

Guest artist Joshua Bell – © David Bazemore

The presence of either Vasily Petrenko or Joshua Bell at Davies Symphony Hall would be enough to create a stir among San Francisco classical music enthusiasts, so to have both appearing with the San Francisco Symphony on the same bill is something of an occasion. This week, Maestro Petrenko leads the Symphony in program featuring Glinka’s Capriccio brillante on the Jota aragonesathe first SF Symphony performance of this delightful piece.  Guest artist Joshua Bell plays Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole – the most frequently performed of the composer’s works – and the program closes with Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No 1 – another welcome premiere performance for the Symphony.

Joshua Bell, recognized as one of the most illustrious violinists of his time, is renowned as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor. Recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, and a number of Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards, he has appeared on television and film, and become the only person to hold the post of Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, other than the late Sir Neville Marriner who founded the orchestra in 1958.

Among the highlights of Joshua Bell’s 2016-17 season have been appearances in North America with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic, with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and with the Montreal Symphony and the National Arts Centre orchestras. In Europe he played with the Vienna Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Czech Philharmonic orchestras, and undertook tours with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in the United Kingdom, and to the Benelux countries, Germany and Australia. Mr Bell also appeared with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland, toured European centers with the Swedish Radio Symphony, and appeared in Korea and Japan with the Orchestre de Paris – both tours led by Daniel Harding. He was also the 2016-17 artist in residence at the Kennedy Center in Washington D C with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Having recorded more than 40 albums during his career, Joshua Bell will, in August, be releasing a new collection of 14 CDs on the Sony Classical International label  – a selection from the violin concerto repertoire, chamber music and concert pieces, all of which he has recorded on this label over the past 20 years. Included in this collection are works ranging from his 2008 recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to his 2014 album, Bach; also Romance of the Violin and Voice of the Violin – two of his most popular releases; the 1993 violin concerto written for him by Nicholas Maws, The Red Violin Concerto and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story Suite, as well as masterpieces by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Gershwin, Ravel and Sibelius.

Conductor Vasily Petrenko – © Mark McNulty

Currently Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and of the Oslo Philharmonic and the European Union Youth orchestras, Vasily Petrenko is also Principal Guest Conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov”.  He  has served as Principal Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and of the Mikhailovsky Theatre (formerly the Mussorgsky Memorial Theatre of the St Petersburg State Opera and Ballet), where – as Resident Conductor – he started his conducting career in 1994.

Appearing with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, with frequent appearances at the BBC Proms, he also has a wide repertoire in the world of opera, having led performances of MacBeth at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Eugene Onegin at the Opéra de Paris, Pique Dame at Hamburg State Opera, Eugene Onegin, La Bohème and Carmen at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, Carmen at the Zurich Opera, Tosca and Parsifal with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and Der fliegende Holländer with the Oslo Philharmonic .

Maestro Petrenko initially became Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 2006, and in 2009 took over as Chief Conductor, continuing a highly successful and popular collaboration, both in the concert hall and in the recording studio. As The Sunday Times commented, “Petrenko presides over a golden age of music-making in Liverpool.”

Vasily Petrenko leads the San Francisco Symphony in works by Glinka, Lalo and Rachmaninoff, with guest artist Joshua Bell, from June 15 to 18 at Davies Symphony Hall. For more information and tickets, visit the San Franciscso Symphony website.


San Francisco Symphony

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Academy of St Martin in the Fields




San Francisco Symphony program notes

Artists’ websites:

Vasily Petrenko

Joshua Bell


ArtsPreview home page




Comments are closed.