Much like today’s three-eyed railroad tycoons, symphonic music continues to evolve from its 19th-century form. Marvel at sonic mutation with this GrouponLive deal to see the San Francisco Symphony at the Symphony Center on Wednesday, March 21, at 8 p.m. Choose between the following options:
- For $25, you get one ticket for seating in the main floor left and right sections (up to a $68 value, including ticketing fees).
- For $45, you get one ticket for seating in the lower balcony left and right sections (up to a $96 value, including ticketing fees). <p>
Following the precise baton sweeps of maestro Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony crashes through selections from its American Mavericks Festival, which showcases provocative pieces by iconoclastic composers. The evening opens with Henry Cowell’s Synchrony, originally written to accompany a dance by famed choreographer Martha Graham. The composition anchors itself to contemplative trumpet solos intertwined with wistful piccolo before giving way to the discordant bombast of timpani, cymbals, and gong. Absolute Jest, composed by living legend John Adams, receives its Chicago premiere, combining the typhoon of a full symphony with the nimble unity of the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Like a DJ wearing a powdered wig, the piece splices together scherzos from Beethoven’s late string quartets, building a new composition out of fragments from the master’s work. Finally Charles Ives’s Concord Symphony—orchestrated by Henry Brant—commemorates the New England transcendentalists, with each movement creating a tonal portrait of a different thinker’s philosophy. The ominous swell of bassoon and violin in the first movement echoes Emerson’s revelation of man knocking at destiny’s door, and the majestic woodwinds and flute in the fifth movement’s opening reflect nature, which had a heavy impact on Thoreau (himself a flutist).
The concert takes place in Orchestra Hall, named a national historic site in 1978. Gold filigree adorns the soft-cream walls of the Beaux Arts interior, contrasting with the red felt of the seats and the and the blue face paint donned by first-row superfans.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Beatles have nothing on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Over the course of its nearly 125-year history, the CSO has won 62 Grammy awards, performed the scores of award-winning films (such as Steven Spielberg's Lincoln), embarked on 39 overseas tours, and, just for good measure, added Yo-Yo Ma to its roster of performers. The renowned cellist was appointed the CSO's first Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant in 2010, helping to inspire the Chicago community through new initiatives and advocating for the power of music.
The themes of CSO's 100-some performances a year spring from absurdly creative conductors and virtuosic musicians. In addition to romps through the classical repertoire, audiences might find jazz tributes, films scored live, and the Beyond the Score series, which uses visual projections and even live actors to flesh out the stories behind the compositions on the program.
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