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S49 Ep9

Great Performances: San Francisco Symphony Reopening Night

Premiere: 11/19/2021 | 00:00:30 | Closed Captioning Icon

Celebrate opening night of San Francisco Symphony’s 110th season as it welcomes its new GRAMMY-winning music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, featuring music by John Adams, esperanza spalding & Wayne Shorter and performances by Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

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About the Episode

Premieres Friday, November 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)

Great Performances celebrates the opening night of San Francisco Symphony’s 110th season as it welcomes its Music Director, GRAMMY-winning conductor-composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, to the stage as conductor, marking their first opening night concert together since Salonen assumed the post of Music Director last season. Scheduled to be recorded October 1, 2021, before a live audience, the coronavirus pandemic-delayed concert includes performances of John Adams’ “Slonimsky’s Earbox,” Alberto Ginastera’s “Estancia” Suite with dancers from San Francisco-based contemporary ballet company LINES Ballet performing original choreography by Alonzo King, and Silvestre Revueltas’ “Noche de Encantamiento” from his film score to “La Noche de los Mayas.” The concert also features GRAMMY-winning bassist and vocalist esperanza spalding and a jazz trio of guest musicians performing GRAMMY-winning composer-saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s “Gaia” with the San Francisco Symphony. Great Performances: San Francisco Symphony Reopening Night premieres Friday, November 19 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app.

The concert joins Great Performances: A John Williams Premiere at Tanglewood, premiering Friday, November 12 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) and Great Performances: Coppelia, premiering Friday, November 26 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) as part of the series’ classical fall lineup. All episodes are part of #PBSForTheArts, a multiplatform campaign that celebrates the arts in America. For more than 50 years, PBS has been the media destination for the arts, presenting dance, theater, opera, visual arts and concerts to Americans in every corner of the country.

 Musical Selections:

  • “Slonimsky’s Earbox” by John Adams
  • “Estancia” Suite by Alberto Ginastera
  • Excerpts from “Gaia” by Wayne Shorter
  • “Noche de encantamiento” from La noche de los Mayas” by Silvestre Revueltas

 Notable Talent:

  • Esa-Pekka Salonen – Music Director and GRAMMY-winning conductor-composer
  • esperanza spalding – vocalist and bass
  • Alonzo King LINES Ballet
  • San Francisco Symphony

Series Overview:
Throughout its nearly 50-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Showcasing a diverse range of artists from around the world, the series has earned 67 Emmy Awards and six Peabody Awards. Peek behind the curtain at the Great Performances website for exclusive videos, interviews, photos, full episodes and more. The series is produced by The WNET Group.

Production Credits:
Directed by Michael Beyer and produced by Bernhard Fleischer, Great Performances: San Francisco Symphony Reopening Night is a production of Bernhard Fleischer Moving Images and The WNET Group. Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

Underwriters:
Series funding for Great Performances was made possible by The Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Jody and John Arnhold, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, the Abra Prentice Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, The Starr Foundation, the Seton J. Melvin Charitable Trust, the Estate of Worthington Mayo-Smith, and Ellen and James S. Marcus.

Websites: pbs.org/gperf, facebook.com/GreatPerformances, @GPerfPBS, giphy.com/great-performances, youtube.com/greatperformancespbs #GreatPerformancesPBS #PBSForTheArts

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TRANSCRIPT

♪♪♪ -Next on 'Great Performances'... celebrate with the San Francisco Symphony as the orchestra reopens for their 110th season and welcomes their music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, to the podium for his inaugural San Francisco season before an audience.

-Most of my best ideas are born in conversation, and I thought that if we had a group of people who don't necessarily come from the very hardcore center of the so-called classical music, that would be an incredible energy boost to the entire organization.

-Also featured is Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding... -♪ Gaia ♪ [ Singing indistinctly ] -...along with dance from choreographer Alonzo King's LINES Ballet.

Join us as the arts return to The City by the Bay with the San Francisco Symphony Reopening Night.

♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Instruments tuning ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Indistinct conversations ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Intense orchestral music plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music stops ] [ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -If we think of the big bang theory, there's sound and movement.

They are inextricably linked, because music is vibration; vibration is movement.

And so they're joined.

Music is thought made audible.

Dance is thought made visible.

People who are moving to speak and people who are playing music to speak, it's a language, and that language is soul language.

It can be perceived by the intellect, but its aim is to go directly to the heart.

-When we start a process, Alonzo usually has an idea, a vision.

And he starts showing us a movement, but then it's very much up to us to embody that movement, to become that movement.

So it's not like I'm just performing steps or I'm just copying something.

But I go so deep within to find out, 'What does even this little gesture mean to me?' -- like, 'How can I make this real? How can I communicate?'

And so it's actually a lot of work to figure out, 'What am I saying with each movement?'

-There are works that stay ever-present because they're alive.

Ginastera 'Estancia' is living.

I think that the thickness that's in 'Estancia' is like everything.

It is challenge and delight, because a challenge is fun.

[ Chuckling ] You know?

You see the obstacle and you say, 'Oh, wow. How do I play with this?'

or, 'How do I allow color to come in?

How can I make a statement within this statement?'

♪♪♪ -We have a director that's giving us the gift of play and exploration.

You know, who could ask for more?

And this piece, it allows us to have a more personal connection to the music, I feel, giving us that kind of freedom and giving us the ability to add out spice to the gumbo, if you will.

♪♪♪ -Suddenly having so much freedom and making choices and making it different every time, it's a challenge, but once you get used to that, it is so liberating.

-I think, when you are working with music, the first thing you have to do is really listen.

If I'm thinking, when I'm listening choreographically, 'Oh, I'm going to do this,' and I'm responding to sound, in terms of activity, that's not listening.

Listening is when you can let go of your plans, when you can drop your outcomes and your expectations, and you're just here.

-Every day, you wake up and you feel different and you want to listen to that.

The orchestra might also play differently.

So really tuning up that listening, and that's how the collaboration really works, is that they give, we give, and then we are together.

-When do you listen, respond, and when do you speak?

So that it's a conversation.

You don't want to follow the bouncing ball, because then you become a metronome.

But with that malambo, it's hard [Chuckles] because it is so fiercely fast and rhythmically insistent that you play with it, but you still want to come in and out and have a voice in the conversation.

That is the trial and that is the joy of the work.

♪♪♪ [ Applause ] [ Indistinct conversations ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Intense orchestral music plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music stops ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Soft classical music plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music stops ] [ Applause ] [ Dramatic orchestral music plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ [ Music stops ] [ Applause ] [ Up-tempo orchestral music plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music stops ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Cheers and applause intensify ] [ Indistinct conversations ] -Wayne Shorter's music is the score to the superhero living inside of you.

That's what he wants.

He wants you to feel your own superhero be scored and know that it's the score to It's the score to your superhero potential.

[ Mid-tempo music plays ] -I don't believe Wayne Shorter ever wrote a bad tune.

[ Laughs ] Yeah, I don't think Wayne ever wrote a bad tune.

If you look at the great, great figures in music, we have these certain beacons, you know, these -- these -- these incredible artists who've given so much and achieved so much.

And Wayne Shorter is one of those beacons for us.

He's like a guiding light.

[ Mid-tempo jazz plays ] ♪♪♪ -This piece, 'Gaia,' it's an ecosystem, its an environment.

The closest comparison I can think of is, like, swimming in the ocean -- the way that you feel buoyed by it, the way that there's currents within it that you can [Gasps] catch and be moved by, and you can also feel the element itself shifting in response to your movement.

[ Vocalizing ] ♪♪♪ -Esperanza is just a very interesting artist.

She's, like, one of the most complete musicians I've ever come across.

Every time I meet her, every time I hear her compositions or her playing or her singing, I feel so happy because the sheer talent and the energy she conveys is -- is enormous.

-We're trying to do some magical stuff out here.

We're aspiring for the magical and the profound in all of our humanness and messiness.

And, um, part of what is fun about bringing a jazz ensemble into the orchestra is, you know, what we deal in is the human.

We deal in the messy.

We deal in creating beauty out of the unknown and uncontrolled.

You know?

And it's really fun to feel that energy mushing and mashing and dancing with the symphony.

You know? I think it's really beautiful.

[ Soft music plays ] ♪♪♪ -I think that's always the beautiful part of Wayne and his journey, just his fearlessness, his courage, you know, as a musical creator and visionary.

He's unbound.

-It's like we feel his spirit swarming around us, you know, through the combined sound of everybody on the stage, and it's just -- it's, like -- it's a dream.

It's literally like living in the best dream.

[ Chuckles ] But it's happening in real life.

[ Cheers and applause ] Thank you so much.

I wanted to just say how excited and grateful and nourished we are by being here with you all.

And I speak on behalf of Ravi Coltrane, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Leo Genovese.

[ Cheers and applause ] Our mentor, our mystic, the great Wayne Shorter -- [ Crowd cheers ] Mm-hmm.

...wrote this piece as an homage and a reminder to this entity you might call Mother Earth, our home, called 'Gaia,' as an invitation to travel with her through the veins and hair and flesh and passageways, and remember our infinite connection with Gaia.

[ Cheers and applause ] [ Mid-tempo orchestral music plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Vocalizing ] ♪♪♪ (vocalizing) ♪ [singing indistinctly] ♪ Gaia shutters ♪ ♪ Rocks on ♪ ♪ Spinning cradles ♪ (vocalizing) ♪ [singing indistinctly] ♪ Spinning life in circles ♪ ♪ (vocalizing) ♪ ♪ Patterns of fruited empires ♪ ♪ And fall as entire ♪ ♪ Worlds bare the reaping ♪ ♪ Blooming, progress and withering ♪ ♪ Knowledge of whose well who be man's keeping ♪ (vocalizing) (vocalizing) ♪ Progress, peace yet ♪ ♪ Peace may seek get ♪ ♪ Lost in isms ♪ ♪ Scared and through the tiny prisms ♪ ♪ Storm is mace to wisdom ♪ ♪ Storm is mace to wisdom ♪ ♪ Gaia hums not in a human sack or big spun ♪ ♪ Sprinkling bits of Sun ♪ ♪ And share the hypnotized to change the prize ♪ ♪ Fleeting rainbow who's bond ♪ ♪ Doesn't give love or home ♪ ♪ Spent further chestful ♪ ♪ Sprinkled in the fire beat in my urn ♪ ♪ Separate a smile, Bogan statistics preach of doom ♪ ♪ May guide us first eve both us ♪ (vocalizing) ♪ We both us to darling ♪ ♪ We both us to darling ♪ ♪ Coach us and wake the sleeping captain ♪ ♪ Sleeping while wings of death ♪ ♪ Raining a poem I'm laughing in Sun ♪ (jazz orchestra continues) ♪ ♪ Make a end dream ♪ ♪ Make a end dream ♪ ♪ Rising through a rest ♪ ♪ The dawning race of love ♪ ♪ Come peace the darkest hour ♪ ♪ Love and (indistinct) ♪ ♪ ♪ Bleary eyed Captains all step forth to chart a new direction ♪ ♪ ♪ As maps assume wants to hold worth ♪ ♪ Are all called into question ♪ ♪ ♪ New guiding lights of inspiration ♪ ♪ Information, sprinkle them near and far♪ ♪ ♪ But the more we know ♪ ♪ The more we wonder where we are ♪ ♪ (saxophone solo) ♪ ♪ History's gate rock the plug thing ♪ ♪ The tears is open ♪ ♪ ♪ But for now it's ill as it may appear ♪ ♪ Looking and hill on a mountain ♪ ♪ The lofty world of me ♪ ♪ Entrenched in its creation ♪ ♪ Slave to unseen coming ♪ ♪ ♪ What earthly grounds upheld it ♪ ♪ ♪ Above the world around ♪ ♪ Chewed up to fuel and build it♪ ♪ Now both are breaking down ♪ (jazz orchestra music) ♪ Crumbling into siege of questions ♪ ♪ That converge and lead to sea ♪ ♪ Growing tired on this conclusion ♪ ♪ But the depths hard to believe ♪ ♪ From the views beneath the surface ♪ ♪ Lose some easy to the flame ♪ ♪ Erratic storms and seasons ♪ ♪ Thrash like endless in the mind ♪ (saxophone solo) ♪ ♪ From fertile cones to forest ♪ ♪ This madness eats away ♪ ♪ Bosom and warm that barest ♪ ♪ The (indistinct) the body in decay ♪ ♪ When turn on the weary ♪ ♪ Steer ♪ [singing indistinctly] [vocalizing] [vocalizing] ♪ Take my hand ♪ ♪ Going through birth ♪ ♪ of our nest ♪ ♪ Age of earth Gaia's home ♪ ♪ Guides the moon ♪ [vocalizing] (saxophone solo) ♪ ♪ (jazz orchestra music) ♪ ♪ Newborn frown complacent norm ♪ ♪ The off invest ♪ ♪ Us home ♪ (jazz orchestra music continues) ♪ (saxophone solo) ♪ ♪ To behold the fabric of life ♪ ♪ And see while they pretend ♪ ♪ A friend of conscience breath ♪ ♪ With taste in hues hit spots ♪ ♪ That pull a fabric in ♪ [singing indistinctly] (saxophone solo) ♪ (jazz orchestra music) ♪ ♪ ♪ (piano solo) ♪ ♪ (saxophone solo) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ( horn solo) ♪ ♪ Sway and we stand ♪ ♪ With the skin in his hand ♪ ♪ Though we may not understand ♪ ♪ Gaia's all bidding plan ♪ ♪ The dawning age must be spun ♪ ♪ By dream and the bun ♪ ♪ Moving tomorrow ♪ ♪ Merrily has begun the dream life will become ♪ ♪ A gilded May spring Sun ♪ (jazz orchestra music continues) ♪ [singing indistinctly] ♪ (jazz orchestra music continues) ♪ ♪ Dawns peace begun ♪ ♪ Dark nights will come ♪ ♪ So life is slum ♪ ♪ Tethered in sun ♪ ♪ (soft jazz orchestra music) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (jazz orchestra music ends) [ Cheers and applause ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Cheers and applause ] -No one has all the answers.

Nobody. That's why we need each other.

You take the best of each contribution.

[ Instruments tuning ] -I can't fathom what is not collaboration.

I feel like many offerings, artistically, it's like a tuning that's being sent to your body so that you can feel a different...aspect of your own perception that maybe isn't activated anywhere else in your life.

And then I think that that activated sense perception stays with you, and maybe you -- you can hear different things or feel new things when you go out of the concert hall.

-Most of my best ideas are born in conversation, in dialogue, in discourse.

And I thought that if we had a group of people who don't necessarily come from the very hardcore center of the so-called classical music, that would be an incredible energy boost to the entire organization, but also to me personally.

-I always hope that when symphony players get to work with proficient jazz musicians, I always pray that when we walk away, they feel a little more permission to trust their own improvisational power.

And we maybe we get permission to trust that it's also okay to -- to do something the same -- tonight, tomorrow, the next -- that the sameness provides a beauty, too.

Like, um, the serving to a thing that existed before you stepped into it offers a kind of beauty.

That's a really generous gift that the arts can give us.

-The idea of bringing in musicians and artists from different parts of the artistic world that have historically been divided, to me just seems like the logical way to make the coolest art, to make the coolest music, to have the most fun.

Collaborating with people who have a different background from you is more challenging and more exciting than collaborating with people who come from a similar world from you.

-We realize now that the world is very small.

And so we're interrelated.

And there's also an interdependence.

And so the art is telling us that collaboration is the future.

-Every time I speak with my collaborators, I feel inspired and challenged and somehow positive and optimistic about the future of the orchestra as an institution.

If we have people like or artistic collaborators guiding an institution into the future, then we're doing okay.

♪♪♪ [ Applause ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Mid-tempo orchestral music plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ [ Drums play ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] [ Conch shell and drums play ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music softens ] ♪♪♪ [ Music intensifies ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Music stops ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Cheers and applause ] -To find out more about this and other 'Great Performances' programs, visit pbs.org/greatperformances, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

[ Cheers and applause continue ] ♪♪♪

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