Brahms | Dessner



8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Symphonic II: You Have a Voice

Bryce Dessner Voy a Dormir**
Mary Kouyoumdjian Become Who I Am**
Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C minor


Joseph Young, Conductor
Kelley O'Connor, Mezzo Soprano
San Francisco Girls Chorus
*This world premiere is made possible through the League of American Orchstras' Women Composers Commissions generously supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.
**Bay Area Premiere

Symphonic II: You Have a Voice

We open this program with vocalist Kelley O’Connor who brings the profound words of Argentinian feminist poet Alfonsina Storni to life in Bryce Dessner’s Voy a Dormir. Next, the San Francisco Girls Chorus joins us to commemorate the 19thAmendment and Voting Rights Act with Mary Kouyoumdjian’s powerful Become Who I Am. We conclude the evening with Brahms’ impassioned Symphony No. 1, a work that emerged from a twenty-year search for his voice.

Join us at 7:00 p.m. for a pre-concert talk with Music Director Joseph Young, San Francisco Girls Chorus Artistic Director, Valérie Sainte-Agathe, and Composer, Mary Kouyoumdjian, moderated by Paul Dresher, composer and leader of the Paul Dresher Ensemble.

The recording of this concert will be broadcast on KALW on February 17, 2020 at 9:00 PM.


Kelley O’Connor, Mezzo Soprano

Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, musical sophistication far beyond her years, and intuitive and innate dramatic artistry, the Grammy® Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation.

During the 2018-19season, the artist’s impressive symphonic calendar features Mahler’s Second Symphony with Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Houston Symphony, his Third Symphony with Donald Runnicles and the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, and with Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Das Lied von der Erde both with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.  Sought after by many of the most heralded composers… Read More

San Francisco Girls Chorus

Stunning range, flexibility, drama, and power are among the hallmarks of the 40-year-old San Francisco Girls Chorus, recognized as one of the world’s premier youth vocal ensembles. Led by Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, SFGC has achieved an incomparable sound that underscores the unique clarity and force of impeccably trained treble voices. Read More


Mary Kouyoumdjian

MARY KOUYOUMDJIAN is a composer with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new. Read More

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Posted on

February 6, 2020