• Benaroya Hall unless otherwise noted: 200 University St, 215-4700, www.seattle symphony.org
Indigo Girls with the Seattle Symphony (Sept 12): A handful of orchestras across the country, including Seattle's, got together to create the charts for Indigo Girls' first full symphonic tour. Yes, "Closer to Fine" will happen.
Opening Night Concert and Gala (Sept 15): Ludovic Morlot's second opening night as music director is an all-American program featuring Joshua Bell performing Leonard Bernstein's Serenade and former Washington State governor Daniel J. Evans narrating Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait. (There's cocktails, concert, and dinner tickets for those who want the full gala treatment, or you can just see the show.)
Morlot Conducts Pines of Rome (Sept 20–22): Along with the 1924 symphony poem by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi comes Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture, Czech 20th-century composer Bohuslav Martinu's sixth and final symphony, and Nuages and Fêtes from Debussy's Nocturnes.
The Cocktail Hour: Music from the Mad Men Era (Sept 27–30): The Seattle Pops season-opener is '60s-themed (with Don and Joan well into their epic flirtation) and conducted by Steven Reineke, who led a similar program last year at the New York Pops.
Rufus Wainwright (Oct 1): Have you seen the video for Rufus Wainwright's new album, Out of the Game, the one with Helena Bonham Carter and a library and cross-dressing and desperation and people clawing at each other and a dripping flask? Yeah. Catch it on Vimeo. Then go see Rufus, just Rufus and a piano alone, onstage at Benaroya.
Tchaikovsky and Sibelius (Oct 4, 6, 7): Thomas Søndergård conducts new Seattle Symphony principal cello Efe Baltacgil in Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, preceded by (FUNTIMES) Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, and followed by Sibelius's First Symphony (1898).
Bach and Vivaldi (Oct 12–13): With conductor/harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini, five Bach pieces (including the Suite for Orchestra No. 3) and two Vivaldi concerti. Wine-tasting in the lobby before each concert.
András Schiff (Oct 15): This recital is a major occasion, one for the books: Tremendous pianist Schiff will perform the tremendous entire Book II of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier—24 Preludes and Fugues—in a single night.
Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn (Oct 18, 20): Morlot conducts a program whose title leaves out an important part, a world premiere by Dai Fujikura commissioned especially for this concert, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble. (Haydn's "Drum Roll" Symphony—kicked off by the timpanist—finishes the program and will also be performed in a shorter "Untuxed" concert Oct 19.)
[Untitled] Series: 1962 (Oct 19): Are you one of those people who have criticized the Symphony for being staid and set in its ways and old-fashioned? (If you are not, what is the matter with you?) Get this: In conjunction with the closing of The Next Fifty celebration of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, the Symphony introduces an entirely new series called [Untitled]—late-night chamber performances of contemporary music in Benaroya's lobby. This first night, the International Contemporary Ensemble and Symphony musicians will perform music by John Cage, Morton Feldman (For Franz Kline), and Iannis Xenakis, and finally, Morlot will work with the audience in a performance of György Ligeti's symphonic poem for 100 metronomes, meaning there will be 100 old-fashioned mechanical metronomes on hand. Things start at 9 pm with a performance of Gabriel Prokofiev's Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra (Gabriel is the grandson of Sergei, and he may make an appearance). YES.
Seattle Center Community Celebration (Oct 21 at Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion): The orchestra participates in the conclusion of Seattle Center's Next Fifty celebration with a free concert of selections by Gershwin, Cage, Debussy, Berlioz, and Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, which the orchestra also performed at the 1962 World's Fair Gala Opening Concert.
Gil Shaham Plays Mozart (Oct 25, 27): The famed violinist performs Mozart's final violin concerto in a concert begun by crowd favorite Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Morlot conducts.
Sonic Evolution (Oct 26): Sonic Evolution is not just contemporary and cross-genre music, it's also local. Last year, it linked artists including Quincy Jones, Hey Marseilles, Cuong Vu, Nirvana, and Jimi Hendrix; this year, music director Morlot has commissioned three composers (Arlene Sierra, Kenneth Hesketh, and Alexandra Gardner) to write new orchestral pieces inspired by Alice in Chains, Blue Scholars, and Yes—and Seattle-based Yes drummer Alan White will perform on the piece inspired by Yes. The second half of the program is alt-country band Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs performing with the orchestra.
Neeme Järvi Conducts Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto (Nov 1–3): An all-Russian program featuring Arabella Steinbacher, violin.
Brahms and Medtner (Nov 4): Chamber music by Symphony musicians with pieces by Nikolai Karlovich Medtner (young contemporary of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin), Scriabin, Schnittke, and Brahms (Sextet No. 1).
Joseph Adam, Organ Recital (Nov 5): Organ music by three female French composers (in addition to three male composers) in conjunction with Seattle Art Museum's Elles exhibition of women artists from Paris's Pompidou museum.
John Adams Conducts, and Beethoven (Nov 8, 10, 11): John Adams has come to seem something like the American composer laureate, striking an amiable balance of innovation and convention. In the 1980s, he wrote the historical opera Nixon in China, and in 2005, the opera Doctor Atomic, about the Manhattan Project, in addition to many orchestral and chamber pieces along the way following his beginnings in 1970s minimalism. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, the New York Philharmonic commissioned him to write On the Transmigration of Souls, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. Based in Northern California, he now visits Seattle to conduct his own mid-1980s work Harmonielehre (German for "study of harmony"), inspired by a dream he had of an oil tanker taking off out of the San Francisco Bay like a rocket. The rest of the program is promising, too: Young pianist Jonathan Biss (born in 1980, just a few years before Adams's takeoff dream)—who, in an unusual move for a classical soloist, released a 19,000-word essay on the art of performing Beethoven's sonatas in 2011, followed by a recording of them in 2012—performs the Emperor Concerto. We always wonder what the composers really wanted; here's a concert that tries to get closest.
Emanuel Ax Plays Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 (Nov 15, 17, 18): Morlot conducting the many-times-decorated pianist, with works by Dutilleux and Richard Strauss also on the program.
Brandi Carlile with the Seattle Symphony (Nov 23–25): Back by popular demand after selling out in 2008 and 2010, with material from the new album Bear Creek.
Morlot Conducts Mahler (Nov 29, Dec 1): Symphony No. 4, featuring soprano Donatienne Michel-Dansac, and the Berg Violin Concerto, featuring Veronika Eberle.
• McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, 389-7676, www.seattleopera.org
Fidelio (Oct 13–27): Beethoven's only opera is an election-season natural. It tells the rousing story of a political prisoner saved by his wife, who masquerades as a prison guard to spring him. There's gender bending and the pumping of fists about the downfall of oppressors and tyrants. "No relevance to anything contemporary, whether in the Middle East or anywhere else, I'm sure," quipped Seattle Opera's Jonathan Dean in a note about the production, which is set in the here and now. It will climax in a big finale involving more than a hundred people onstage, many of them in their own regular contemporary clothes. (This old thing?)
• University of Washington campus at 15th Ave NE and NE 40th St, 685-2742, www.meany.org
Emerson String Quartet (Oct 2)
Sretensky Monastery Choir (Oct 21): Visiting Russian group that specializes in Russian music that was banned under the Soviet regime.
Craig Sheppard, piano recital (Oct 23)
Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra (Oct 28): Verdi, Vaughn Williams, Bizet.
La Catrina Quartet (Oct 30)
French Pianist Hélène Grimaud (Nov 1): Mozart, Liszt, Berg, Bartok.
Atar Arad and Melia Watras, Viola (Nov 5)
Opera Workshop: Die Fledermaus (Nov 30–Dec 2)
• 1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255, www.townhallseattle.org
Piano Trios (Sept 11): The young trio of Victor Santiago Asuncion (piano), Dale Barltrop (violin, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concertmaster), and Joshua Roman (cello, former Seattle Symphony principal cello and TownMusic curator) performs music by Beethoven, Schubert, and contemporary New York composer Patrick Zimmerli.
Paul Elie: Reinventing Bach (Oct 1): Georgetown University educator and StoryCorps program director Elie tells the story of Bach in multimedia, with work by Glenn Gould, Pablo Casals, Walt Disney, Yo-Yo Ma, and more.
Simple Measures: Rhythm (Oct 5): Simple Measures is known for interactive chamber performances, and this one explores rhythm with works from Vivaldi to John Cage, with Bartok and Stravinsky in between. Featuring the Pacific Rims Percussion Quartet.
Seattle Baroque Orchestra: Bach Violin Concertos (Oct 6): Featuring SBC cofounder Ingrid Matthews. Also on the program: orchestral suites and fantasias by Henry Purcell.
Lake Union Civic Orchestra: The Season "Overture" (Oct 19): Rossini's Overture to William Tell, Kodály's Dances of Galanta, and Schumann's Fourth Symphony, conducted by Joseph Bozich.
Thalia Symphony Orchestra Season Opener (Oct 28): Mozart, Dvorák, Niels Gade.
Bartok Ensemble of Chile (Nov 1): The visiting ensemble, founded in 1981, with a repertoire ranging from new Chilean music to Haydn, Mozart, and Bartok.
Igudesman & Joo: A Little Nightmare Music (Nov 5): A YouTube sensation, these two characters are spectacular players of classical music—and perfect parodists of it. A Little Nightmare Music is the first extended show by violinist and singer Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo. They both trained at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in London, and their act is part Victor Borge, part Emanuel Ax.
Early Music Guild's Hesperion XXI: The Golden Age of Consort Viol Music (Nov 10): A tour of 16th- and 17th-century European music for five violas da gamba, lute, and percussion by Spanish ensemble Hesperion XXI.
• Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, www.chapelspace.blogspot.com
John Teske's Broken Bow Ensemble (Sept 29): New music for chamber orchestra.
Lubomyr Melnyk (Oct 23): Canadian composer/pianist Lubomyr Melnyk calls himself an innovator involved with the "protons and electrons of the mind." Seattle innovative music champion and veteran Steve Peters calls him "incredible." Twice in one e-mail. We recommend going to this.
Seattle Modern Orchestra (Nov 9): Performing John Cage's 1950–'51 Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra, his earliest chance-based composition.
Karen Bentley Pollick (Nov 16): New compositions for violin, viola, and electronics, with video by Sheri Wills.
• 710 E Roy St, 726-5151, www.cornish.edu
John Cage 100th Birthday Celebration (Sept 14): John Cage was at Cornish once, in the late 1930s; now the school throws him a centenary.
Chamber Music (Sept 23): Paul Taub (flute), Valerie Muzzolini Gordon (harp), Mara Gearman (viola), Cristina Valdes (piano), and Efe Baltacgil (cello) perform music by Duruflé, Gubaidulina, Takemitsu, and the Seattle premiere of a new composition by Gabriela Lena Frank.
Maciej Grzybowski (Oct 12): The Polish pianist in recital, contemporary and classical music.
Philip Glass 75th Birthday Concert (Oct 21): His seldom-heard string quartets, performed by the St. Helens String Quartet.
Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo (Oct 27): Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams pay a 100th birthday tribute to Conlon Nancarrow, the eccentric late composer known for complex player-piano creations fascinating to see performed by human hands, and John Cage.
Venus and Adonis (Nov 8–11): John Blow's 17th-century opera gets a contemporary staging from director James Darrah with sets by Genius Award winner in art Susie J. Lee, music-directed by local early music master Stephen Stubbs. Neat!
Gamelan Pacifica with A.L. Suwardi (Nov 17): The local traditional Indonesian orchestra with one of Indonesia's most famous composers and performers of both traditional and contemporary music.
Mark Robbins and Tom Varner (Nov 30): Geek out on horns. Robbins is Seattle Symphony associate principal French horn, and Varner is a jazz improviser on the instrument.
La Voce di Gabriela (Dec 9): Kris Kwapis (baroque trumpet) and Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) play works by early-17th-century virtuosi Girolamo Fantini and Girolamo Frescobaldi.
• Moore Theater, 1932 Second Ave, www.thestranger.com/genius
(Sept 22, 5:30–11 pm; VIP only from 5:30–7:30 pm): This year, the Genius Awards will be announced from the stage rather than beforehand: Suspense! The three music finalists are: Lady hiphop pair THEESatisfaction, dude world-music weirdos Master Musicians of Bukkake, and cellist wild-woman Lori Goldston.
• 350 Kirkland Ave, 425-893-9900, www.kpcenter.org
An Evening with Philip Glass and Foday Musa Suso (Oct 25): Glass, the living composer who has inspired artists in so many disciplines, makes a rare Puget Sound appearance with the African kora virtuoso with whom he collaborated on the score to the film Powaqqatsi, as well as percussionist Adam Rudolph. Special VIP tickets get you piano-side seating and a meet-and-greet with Glass.
• Venues vary, 935-7779, www.theesoterics.org
CAGE: John Cage Centennial (Sept 7–9): Works from Cage's Songbook, Four2, Four6, and Five. One of them, a performance-art piece typical of Cagean play, begins a full half hour before the concert starts, so arrive early.
• Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 215-4700, www.northwestsinfonietta.org
Cuban Exchange (Oct 5): Cuban and American players will perform Beethoven together—a rarity on these shores since the 1959 Cuban Revolution. The historic performance will be followed by live salsa and mojitos to celebrate.
Cecile Licad, Piano (Nov 9): Stravinsky, Chopin, an as-yet-unnamed American premiere.