Review: Philadelphia Orchestra world premiere of Bates’s “Rhapsody of Steve Jobs” led by Eun Sun Kim

Posted on: February 18, 2022

“Mason Bates’ newest score is … a short, peppy piece that functions nicely as the overture in an orchestra program,” writes Peter Dobrin in Monday’s (2/14) Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s the slot where The Rhapsody of Steve Jobs landed Saturday night for its world premiere by the Philadelphia Orchestra. [Drawing] on the composer’s [2017] The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs … it’s not a suite from the opera, but something more ‘freewheeling,’ Bates told Verizon Hall’s audience. The music represents, among other things, the moment Jobs presented the world with its first iPhone. Bates [depicts] the event as an act of … driving optimism…. Trumpets surge, violins race…. The other debut here was the appearance of Eun Sun Kim, the new music director of San Francisco Opera, and she proved in this Philadelphia Orchestra debut to be an incisive conductor. She had a particularly strong point of view in Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9…. But she also made her presence known in the Barber Violin Concerto [featuring] Juliette Kang, the orchestra’s first associate concertmaster…. Kang … was especially good when she pushed the intensity of the first movement…. Kim took time to tend the serene, sun-dappled aspects of the movement, while magnifying climactic moments.”