The San Francisco Symphony just hosted Sofia Gubaidulina in its inaugural Phyllis C. Wattis composer-in-residency. The two week residency, which ended on February 27th, was created in honor of a former SFS board member and philanthropist in the Bay Area. (More information about the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation can be found here.)

The SFS performed the West Coast premiere of The Light of the End on Feb. 18 (first premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2003). Also heard on Feb. 22 was Repentance, a new work for chamber ensemble that Gubaidulina arranged this occasion. However, the most anticipated work was the American premiere of In tempus praesens, a violin concerto written for Anne-Sophie Mutter in 2007. (The concerto was first premiered in 2007 at the Lucerne Festival with the Berlin Philharmonic.) Micahel Tilson Thomas conducted the premiere with Ms. Mutter performing the part written for her.

You can read an interview with Sofia Gubaidulina, printed by SFist, where she speaks about the The Light of the End here. Ms. Gubaidulina was also interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle.

SFist also interviewed Anne-Sophie Mutter about her experience working with Gubaidulina – the interview is available here.

This highly anticipated residence, and premiere, was highly publicized – evident by the video that has been circulating YouTube about the residency and the premiere being performed by Ms. Mutter.

The numerous articles about the residency, including this one by The Bay Area Reporter, as well as the general enthusiasm surrounding the residency and premieres, are a refreshing change from the usual lack of recognition of compositions written by women. Perhaps it helps that Ms. Mutter, a superstar among soloists, was so prominently promoted…?