At Sunday afternoon’s Symphony Parnassus concert, there’s a Tchaikovsky symphony, a recent work by their composer-in-residence Preben Antonsen, and a Prokofiev violin concerto played by their two-time concerto competition winner, Pierce Wang. The program will be led by music director Stephen Paulson at the Taube Atrium Theater.
There’s more information at the Symphony Parnassus website.
“Pierce is, for the second time, one of the winners of the Parnassus Conservatory Competition,” Paulson says. “This is a competition for students in the Pre-College division at the San Francisco Conservatory. The first time he performed with us, he played the [Julius] Conus concerto, which is a very rare piece, and this time his preference is the Prokofiev first concerto, which is one of my absolute favorite pieces of music.” As a matter of fact, that concert in November of 2017 also featured another work by Preben Antonsen, the composer-in-residence who studied composition with John Adams when he was younger. He’s since gone on to graduate from Yale. His piece, Psalm Without Words has its second performance this Sunday, after premiering last summer at the Cabrillo Festival of New Music. Paulson says the Prokofiev first Violin Concerto is “one of the most touching and personal pieces that Prokofiev ever wrote. He tends to be gruff, and of course this piece has its gruff moments, but the beauty of it in the more lyrical sections is so disarming, it’s quite special.” And Wang agrees: “I first discovered it just by listening. I was trying to expand my repertoire, and I became obsessed with it. So I was listening to it all the time, and then I asked my teacher if I could play it, and she said, ‘yeah, sure, go ahead!’ And so then I started playing it, and I fell in love with it even more, if that’s possible.”