Keeping Score has been a major project by the San Francisco Symphony and its Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas to cultivate audiences for both the present and the future. It involves a major commitment of media to inspire and maintain and interest in the performance of classical music from all periods of music history up to the present day. It is based on a set of components that include a television series on PBS, a Web site, an education program that covers all grades from kindergarten through high school, and distribution of media to the home. The beginning of next month will see the addition of a new component in the form of a radio series scheduled for broadcast on public stations. Here in San Francisco these will include FM stations KQED (88.5), KDFC (90.3), and KALW (91.7).
This series will consist of thirteen one-hour programs under the general title 13 Days When Music Changed Forever. This will be a series of weekly broadcasts. On KQED they will air on Saturdays at 9 PM beginning April 2. KDFC will air them on Sundays at 6 PM beginning on April 3. Finally, KALW broadcasts will take place on Mondays at 9 PM beginning on April 4. This parallel approach to scheduling will allow listeners to select the most convenient time for each episode. As the title implies, each episode will be associated with a single date in history and a specific event:
- February 24, 1607: the premiere of Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, generally taken to be the dawn of opera
- April 22, 1723: the appointment of Johann Sebastian Bach as cantor by the town council of Leipzig
- October 29, 1787: the premiere of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni in Prague
- August 8, 1803: Parisian piano maker Sébastien Érard gives one of his sturdy new creations to Ludwig van Beethoven
- April 7, 1805: the first public performance of Beethoven’s Opus 55 symphony in E-flat major (“Eroica”)
- August 13, 1876: the launch of the first Ring cycle by Richard Wagner at Bayreuth
- May 6, 1889: the opening day of the Exposition Universelle in Paris, where the West first became significantly aware of “world” music
- January 5, 1909: the premiere of Richard Strauss’ opera Elektra
- May 29, 1913: the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s score for the ballet The Rite of Spring
- December 26, 1926: the premiere of Jean Sibelius’ tone poem “Tapiola”
- January 10, 1931: the premiere of Charles Ives’ Three Places in New England
- January 28, 1936: the publication in Pravda of the article “Chaos Instead of Music” in reaction to Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
- November 4, 1964: the premiere of Terry Riley’s “In C”
April will also be the month of the television broadcast of the series Keeping Score: Mahler, consisting of two one-hour long documentary-style episodes and two live concert programs. These will air on KQED television at 9 PM on April 14 and 21. Preview material is currently available for viewing at the Keeping ScoreWeb site.