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Davis

Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

Mondavi Center presents San Francisco Symphony

On Feb 13., the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will travel to the Mondavi Center for a performance that features the Sibelius Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

Led by guest conductor Jaap van Zweden, the symphony’s two pieces hope to inspire audiences particularly when they face the darkest depths of winter, whether literal or emotional.

Second violinist Chunming Mo connects with the Sibelius Violin Concerto, which reflects Sibelius’ Finnish national identity but also contemplates the nature of the region.

“Sibelius was a Finnish composer from the late Romantic period, and music played an important role in his Finnish identity. He used the violin as a medium as he mused on nature, such as snow and winter, and about his country. It evokes very beautiful imagery,” Mo said during a phone interview.

Mo relishes in the chance to perform under the guest conductorship of Jaap van Zweden, whose own career began with playing the violin.

“The composer [of the piece] itself is a violinist usually, and the certain techniques when you compose a piece come out more clearly [by having previous violin-playing experience]. Being a violinist, he [van Zweden] is able to see what works and what doesn’t among everyone — the orchestra, the soloists and especially the violinists,” Mo said.

Professor Christian Baldini, director of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, said as a community, we are very fortunate to have the San Francisco Symphony perform, considering it is one of the “world’s great orchestras.”

In an email response, he wrote that music, particularly the live music of the symphony’s performances, can speak to us in unimaginable ways that can resonate with us throughout our lives.

“The most wonderful thing about music is that it accompanies you all your life, whether in sad, exuberant, happy, exciting or terrifying moments,” Baldini said. “Music can always be with you. Music communicates a message, whether consciously or subconsciously. Listening to a CD or your iPod is great, but experiencing live musicians performing for you right in front of you is a remarkable, powerful experience.”

The symphony’s principal trumpeter Mark Inouye happens to be a native of Davis, and also attended UC Davis for two years as a civil engineering major before transferring to the Juilliard School. His performances at the Mondavi with SFS remind him of his fond memories at UC Davis, but also of how much the campus has changed.

“We used to play in Freeborn Hall. I honestly never thought there would be a great auditorium at UC Davis. [The Mondavi Center] is a great facility. It’s on campus, and as a performer, it sounds great,” Inouye said.

Inouye looks forward to performing Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, both for its great writing of brass instruments and also for the way he hopes the audience can connect with it.

“It has great writing for brass and trumpet. The trumpet plays a primary role in the modus of the piece; every time the trumpet arrives, it’s a startling part of the music. The way I feel, everyone that listens to this piece can connect with it,” Inouye said.

Tickets range from $10 for students to $94 for regular admission, and can be purchased online at mondaviarts.org or at the Mondavi ticket office.

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