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Mozart thrives under Jan Lisiecki and the SFS /

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Last night in Davies Symphony Hall, James Conlon led the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in the first of the five performances he prepared for this week's subscription concerts. His program followed the conventional overture-concerto-symphony format with pianist Jan Lisiecki as his concerto soloist in a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's K. 482 piano concerto in E-flat major. This was Lisiecki's SFS debut; but serious concert-goers may recall that this pianist made his San Francisco debut in December of 2013 as a solo recitalist in the Young Masters Series of concerts organized by San Francisco Performances.

Readers of this site may recall that, at that time, Lisiecki was accused of offering little more than technical display "often hammered out with an intensity that bordered on brutality," whether he was playing the Opus 10 études of Frédéric Chopin or Johann Sebastian Bach's BWV 825 partita in B-flat major. Last night there was no sign of that brutality. Perhaps, almost three years on, Lisiecki had learned that there was more to playing the piano than technical display; or, possibly, it took a conductor like Conlon to tap into his capacity for nuance. Whatever the cause may have been, last night's Mozart performance was indelibly memorable for all the right reasons.   READ THE FULL ARTICLE