Esa-Pekka Salonen, the San Francisco Symphony’s music director beginning in 2020, “wants to shake things up, but from the inside,” writes Anthony Tommasini in Thursday’s (3/7) New York Times. “What is he willing to mess with? The weekly subscription-series programming format—‘the grid,’ as Mr. Salonen called it.… Mr. Salonen envisions breaking up the season into blocks, maybe three or four, each with a thematic hook. With the culture increasingly diverse and fragmented, Mr. Salonen … remains convinced that the ideal way to engage new listeners and give meaningful performances of … masterpieces is to present them alongside comparably ambitious modern and contemporary works…. Mr. Salonen [said], ‘I think a lot of social media is trying to create some kind of belonging, some type of cultural connection.’ A concert can provide that belonging.” Said Salonen, “There’s a certain moment when you go off line and someone curates a space, with a piece, and the power of the ritual…. You have this moment, along with many others, but still a finite experience. It happens in real time, but it will never happen again, and you were there. You can let yourself go. And I think that’s actually a real liberation.’ ”

Posted March 8, 2019