California Symphony’s virtual premiere of Viet Cuong’s “Next Week’s Trees”

Posted on: May 6, 2021

The California Symphony and Music Director Donato Cabrera in a pre-pandemic photo. Credit: Kristen Loken

“For the past 29 years, the California Symphony has supported living composers through its Young American Composer-in-Residence Program,” writes Iris Kwok in Tuesday’s (5/4) San Francisco Classical Voice. “Beginning this Saturday, fans will get their first listen to the music of the latest composer-collaborator, Viet Cuong, whose piece, Next Week’s Trees, is featured in the California Symphony’s free admission, three-part virtual concert series titled ‘Poetry in Motion.’… For [California Symphony Music Director Donato] Cabrera, working with video director Matthew Ebisuzaki of [Bay Area artist collective] Mercury Soul is like having another conductor—one who creates the visual representation of the music…. Saturday’s first episode … opens with an interview with Cuong, [whose] piece … was inspired by and derives its name from American poet Mary Oliver’s ‘Walking to Oak-Head Pond, And Thinking of the Ponds I Will Visit in the Next Days and Weeks.’ … The second episode … features a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht … in the string orchestra arrangement…. The May 22 concert concludes the California Symphony’s 2020-21 season with a performance of Benjamin Britten’s introspective Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, featuring tenor Nicholas Phan and horn player Meredith Brown.”