Arts & Events

An Underwhelming Opening Night at San Francisco Symphony

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Friday September 15, 2017 - 10:54:00 AM

In a recent conversation at Berkeley’s hub of classical music, The Musical Offering on Bancroft Street, the name Yo-Yo Ma came up. The knowledgeable folks at The Musical Offering treated Yo-Yo Ma with undisguised scorn, dismissing him as the kind of big-name musician that impresarios bring in to show off to the big-money donors. These latter get to have a patrons’ dinner with Mr. Ma before or after the cellist goes through the motions in some familiar warhorse or, as is frequently the case, in some totally unfamiliar music from the far corners of the globe. The scuttlebutt at The Musical Offering was that Yo-Yo Ma has become the self-styled musical emissary to the world, and as such he is the big-money donors’ darling. But if you want emotional intensity and depth of musical interpretation, you don’t turn to Yo-Yo Ma. -more-