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Payare conducts Wagner, Bartok, Mahler, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff next season

San Diego Symphony crowd may be astonished

Rafael Payare
Rafael Payare
  • “As we all know very well, music has a unique power to heal the human soul. In music, there are no boundaries of language or limits of understanding."
  • Rafael Payare, music director, San Diego Symphony.

The San Diego Symphony has announced its 2020-21 Masterworks Season, and it is impressive. I’ve selected a few concerts which I am personally pumped for, but the programming is strong from start to finish.

Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10, 8 pm and Sunday, October 11, 2 pm

  • Season opener
  • Beethoven and Shostakovich
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Jeff Thayer, violin
  • Alisa Weilerstein, cello
  • Inon Barnatan, piano
  • Reinaldo Moya: Siempre lunes, siempre marzo (Always Monday, Always March)
  • Beethoven: Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

One of the big disappointments of the COVID-19 cancelations for the symphony was the April 3, 4 and 5 concerts of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

The season opener for 2020-21 more than makes up for that. I’ve never had the opportunity to hear the Beethoven Triple Concerto in a live setting and I’m sure the Shostakovich will bring the house down with Payare conducting.

  • Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7, 8 pm
  • Payare, Beethoven, and Shostakovich
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8

The more Shostakovich we can get, the better. What appeals to me most here is having two symphonies on the same concert.

  • Saturday, December 5, 8 pm, Sunday, December 6, 2 pm
  • De Waart conducts Beethoven and Elgar
  • Edo de Waart, conductor
  • Garrick Ohlsson, piano
  • Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3
  • Elgar: Symphony No. 1

For me, this is one of the top five concerts of the year. Garrick Ohlsson is a master at the keyboard, unsurpassed on the world stage, and this Beethoven concerto is one of my favorites. The Elgar symphony is the best symphony many audiences haven’t heard. I find it to be astonishing in its structure and emotional tone.

  • Friday, January 29 and Saturday, January 30, 8 pm
  • Humans and Nature: Mahler's Song of the Earth
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
  • Stefan Vinke, tenor
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, Pastoral
  • Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde

This one is a bit of a headscratcher as we just had Beethoven’s Sixth in January of this year. However, a chance to hear Mahler’s titanic Das Lied von der Erde is not to be missed. I wouldn’t be surprised if some audience members travel from neighboring counties for this one.

  • Friday, February 5, 8 pm, Sunday, February 7, 1 pm
  • Beethoven and Rachmaninoff
  • Matthias Pintscher, conductor
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 8
  • Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2

Another double symphony concert and this one features two of my absolute favorites. Beethoven’s Eight is underrated due to its being sandwiched between the Seventh and Ninth but I enjoy it more than the Seventh. The Rachmaninoff is nothing short of musical lovemaking and, of course, I like that.

  • Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13, 8 pm
  • Payare conducts Liszt and Bartok
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Marc-André Hamelin, piano
  • Wagner: “Prelude and Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde
  • Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra

When I saw this concert, I said out loud, “Oh really, Tristan?” We shall see. This is the most compelling concert of the year for me. Should anyone be afraid of Bartok, there is no need to worry. The Concerto for Orchestra is a crowd-pleaser.

  • Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22, 8 pm, Sunday, May 23, 2 pm
  • Season finale: Payare and Weilerstein
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Alisa Weilerstein, cello
  • R. Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
  • Elgar: Cello Concerto
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

This season finale could possibly set a new standard for the San Diego Symphony. The repertoire is pure fire and at that point, the players should be ready to light it up.

Other significant repertoire on the season:

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Brahms A German Requiem

Richard Strauss Four Last Songs

Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade

Stravinsky Firebird Suite

Beethoven Symphony No. 7

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Rafael Payare
Rafael Payare
  • “As we all know very well, music has a unique power to heal the human soul. In music, there are no boundaries of language or limits of understanding."
  • Rafael Payare, music director, San Diego Symphony.

The San Diego Symphony has announced its 2020-21 Masterworks Season, and it is impressive. I’ve selected a few concerts which I am personally pumped for, but the programming is strong from start to finish.

Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10, 8 pm and Sunday, October 11, 2 pm

  • Season opener
  • Beethoven and Shostakovich
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Jeff Thayer, violin
  • Alisa Weilerstein, cello
  • Inon Barnatan, piano
  • Reinaldo Moya: Siempre lunes, siempre marzo (Always Monday, Always March)
  • Beethoven: Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

One of the big disappointments of the COVID-19 cancelations for the symphony was the April 3, 4 and 5 concerts of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

The season opener for 2020-21 more than makes up for that. I’ve never had the opportunity to hear the Beethoven Triple Concerto in a live setting and I’m sure the Shostakovich will bring the house down with Payare conducting.

  • Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7, 8 pm
  • Payare, Beethoven, and Shostakovich
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8

The more Shostakovich we can get, the better. What appeals to me most here is having two symphonies on the same concert.

  • Saturday, December 5, 8 pm, Sunday, December 6, 2 pm
  • De Waart conducts Beethoven and Elgar
  • Edo de Waart, conductor
  • Garrick Ohlsson, piano
  • Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3
  • Elgar: Symphony No. 1

For me, this is one of the top five concerts of the year. Garrick Ohlsson is a master at the keyboard, unsurpassed on the world stage, and this Beethoven concerto is one of my favorites. The Elgar symphony is the best symphony many audiences haven’t heard. I find it to be astonishing in its structure and emotional tone.

  • Friday, January 29 and Saturday, January 30, 8 pm
  • Humans and Nature: Mahler's Song of the Earth
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
  • Stefan Vinke, tenor
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, Pastoral
  • Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde

This one is a bit of a headscratcher as we just had Beethoven’s Sixth in January of this year. However, a chance to hear Mahler’s titanic Das Lied von der Erde is not to be missed. I wouldn’t be surprised if some audience members travel from neighboring counties for this one.

  • Friday, February 5, 8 pm, Sunday, February 7, 1 pm
  • Beethoven and Rachmaninoff
  • Matthias Pintscher, conductor
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 8
  • Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2

Another double symphony concert and this one features two of my absolute favorites. Beethoven’s Eight is underrated due to its being sandwiched between the Seventh and Ninth but I enjoy it more than the Seventh. The Rachmaninoff is nothing short of musical lovemaking and, of course, I like that.

  • Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13, 8 pm
  • Payare conducts Liszt and Bartok
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Marc-André Hamelin, piano
  • Wagner: “Prelude and Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde
  • Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra

When I saw this concert, I said out loud, “Oh really, Tristan?” We shall see. This is the most compelling concert of the year for me. Should anyone be afraid of Bartok, there is no need to worry. The Concerto for Orchestra is a crowd-pleaser.

  • Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22, 8 pm, Sunday, May 23, 2 pm
  • Season finale: Payare and Weilerstein
  • Rafael Payare, conductor
  • Alisa Weilerstein, cello
  • R. Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
  • Elgar: Cello Concerto
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

This season finale could possibly set a new standard for the San Diego Symphony. The repertoire is pure fire and at that point, the players should be ready to light it up.

Other significant repertoire on the season:

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Brahms A German Requiem

Richard Strauss Four Last Songs

Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade

Stravinsky Firebird Suite

Beethoven Symphony No. 7

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