Fall Classical Calendar
Everything Happening in Classical Music and Opera This Season
Benaroya Hall unless otherwise noted: 200 University St, 215-4700, seattlesymphony.org
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses (Sept 12): Videos from 25 years of the game's history play, huge, on a screen above the orchestra while soundtrack scores rise up from below.
Opening Night Concert & Gala (Sept 15): The Symphony's season-opener features star pianist Lang Lang (Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3) and the Seattle Symphony Chorale and Seattle Symphony performing folk-inspired music by Brahms, Dvorak, and Bartok, plus Borodin's Polovtsian Dances (which once inspired Warren G, so there's that). If you want to get really done up, there are private pre-concert receptions and a glitzy post-concert gala dinner. The music will be the main course, given Ludovic Morlot's fresh direction.
Morlot Conducts Ravel (Sept 19, 21): French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet on an all-Ravel program that includes the Piano Concerto in G Major, the Piano Concerto in D Major (for left hand), and Boléro.
Symphony Untuxed: Ravel (Sept 20): Untuxed concerts have an earlier start time and a shorter format with no intermission. This is the same Ravel program as on September 19 and 21 but without the concerti.
Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (Sept 26–29): Selections from the American opera.
Beethoven's Triple Concerto (Oct 3, 5, 6): Thomas Dausgaard guest-conducts, with Alina Pogostkina, violin, Andreas Brantelid, cello, and Christian Ihle Hadland, piano, performing Beethoven, followed by Schubert's Symphony in that clarion C major.
Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 (Oct 10, 12): Guest conductor Andrew Manze leads the orchestra and pianist Simone Dinnerstein in the program of Mozart, Purcell, and Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 5.
András Schiff (Oct 11): The acclaimed pianist, alone on the stage, performing the acclaimed Goldberg Variations of Bach. This will be good.
Mozart's Symphony No. 29 (Oct 17–19): A program of Mozart and Dittersdorf led by Stilian Kirov.
[Untitled] Series: Cat O'Nine Tails (Oct 18): Musicians of the Seattle Symphony start this season's first late-night new-music program in Benaroya's comfy/glittery lobby with John Zorn's feline string quartet. The 13-minute piece, written in 1988, quilts together various styles using a jump-cut technique inspired by Jean-Luc Godard. The other pieces in the lineup are Street Music Quintet by Tony DiLorenzo and Veiled Echoes by Lior Navok. Afterward, you'll be able to stick around for drinks and ask the musicians questions.
Haydn & Tchaikovsky (Oct 24, 26, 27): Cellist Pavel Gomziakov performs Haydn's Concerto in C Major, led by guest conductor Alastair Willis. Also on the program: Elgar, Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, and the so-called Mozart Symphony No. 37, which in the early 20th century was reattributed to Michael Haydn, but with its introduction written by Mozart.
Bernadette Peters with Seattle Symphony (Oct 25): If any tiny person could take on a wall of orchestral sound, it'd be Bernadette Peters. She'll do Broadway songs.
Stephen Cleobury Organ Recital (Oct 28): British organist/director of King's College Choir performs works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Vierne, and more.
Hitchcock's Psycho (Oct 30–31): Seattle Symphony live-scores the movie as it plays on the big screen above. Conducted by Adam Stern.
Handel & Vivaldi (Nov 1–2): Baroque music featuring Zartouhi Dombourian-Eby, piccolo, and conducted by Tania Miller. Handel, Geminiani, C.P.E. Bach, Vivaldi, and Corelli.
Beethoven & Piazzolla (Nov 3): A chamber-music matinee with Symphony musicians performing music by Beethoven, Schulhoff, Boulez, Villa-Lobos, and Piazzolla.
Mahler's Sixth (Nov 7, 9): Last season, Morlot took on Mahler's lighthearted Fourth Symphony, and now it's on to the "Tragic" No. 6, which he'll lead into with the estimable Notations by Boulez.
Beyond the Score: The Tristan Effect (Nov 10): A multimedia performance, with narration, of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, the opera with maybe the most famous chord in history.
Morlot Conducts Beethoven's "Pastoral" (Nov 14–16): Renaud Capuçon presents the US premiere of Pascal Dusapin's Violin Concerto on a program that begins with Sibelius and ends in the Beethoven favorite.
Verdi's Requiem (Nov 21, 23, 24): In honor of the 30-year tenure of departing director Speight Jenkins at Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony presents the choral masterwork, conducted by Morlot.
Home for the Holidays (Dec 5–8): Carols and fireside warmth and whatnot.
McCaw Hall unless otherwise noted: 321 Mercer St, 733-9725, seattleopera.org
La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) (Oct 19–Nov 2): After a summer of heavy Wagner—the Ring cycle!—it is time for bel canto. Bel canto: Think of Rossini's William Tell overture, that day-at-the-races series of runs and rushes and thrills, those musical challenges that are somehow also light on the ear. This is what you get in Gaetano Donizetti's 1840 opera La fille du régiment, a romantic comedy—that has nine high Cs in a single tenor aria—from the period after the baroque, after it was not really cool to castrate singers on the regular (phew), and before the armies of Wagner rose up. This particular traveling production originated in Bologna, and re-sets the story of Marie, an orphan raised by a whole regiment of French soldiers (!), in the 1940s. Marie will be sung on opening night by Sarah Coburn, opposite tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Tonio. Both are alums of Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program and were seen in Seattle's 2011 production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. (Terri Richter Franklin and Andrew Stenson, another Young Artists pair, lead the second cast.) The running time is only two and a half hours, with an intermission. This is frothy fun, and a high-wire act: a certain kind of opera par excellence. In French with English titles.
Good Shepherd Center's Chapel Performance Space, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, fourth floor, waywardmusic.blogspot.com
Danse Perdue (Sept 19): Butoh with live music.
Matthew Ostrowski (Sept 20): NYC electronicist.
Paul Hoskin (Sept 21): The Seattle improv veteran doing his annual solo contrabass clarinet concert.
Gust Burns (Sept 27): Spotlight on the pianist who leads the Seattle Improvised Music Festival.
Hanna Benn and Kelly Wyse (Sept 28): A composer and a pianist (walk into a bar...).
Das Oboe Trio (Oct 3): Oboe is the persnicketiest instrument. The program is new works by Doug Buchanan, Sean Doyle, Stephen Edwards, Gary Powell Nash, Michael Rickelton, and Ursula Sahagian.
S. Eric Scribner (Oct 4): The Seattle composer performs.
UW Composers Collective (Oct 5)
Fisher Ensemble (Oct 11): Presenting various artists TBA.
Adrienne Varner (Oct 12): The Portland pianist performs music of Gardner Jencks.
Byron Au Yong (Oct 19): Nonsequitur features music by this marvel of a composer, whose most recent "comic-rap-scrap-metal-opera," Stuck Elevator, based on a true story, had its debut earlier this year at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Rumor is that Stuck Elevator may go up locally soon; Au Yong is based in Seattle. In the meantime, here you'll see whatever he has his hands on now in an intimate setting.
Lori Goldston (Oct 23): The 2012 Stranger Genius Award winner in music does her thing.
Seattle Composers' Salon (Nov 1)
Immersound Presents (Nov 8): Canadian electronic artist Tim Hecker.
Brad Sherman (Nov 9): The Seattle composer.
Neil Welch (Nov 14): The man who brings sounds out of the saxophone that you didn't know were in there.
David Hahn (Nov 15): The Seattle composer.
R. Andrew Lee, November (Nov 16): Pay attention, because Nonsequitur and The Box Is Empty are only presenting this experience for one night. It's R. Andrew Lee performing Dennis Johnson's "5-hour, nearly lost proto-minimalist masterpiece, November, for solo piano." Johnson, who lives off-grid in the Bay Area and hasn't been involved in music since around 1962, wrote this piece in 1959, and it only recently resurfaced. Given its stylistic firsts, it may well be the first piece of minimalism, and it was a wellspring of inspiration for La Monte Young's The Well-Tuned Piano of 1964. Lee is responsible for its premiere recording, so he probably knows it just about better than anyone not living in a shack off the grid in the Bay Area these days.
Seattle Modern Orchestra (Nov 22)
Tom Baker (Nov 23): The Seattle composer.
University of Washington campus at 15th Ave NE and NE 40th St, 685-2742, meany.org
Emerson String Quartet (Oct 15): The mighty Emerson has had its first roster change in 34 years: the departure of cellist David Finckel, replaced by Paul Watkins. The quartet earned a double standing ovation in Washington, DC, in May, with Watkins onstage, and Pulitzer-winning critic Philip Kennicott wrote in the Washington Post that the Emerson is still, as always, pretty much "the professor at the party who refuses to dance": "They will never smother the music with love, but they always treat it and the audience with profound respect." UW prof and favorite Seattle pianist Craig Sheppard will join them for Shostakovich's Piano Quintet in G minor.
Music of Today: Garth Knox (Oct 22): Acclaimed solo violist Garth Knox updates music of the past via the viola d'amore and the medieval fiddle. Here he performs solo and collaboratively with members of the Seattle Modern Orchestra and UW faculty violist Melia Watras.
University Symphony (Oct 24): We don't usually list University Symphony performances since they are relatively routine, but this is your chance to see David Alexander Rahbee, newly appointed director of orchestra activities at UW, conduct the orchestra in works by Beethoven (Seventh Symphony), Arutiunian, and Hindemith. (Faculty member/Seattle Symphony principal trumpet David Gordon is soloist on the Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto.)
Mallethead Series (Oct 29): Acclaimed percussionist Alex Acuña, known for his work with Weather Report, is joined by UW percussion studies chair Thomas Collier, bassist Dan Dean, and pianist Don Grusin in a program of original works for percussion ensemble.
Craig Sheppard: Mostly Brahms (Nov 5): The faculty pianist performs the first and last published solo piano pieces by Brahms, the Opus 4 Scherzo and the two great sets of Klavierstücke, Opuses 118 and 119. Finishing the concert is the majestic Schumann Fantasy in C, Opus 17.
André Watts (Nov 7): A local appearance by the international superstar pianist who once substituted for an ailing Glenn Gould and performed for Leonard Bernstein after a childhood spent as an army brat with a Hungarian mother and African American father. Scarlatti, Mozart, Ligeti, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, and Beethoven's Apassionata are on the program.
AnDa Union (Nov 8): Seattle debut for these 10 singers and players specializing in traditional Mongolian music. Cool.
DXARTS: An Evening of Electro-Acoustic Music (Nov 14): The Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media traces a line through electro-acoustic musical history.
Modigliani Quartet (Nov 19): The young Paris-based quartet with the same name as the early 20th-century Italian painter of long faces. They'll do Arriaga, Beethoven, and Debussy, mixing it right up.
UW Gospel Choir (Dec 2): We're talking 100 voices. Led by Phyllis Byrdwell.
Silent Night, Joyous Night (Dec 4): Variations on Silent Night in honor of composer Franz Grüber's 150th birthday by UW vocal ensembles (Chamber Singers, University Chorale, Gospel Choir, and more).
1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255, townhallseattle.org
Roomful of Teeth (Sept 19): Vocal octet Roomful of Teeth, founded in 2009, has gone on to win all manner of awards, topped charts, and be called an "unnameable thrill" by Pitchfork. One of its members, Caroline Shaw, was awarded a 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her composition Partita, a piece the group performs. Essentially, if you have any love for the human voice or musical greatness, don't miss this night. It even begins with a free happy hour in which Town Hall music director Joshua Roman will announce the whole 2013–2014 season of music at Town Hall, and discuss the ideas behind the notes.
Early Music Guild presents Musica Transalpina (Oct 12): Seattle Baroque Orchestra is led by guest director and violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock in a program inspired by the passionate vocal style of 17th-century Italian opera, featuring sonatas for solo violin, duos, and trios, and various sonatas for the full ensemble, composed by Castello, Uccellini, Turini, Biber, and Schmelzer.
Enso String Quartet (Nov 6): Puccini, Verdi, and Strauss are beloved opera composers. Seriously beloved. Their music is sweeping and soaring and big, right? True, all true. Except that they also wrote chamber music. String quartets, for instance. Which nobody plays. Enso String Quartet will. The young players are doing an entire program of quartets by opera composers: the vocal and orchestral greats speaking in another language.
Morton Subotnick & Lillevan (Nov 9): This is awesome. Morton Subotnick is an electronic-music legend, the co-developer of the original Buchla synthesizer, and the writer of the 1967 classic Silver Apples of the Moon. Berlin-based video artist Lillevan is cofounder of the visual/audio group Rechenzentrum. Together, in a program called From Silver Apples of the Moon to a Sky of Cloudless Sulphur, they'll span 50 years of Subotnick's experiments, analog to digital and back and forth again, electronica-time collapsing in on itself in loops.
Early Music Guild presents Lucidarium (Nov 16): The Italian medieval and Renaissance ensemble Lucidarium is doing an entire concert of Jewish traditions—"party music" celebrating life. This means recorders, pipe and tabor, dulcian, lute, colascione, viola da mano, percussion, hammer dulcimer, and Renaissance guitar. It's una festa Ebraica.
710 E Roy St, 726-5151, cornish.edu
Mid-Day Music: Paul Taub (Sept 26): Henry Dreyfuss Brant was a Canadian-born American composer who lived from 1913 to 2008 and wrote many excellent pieces of "spatialized" music, but prior to those, he also wrote one wild composition for an ensemble of 11 flutes. It's called Angels and Devils (1932), and the remarkable Seattle flutist Paul Taub will lead a performance of it at Cornish for this lunchtime concert. No other lunch will be like this one.
What Would Alice Say? (Nov 14): This is not about Alice, the troubled teenager from the 1971 book and the Jefferson Airplane lyrics, but rather Alice of Wonderland. Featuring soprano Natalie Lerch, baritone Robert Wade, and pianist Guinevere Saenger.
Maria Kaisla (Nov 24): A solo piano recital of works by Sibelius and others from the Finlandia Foundation National's Performer of the Year 2013.
Bach-Gamel (Dec 8): Gamelan and baroque music come together? That's how Cornish describes this listing, which sounds potentially neat.
1316 Third Ave W, 726-6088, galleryconcerts.org
The Three Cellists Play Bach (Nov 2–3): Cellists Meg Brennand, Page Smith, and Nathan Whittaker present for you all six of Bach's Cello Suites, one through three on Saturday and four through six on Sunday. A work for three cellos by Boccherini closes each program.
A Baroque Christmas with Ellen Hargis (Nov 30–Dec 1): Hargis, "one of baroque music's most renowned sopranos," performs arias and traditional carols from France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, accompanied by violin, viola da gamba, and harpsichord.
Venues vary, 935-7779, theesoterics.org
AEONIA (Sept 20–22): Over and above their artistic achievement, the Esoterics have always devoted themselves to social justice; a part of the proceeds from this concert will be donated to Beyond the Bridge, a local foundation that supports LGBTQ youth at risk of suicide. One of the compositions is based on verses by Dan-Eric Slocum, a friend of the Esoterics who took his own life in February 2012. Slocum was a local journalist (at KOMO News) and poet, and published in a blog called The Eternity Door; Esoterics founding director Eric Banks posthumously formed his writings into a 20-minute stream-of-consciousness meditation for double chorus a cappella. Joining this piece on the program are recent compositions by the group's composer-in-residence, Donald Skirvin, and the three winners of the group's annual choral composition competition: Stephen Feigenbaum, Joseph Gregorio, and Iman Habibi. (Open dress rehearsal with composers at 7 pm Sept 20 at Queen Anne Christian Church, 1316 Third Ave W; concerts at 8 pm Sept 21 at St. Joseph Church, 732 18th Ave E and 2 pm Sept 22 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 4142 42nd Ave SW)
PROFANA (Nov 22–24): In November and December, the Esoterics will perform two separate centennial concerts around the music of Benjamin Britten. The first will include every single one of Britten's secular choral works, and the second (Dec 6–8) will include every single one of his sacred works. So far, the roster for these concerts includes 64 singers in three separate ensembles. (Details TBA, check website)
Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, flyinghouse.org
Hallows in the Cathedral (Oct 18–19, 25–26): Seattle Women's Chorus is taking advantage of the echoing halls of the cathedral for a spooky concert with an "eclectic mix of music and creative staging."
Benaroya Hall, flyinghouse.org
Play It Again, Santa (Nov 30–Dec 1, 8–9, 15–16, 22): Starring Tony Award winner Levi Kreis, Seattle Men's Chorus kicks off the holiday season Thanksgiving weekend with favorite tunes and new songs. Cheeseball never felt so good.
Steve Peters's Lições dos Antepassados (Lessons from the Ancestors) (Sept 20–Nov 8, Jack Straw New Media Gallery, jackstraw.org): In 2011, in a chapel in Portugal (specifically, the Capela de Nossa Senhora de Conceção in Nodar), Steve Peters created a sound installation involving chapel bells, spoken names of the region's human ancestors, spoken common names of local flora and fauna, and sung Latin names of the same natural organic life. This reworked presentation brings the chapel to Seattle. Incidentally, Peters is also the mastermind behind the excellently independent Nonsequitur new-music series at Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford. He is quietly responsible for a whole lot of good. (Artist talk at Jack Straw Oct 18.)
Broken Bow Ensemble Presents Mer (Sept 21 and 26, Rainier Valley Cultural Center and Chapel Performance Space, johnteskemusic.com): John Teske is a tremendously interesting human you should start watching this minute. He listens for natural rhythms and follows them. Otherwise he's pretty unlimited. He writes for all kinds of instruments, including a bicycle-powered synthesizer, and himself is a double bass player. (In the summer months, he performs by carting his bass around behind his bicycle in a custom-made trailer. He also happens to run sound and visuals for the Frye Art Museum on the side.) This past year, we saw his work at the ONN/OF Festival, where he and Nat Evans set up the transporting (truly, it was) Space Weather Listening Booth, inspired by the northern lights. Now, the ensemble Teske founded, Broken Bow Ensemble, with 26 strings and woodwinds, will present his new, 40-minute composition guided by local tide data, called Mer.
Seattle Classical Guitar Society: Andrew York (Sept 28 at Benaroya Hall, Sept 29 at Brechemin Auditorium at UW, music.washington.edu): Acclaimed classical guitarist York performs a concert, then the next day leads a guitar master class with students of Michael Partington at UW. (Master classes can be fun to watch if you're curious about the instrument, or about the forms that musical mentorship takes, even if you don't play yourself.)
French Organ Festival (Oct 9–11, St. James Cathedral and Kane Hall, music.washington.edu): John-Baptiste Robin, organist at Versailles (!), leads two master classes with UW music students and performs a concert of French organ music in this three-day festival.
Seattle Sings (Oct 11–12, Saint Mark's Cathedral, seattlesings.org): The Greater Seattle Choral Consortium is having its first-ever choral festival: two days, 27 local ensembles, and original works by four Northwest composers. All inside Saint Mark's Cathedral, which has such great acoustics, it'd be worth hearing dogs bark there. Admission, unthinkably, is free. If you don't go, you may be unwell.
Vashon Chamber Music (Oct 18 and Nov 8, Vashon Allied Arts, vashonalliedarts.org): The first two concerts of the annual chamber music series, which puts sparkling talent right next to you in the intimate environment of Vashon Allied Arts, feature the music of Beethoven, Brahms, and Prokofiev (Oct 18), and Mozart and Rachmaninoff (Nov 8).
Halloween Organ Concert (Oct 26, Kane Hall, music.washington.edu): Because who doesn't want to hear Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor at Halloween? Featuring students of UW organ faculty member Carole Terry.
Seattle Classical Guitar Society: The Katona Twins (Nov 9 at Benaroya Hall, Nov 10 at Brechemin Auditorium at UW, music.washington.edu): The Hungarian duo performs one night, then leads a master class for students the next day.
Simple Measures Cello Divas II (Nov 15 at Town Hall, Nov 17 at Mount Baker Community Club, simplemeasures.org): Matt Haimovitz is the cellist who made his name playing in bars and clubs rather than hoity-toity concert halls (although he's played in plenty of those, too). He'll play anywhere, basically, and he is terrific. He's a perfect match with the Seattle group Simple Measures, whose motto is "Chamber Music 98% Hoity-Toity Free," and this is his second time on their bill. This time, in Simple Measures' second concert of works for all cellos, Haimovitz will perform his classic, solo Bach, while the ensemble will play everything from Apocalyptica (a four-cello heavy metal band from Finland) to Martinu (the early 20th-century Czech composer).
Kronos Quartet with Degenerate Art Ensemble (Nov 16 at Neptune Theatre, stgpresents.org): WOW! It's hard to say who's luckier—Seattle's Degenerate Art Ensemble or Kronos Quartet, one of the world's best and most interesting string quartets, based in San Francisco. Both groups are adventurous as fuck, and this is their first time collaborating. The occasion is the 40th anniversary of the Kronos. The Kronos will do a program that includes their very first commission, for which they paid the composer a bag of doughnuts in 1973: Ken Benshoof's Traveling Music. The Degenerate Art Ensemble's 2012 composition Predator's Songstress: Warrior is described by DAE: "The work is part of a larger series of portraits of anti-heroines. Re-imagining the historical figure of Joan of Arc as a fictional tale of indigenous rebellion in our contemporary time Predator's Songstress: Warrior makes 'real' the overthrow of a colonizing force by a single woman. …A solo dancer, visceral voice, a string quartet, white chalk, and an installation of a square of fluorescent bulbs transform the space into ritual ground." GO.
Circle of Friends: Music of Brahms, Schumann, and Mendelssohn (Dec 1, Brechemin Auditorium at UW, music.washington.edu): Circle of Friends! No, not the early Minnie Driver movie, in which she still has flesh on her bones. Rather, this concert pertains to the close friendships of Clara and Robert Schumann, Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, and Johannes Brahms "constitute one of the most remarkable orbits of interactions in musical history," and UW piano professor Robin McCabe hosts a personal tour through them, with performance, commentary, and narration. If Minnie Driver wants to attend, she is welcome.
Cultural Crossroads (Dec 8, Brechemin Auditorium at UW, music.washington.edu): A concert featuring legendary American composers and artists with Lithuanian heritage (from Copland to Philip Glass to Heifetz-Gershwin), led by UW faculty artist Dainius Vaicekonis and his wife, Asta.