Arguably “the most distinguished American pianist alive” (The Telegraph), Emanuel Ax adds an almost improvisational fluidity to Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto, a piece that combines harrowing pianism with symphonic muscle. Also on the program, the masterful Russian conductor Andrey Boreyko brings his own brand of passion and nuance as he leads the San Francisco Symphony in Zemlinsky’s lush symphonic fairy tale based on the Hans Christian Andersen tragedy The Little Mermaid.
A world class pianist of many distinctions, seven Grammy Awards and the Avery Fisher Prize amongst them, Emanuel Ax has continued to strike awe into his audiences since he embarked on his stellar career in the 70s. From the Romantic greats to the music of Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart, his diverse repertoire and busy recital schedule are bolstered by a powerful key touch, emotional depth of playing, dextrous finger work and virtuosic brilliance. The Sam Francisco Symphony welcomes the living legend, as well as special guest conductor Andrey Boreyko for a rousing program of Brahms and Zemlinsky.
The program begins with Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, a sweeping and vastly ambitious epic that revels on the sonorities of its star instrument, one that Brahms knew very well. From tender beauty to fiery bombast and drama, the concerto culminates in a thrilling finale that may just knock your socks off. This is followed by modern Austrian composer Alexander von Zemlinksy’s The Mermaid, a vividly orchestrated Romantic symphonic poem based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson.