Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) leads the San Francisco
Symphony (SFS) in performances of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The
Soldier’s Tale) with Elvis Costello as narrator and actor Malcolm
McDowell as the devil, January 16-18, 2015 at Davies Symphony Hall.
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Oscar and Grammy nominee Elvis Costello has had a 35 year career as a
singer, songwriter, guitarist and composer, spanning diverse genres of
music. He performed his own music as a singer and guitarist with the
SFS in March of 2006, and MTT and the London Symphony Orchestra recorded Costello’s full-length orchestral work, Il Sogno, in 2002. Costello
assumes the role of narrator in Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The
Soldier’s Tale), a theatrical tale of a Faustian bargain, written by
C.F. Ramuz, based on the Russian folk story The Runaway Soldier and the
Devil. It is scored for just seven instruments (violin, double bass,
clarinet, bassoon, cornet, trombone and percussion), and told by three
actors; a solider, the Devil and a narrator. On his way home on leave, a
Russian soldier Joseph encounters the Devil who convinces Joseph to
exchange his violin for a magic book which promises to bring untold
wealth in the future. Joseph eventually realizes this does not lead to
happiness and strives to reverse the bargain.

Malcolm McDowell (born Malcolm John Taylor; 13 June 1943) is an English
actor, known for his boisterous and sometimes villainous roles, whose
career spans more than four decades. He trained as an actor at the
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. McDowell is known for the
controversial films If….., O Lucky Man!Caligula and A Clockwork
, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Alex DeLarge. He has played varied roles in films and television series of different genres, including The Employer,Tank GirlFranklin and BashTime After TimeStar Trek Generations,the television series Our Friends in the NorthEntourage and Heroes. He has lent his voice to several animated roles as well such as Ra’s Al Ghul’s son Arkady Duvall in Batman the Animated Series and as Metallo in Superman The Animated Series as well as to the animated film Bolt. He narrated the 1982 documentary The Complete
. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2012.

Michael Tilson Thomas assumed his post as the San Francisco Symphony’s
Music Director in September 1995, consolidating a relationship with the
Orchestra that began with his debut here in 1974. A Los Angeles native,
he studied piano with John Crown and composition and conducting with
Ingolf Dahl at the University of Southern California, becoming Music
Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra at nineteen
and working with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland on
premieres of their compositions at the famed Monday Evening Concerts. He
was pianist and conductor for master classes given by Piatigorsky and
Heifetz and, as a student of Friedelind Wagner, an assistant conductor
at Bayreuth. In 1969, at twenty-four, Mr. Tilson Thomas won the
Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston
Symphony. Ten days later he came to international recognition, replacing
Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert at Lincoln Center. He
went on to become the BSO’s Associate Conductor, then Principal Guest
Conductor, and he has also served as Chief Conductor and Director of the
Ojai Festival, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, a Principal
Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Principal Conductor
of the Great Woods Music Festival. He has toured the world with the
London Symphony Orchestra, of which he became Principal Conductor in
1988 and now serves as Principal Guest Conductor. Until 2000 he was
co-Artistic Director of the Pacific Music Festival, which he and Leonard
Bernstein inaugurated in Sapporo, Japan, in 1990, and he founded and is
Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, a training orchestra for
the most gifted graduates of America’s conservatories and home to a
critically acclaimed, technologically advanced arts academy and concert
hall designed by Frank Gehry, opened in January 2011. Michael Tilson
Thomas’s recordings have won numerous international awards, including
twelve Grammys for SFS recordings, seven of these for the Mahler cycle
on SFS Media.

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