Turning an idea into action, Jessica Bejarano leads her brand-new ensemble, the San Francisco Philharmonic this Monday evening in its inaugural concert. The special guest soloists for Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante are Cordula Merks, the concertmaster of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and Jonathan Vinocour, principal violist of the San Francisco Symphony. In addition to the Mozart, the orchestra will play Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.
There’s more information at the San Francisco Philharmonic’s website.
“I was guest conducting in Europe this summer,” Bejarano says. “I was working in Bulgaria and Spain and when I was travelling from one place to the other, I had this idea, I was like, ‘Jessica, you need to start your own orchestra.’ And so it was just this spark, this idea that slowly snowballed into action, and taking the action, and turning an idea into reality.” Since then, she’s had to deal with a lot of the logistics that go with starting an ensemble. “You have to find a board, you have to find rehearsal venues, performance venues. You have to schedule, you have meetings, and there’s just so much to it. Scheduling’s always an issue, there’s a lot of orchestras here, there’s a lot of musicians that play in multiple orchestras. But one of the many great things about the Bay Area is there’s so many opportunities for musicians to make music.” She contacted her soloists, who agreed, and wanted to play the Mozart work that features both the viola and violin. “I admire Jonathan and Cordula, and I knew that by asking them, it was going to be a big ask. Because they’re like, ‘well, who are you, what is the San Francisco Philharmonic?’ But for me, my motto is always ask. Always ask, and always try.” In programming the rest of the concert, she asked the players, who agreed that the Mendelssohn is a natural opener. And Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, with its recurring ‘fate’ motif felt appropriate. “It kind of resonates with San Francisco Philharmonic, because for me, it feels like this is my fate.”