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In the News: New SFS Music Director, Philip Glass, and Jeremy Denk

In the News:

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Esa-Pekka Salonen -
the Complete Sony Recordings


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Top News surely the announcement that Esa-Pekka Salonen (as had been rumored) will succeed Michael Tilson-Thomas in San Francisco to be the San Francisco Symphony’s 10th Music Director. It’s a logical appointment. A stellar conductor with a great reputation, interesting repertoire, and a real feel for the American – indeed Californian – way of being an MD… which is to suggest: naturally good at fundraising. For the very little it’s worth: I should have liked to see the slightly less splashy appointment of David Robertson… not so much because I think that would have been better for the SFS but simply because I want Robertson, whom I consider to be one of the most underrated conductors around, to be more in the limelight and with an orchestra of an international reputation to play with. After all, he’s at an age where one might consider that the once steeply ascendant conductor’s career has petered out, lest he pull a Günter Wand-like golden autumn. (Which would be fine, but I want him now.) Anyway, Salonen is certainly the safer choice and every bit as good (and certainly more glam-inducing) for the orchestra. Here’s the official announcement.

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P.Glass, Symphony No.11
D.R.Davies / Bruckner Orch. Linz
Orange Mountain Music

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Next up: You must get intimations of mortality when a university names a program after you. Case in point Philip Glass and The New School’s College of Performing Arts, which announced today to engage in a landmark partnership with the Philip Glass Ensemble (PGE) and long-time PGE member, Lisa Bielawa (named inaugural Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator), around the work of Philip Glas, to form a new learning and creative center. Because Glass’ works have been so neglected, the Philip Glass Institute will offer students, faculty, and the public the opportunity to immerse themselves in the work of Philip Glass, other important artists within his circle, and the work of the iconic Philip Glass Ensemble. Facetiousness aside, this is good news for the PGE, which is Glass’ legacy, and the future of which is thereby secured, independently of its namesake… erm, aliveness. Added the composer himself: “At the new PGI we can prioritize a curriculum which doesn’t require critical approval of any period or style...Young composers need to be true to their voices. ‘Coming up’ can be very independent, and this is what will be guiding our work at The New School.” The whole thing will launch on January 6th at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium.

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Beethoven / Ligeti, op.111 / Etudes
Jeremy Denk

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Combining the topics of San Francisco and schools: Pianist (and once our blogging-colleague) Jeremy Denk has been announced to join the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As such, he will lead a piano studio beginning in the 2019-20 academic year, joining piano department instructors at SFCM such as Jon Nakamatsu and Garrick Ohlsson. How gratifying (if envy-inducing) to see Denk’s career – not only as a musician but also as a man of letters – blossom like the dickens: MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, Avery Fisher Prize, and most recently his being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences… and now a great job. Here’s to you, Jeremy, and hats off. Here’s the official announcement.

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