While we wish MTT to keep doing his SF Symphony gig for a long long time, he's the longest tenured music director here ever. He doesn't look it, but at 67, he's twice the age of Spanish maestro Pablo Heras-Casado, who conducted the SF Symphony in an exciting series last week with an odd but endearing mix of Stravinsky, Ravel, Dallapiccola and De Falla. (You'll forgive us for making a mental note to add PHC to the short list of names to remember when succession time comes.)
The gift of PHC is in the clarity of his handling the orchestra; SFist fav and former SF Symphony associate conductor James Gaffigan just conducted the Washington National Symphony orchestra and earned the adjective "fuscous" for his performance. That's brownish gray, and while we'd love to steal this word into our review, PHC is exactly the opposite: brightly contrasting color, with a lightness of touch that brings each instrument line into a clear focus.