Gil Shaham Plays Prokofiev with Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall and More on San Francisco Symphony’s 20th-Anniversary Tour (Nov 12–22)

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Gil Shaham Plays Prokofiev with Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall and More on San Francisco Symphony’s 20th-Anniversary Tour (Nov 12–22)


When Avery Fisher Prize-winner Gil Shaham performed with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony last season, he proved himself “an exuberantly commanding soloist” who succeeded in kindling “hot fire” (Los Angeles Times). Small wonder then, that the American master violinist is the only soloist chosen to accompany MTT and the orchestra on their upcoming 20th-anniversary national tour. Together they will present Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto – one of those featured in Shaham’s celebrated long-term exploration of the “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” – at New York’s Carnegie Hall (Nov 20), marking the violinist’s only appearance at the venue this season, as well as at Kansas City’s Kauffman Center, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Miami’s Arsht Center, and the university campuses of Ann Arbor and Princeton (Nov 12–22).


Shaham’s association with Michael Tilson Thomas is a singularly rich one, spanning more than two decades of collaboration that date back to the violinist’s first big break when, while still in high school, he was invited to replace an ailing Itzhak Perlman as soloist with Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra. He and the conductor have continued to work together at every opportunity, and, with the San Francisco Symphony, have forged such a priceless musical rapport that the San Francisco Chronicle was moved to suggest: “Here’s a modest proposal: How about if Gil Shaham, Michael Tilson Thomas, and the San Francisco Symphony simply agreed to perform…together on a regular basis?


After giving four accounts with the same forces of Mozart’s “Turkish” concerto, one of his signature works (Nov 6–9), he, MTT, and the orchestra reunite for the landmark six-city tour. For this, their vehicle is Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto (1935), which the violinist has long championed. His Deutsche Grammophon recording of the work with André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra is widely regarded as a benchmark, and when he reprised the concerto with Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony last season, the San Francisco Classical Voice declared: “Shaham, a brilliant musician attractively free of the trappings of stardom, is perfect for this mostly muted, austere, simple, unshowy concerto. Under MTT’s direction, Shaham and the orchestra shone.” 


The Prokofiev concerto is just one of the numerous examples showcased in Shaham’s investigation of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s.” Since its launch in 2009, the programming project has been proclaimed “the kind that awards are made for” (Musical America), while its first recording – last season’s Canary Classics double album, 1930s Violin Concertos, Vol. 1 – was hailed by the New York Times as “the first document of a major musical project.” After joining the San Diego Symphony for the world premiere performances of David Bruce’s Fragile Light this winter (Dec 12–Jan 14), Shaham revisits two more concertos from the turbulent prewar period: for his returns to the Berlin Radio Symphony (Jan 20) and London Symphony Orchestra (April 12), he reprises Britten’s Concerto (1938-39), of which Gramophone considers his recording “one of the finest versions…available.” Likewise, with the Philadelphia Orchestra (Feb 20-22), Shaham plays Berg; as the New York Times observes, “He plays the Berg (written in 1935) with unbridled passion, as if its jagged twelve-tone idiom was not a rupture with music’s heroic 19th-century language but an updating. … The music never lost its singing quality.”


Details of Gil Shaham’s upcoming engagements are provided below. More information is also available at the artist’s web site:, and high-resolution photos may be downloaded here.




Gil Shaham: upcoming engagements


Nov 6, 7, 8, 9

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5, “Turkish”


Nov 12–22

U.S. tour with San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor

Nov 12: Kansas City, MO (Kauffman Center)

Nov 13 & 14: Ann Arbor, MI (Hill Auditorium)

Nov 15: Cleveland, OH (Severance Hall)

Nov 16: Boston, MA (Symphony Hall)

Nov 18: Princeton, NJ (McCarter Theater)

Nov 20: New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)

Nov 22: Miami, FL (Arsht Center)


Dec 12–Jan 14

Tour with San Diego Symphony / Jahja Ling

David Bruce: Fragile Light (world premiere)

Dec 12, 13, 14: San Diego, CA

Jan 14: Palm Desert, CA


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