The musical world is all abuzz about cellist Sterling Elliott and the other young musicians on the San Francisco Symphony’s Shenson Spotlight Series. The four recitals in the Davies Hall series, now in its second season, are invitations to hear artists in the first bloom of maturity, no longer prodigies but young masters whose dance cards are filling up rapidly.
And when we say all the musicians, we mean all. Sterling Elliott’s Jan. 18 recital features Felix Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata No. 2, with the cellist partnered by Fremont-born pianist Elliot Wuu. At the ripe old age of 23, Wuu is a Young Steinway Artist, a recent Gilmore Young Artist, a Kovner Fellowship winner at The Juilliard School, where he is studying with Robert McDonald, and, yes, a prodigy who has an armload of trophies weighing down his bookshelves. He’ll probably do more than fine collaborating with Elliott.
Jan. 31 will see the appearance of Swedish-Norwegian violinist Johan Dalene, who last year made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony and this year will perform on tour with the SF Symphony under Esa-Pekka Salonen as well as with a platoon of famous European orchestras. He’s already released his third album on BIS, featuring the Nielsen and Sibelius concertos, with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic with John Storgårds, which earned him an “Editor’s Choice” designation from Gramophone. At Davies, he’s joined in sonatas by Edvard Grieg and Maurice Ravel by pianist Giorgi Gigashvili, a 22-year-old Georgian who walked off with first prize at the Vigo International Piano Competition, where Martha Argerich chaired the jury, followed by the third prize and the audience prize at the 62nd Busoni International Piano Competition.
Pianist Alexander Malofeev takes his turn on March 22, in a recital featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Sonata, Mieczysław Weinberg’s Sonata No. 4, and, as a throw-in, Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata. Born in 2001, the Russian pianist spent part of last year on a tour of Asia with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly and has a summer festival schedule that includes debuts in Aspen, Tanglewood, Verbier, and Ravinia. He’s taking time out of the school year to play this recital for us, remember.
Bringing it all home on May 10 is violinist Bomsori Kim, who now prefers to go by Bomsori. A multiple competition winner (the Tchaikovsky International Competition, Queen Elisabeth Competition, International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition, Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover, and that’s only half the list), she now records for Deutsche Grammophon and sustains a major international career. She already hit the SF Symphony in 2021. Joining her on a recital that includes music by Claude Debussy, Jean Sibelius, Henryk Wieniawski, and more is pianist Julia Okruashvili, who is already teaching at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, Germany, and is also a multiple competition winner and regular guest at major European venues.
There’s nothing like a glimpse of the musical future to add a dose of optimism to your 2023 calendar.