This week the San Francisco Symphony brings us the debut appearance of Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša, and a return visit by Polish-Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski – who first appeared with the Symphony in 2009. The program, Pursuits of Passion, is something to look forward to as well, featuring music by Czech composers Dvořák, Smetana and Janáček – and one of Mozart’s loveliest piano concertos.
Described by Classical Iconoclast as “one of the most exciting conductors around”, Jakub Hrůša is certainly making his mark on the world of music. Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, Permanent Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, he served as Music Director and Chief Conductor of PKF–Prague Philharmonia from 2009 to 2015, and was recently appointed Principal Chief Conductor of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. He is also the current President of the International Martinů Circle, and in 2015 was the inaugural recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize.
Maestro Hrůša has just ended an impressive season of debuts – with the Boston and Chicago symphonies, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra. He also made his first appearance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in this year’s Proms season, following which The Times wrote that “…. the rising Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša instilled such passion into the BBC Symphony Orchestra that an evening of rarities made a thrilling impression”.
A frequent guest with many of the world’s finest orchestras, Maestro Hrůša is equally gifted as an opera conductor, regularly guesting with Glyndebourne Festival, and has led productions for Vienna State Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Frankfurt Opera, Finnish National Opera, Royal Danish Opera and Prague National Theatre.
Considered one of the outstanding musicians of his generation, Gilmore award-winning Piotr Anderszewski is also known for the unusual approach he adopts to his interpretations. Following a recital in London in 2005, The Guardian wrote that it was “delivered in the intensely engaging, self-effacing way that almost disguises the sheer technical mastery and musicianship of his playing …”.
Mr Anderszewski has more recently given recitals at London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Wiener Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall and the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St Petersburg. He has appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic and Berlin Staatskapelle orchestras, the Chicago and London Symphony orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Royal Concertgebouw, as well as conducting orchestras such as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, from the keyboard.
Piotr Anderszewski has featured in two award-winning documentaries by Bruno Monsaingeon for the European culture channel ARTE – Piotr Anderszewski plays the Diabelli Variations, and an artist’s portrait, Piotr Anderszewski, Unquiet Traveller – as well as Anderszewski Plays Schumann, for Polish Television.
Lined up for this 2017-18 season are appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic and Budapest Festival orchestras, l’Orchestre de Paris, recitals at Chicago’s Symphony Centre, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and London’s Barbican Centre, and next spring he undertakes a European tour playing with, and directing, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
This week’s concerts open with Dvořák’s Carnival Overture, the second of a group of three works entitled Nature, Life and Love, followed by Mozart’s tuneful and joyous Piano Concerto No 17 (in which Piotr Anderszewski plays Mozart’s own cadenzas). In Smetana’s patriotic tone poem Vltava (The Moldau) from Má Vlast (My Country), the composer describes the Bohemian river which flows through the city of Prague, to which the work was dedicated. The concert closes with Janáček’s dramatic work, Taras Bulba, Rhapsody for Orchestra, based on three episodes from Nikolai Gogol’s 1835 novella about the famous hetman of the Cossacks – the composer quoting Gogol’s words as the reason for having written this piece: “… because in the whole world there are not fires or tortures strong enough to destroy the vitality of the Russian nation”.
Jakub Hrůsa leads the San Francisco Symphony, with guest artist Piotr Andreszewski, in a program of music by Dvořák, Mozart, Smetana and Janáček at Davies Symphony Hall on October 13, 14 and 15. For more information and tickets visit the San Francisco Symphony website.
San Francisco Symphony program notes