Find a complete list of classical concerts in Seattle this winter on our Things To Do calendar, or check out our other picks for the best things to do in Seattle this winter from Seattle Art and Performance.
The "unerringly sophisticated" pianist Jonathan Biss will perform his own patented program known as "The Late Style," which explores the late works of Beethoven, Brahms, and Kurtag.
J.S. Bach's Christmas Magnificat
Originally written for Christmas Vespers in 1723, this rousing performance of the original version of J.S. Bach's Magnificat in E flat major will illuminate vignettes of the Nativity story. Conductor Alexander Weimann will lead the Northwest Baroque Masterworks ensemble, including five soloists, a full baroque orchestra, three trumpeters, and a timpani in song.
A Candlelight Christmas
Musician Andre Feriante presents an evening of holiday magic and wonder, with performances of early Christmas classics, a retelling of the Christmas story, and a blend of traditional songs presented as trios, duos, and solos with vocals, piano, and Andre's variety of stringed instruments, including his classical harp guitar.
Icicle Creek Center for the Arts
Sunnier, Rainier: A String Quartet for Seattle
Presented by the Serendipity Quartet, this world premiere of Adam Stern's newest string quartet, "Crossroads," explores the natural setting of Seattle with an objective musical portrait of the city, as well as performances of two audience favorites: Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 and Dvoák's String Quartet No. 12.
The Pageant of the Nativity: A Celtic Telling
Join together with the Choir School choristers, Cathedral Evensong Choir, and children's choir of Saint Mark's Cathedral in their dramatic retelling of the Nativity story, replete with costumed finery, visual art among the cathedral architecture, and over 50 choristers with Celtic fiddle and harp arrangements.
St. Mark's Cathedral
Enjoy the four violin concertos of Vivaldi's Four Seasons during a special edition of "Untuxed," a low-key, no-intermission way to enjoy the Seattle Symphony without worrying about what the bourgeoisie will think of your hat and tails.
Beethoven Symphony No. 9
Seattle Symphony conductor Ludovic Morlot kicks the New Year off right with "Ode to Joy," from Beethoven's masterwork Symphony No. 9, with additional music by France's colorful mystic Messiaen.
A Celebration of the Chinese New Year
Welcome the Year of the Rooster with Mae Lin of the Seattle Symphony as they perform the "Butterfly Lovers" Violin Concerto, a piece "based on an eastern story about star-crossed lovers and inspired by Chinese folk music." Resonance's classical programming director, Julia Tai, will also be present, singing traditional Chinese songs.
Resonance at SOMA Towers
The Music of David Bowie with the Seattle Symphony
Well. You will either love or hate this if you are a David Bowie fan. The beauty of any Bowie tribute is that his music is fantastic. The problem of any Bowie tribute is that an orchestra is not made of David Bowie. Even an orchestra with a rock band. Still, we just felt you should know that this is happening so that you can swim at your own risk. The guest conductor is Brent Havens, a TV/film gentleman who is arranger/guest conductor for 14 symphonic rock programs, including the Music of Led Zeppelin, the Music of the Doors, the Music of Pink Floyd, the Music of the Eagles, the Music of Queen, the Music of Michael Jackson, the Music of The Who, The Music of Whitney Houston, the Music of The Rolling Stones, the Music of U2, the Music of Journey, the Music of Elton John, the Music of David Bowie, and the Music of Prince! JG
Giuseppe Verdi's classic tale of a courtesan who finds love gets the full stage treatment this season with the Seattle Opera. This production will be performed in the original Italian, with English subtitles.
Enjoy the endless current of melody that is the Fifth Symphony of Schubert during a special edition of "Untuxed," a low-key, no-intermission way to enjoy the Seattle Symphony without worrying about what the bourgeoisie will think of your hat and tails.
At the latest installment of the incredibly popular (and wonderful) late-night, lie-on-the-floor-if-you-want-to concert experience from Seattle Symphony's most risk-taking players, you'll hear a few of the options chosen by composers working within the Soviet system of rule, which had its own ideas about what kind of music was allowed, was best, was loyal. (Maybe we will be receiving messages like this from our own government soon, so listen up.) The program features three takes from during and after the Cold War: Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky's Récit de Voyage, described as mystical minimalism; Galina Ustvolskaya's Octet for 4 violins, 2 oboes, timpani and piano, titled "The Lady With the Hammer" ("alternately fascinating and alarming"); and Pavel Karmanov's The City I Love and Hate, a piano sextet he wrote in 2012. JG
Jan 27-Feb 4
Those Who Remain: After Hours
The installation of Those Who Remain: Concerto for Installation and Improviser—on view during museum hours at Seattle's Asian Art Museum—will be animated by four separate performances, each with different artists and musicians: Wayne Horvitz on keyboards, Skerik on saxophone, Beth Fleenor on clarinet, and Yukio Suzuki as lead dancer on January 2; Stuart Dempster on trombone, Greg Campbell on percussion, and Suzuki on January 31; violinist Alex Guy, trumpeter Ray Larson, and Suzuki on February 3; and Ivan Arteaga on saxophone, Peggy Lee on cello, and Suzuki on February 4. The piece was created by Seattle's Horvitz with the Japan-based artists Suzuki (dancer/choreographer) and video artist/VJ Yohei Saito. JG
Asian Art Museum
Side-by-Side Concert with Roosevelt High School Symphony Orchestra
Side-by-Side concerts pair the Seattle Symphony with another musical group for a session of classical jams and witnessing masterworks together. This session features the Roosevelt High School Symphony Orchestra performing a Gershwin favorite, An American In Paris, with Seattle Symphony Young Artist Andrew Angelos in a performance of Dukas' Villanelle for Horn and Orchestra.
Seattle Baroque Orchestra: Le Mozart Noir
Often referred to as the first classical composer of African origins, Joseph Boulogne gained the title in Paris, where he rose to lead the most exciting orchestras in the 18th century, as "Le Mozart Noir. The Chevalier de Saint-Georges was born on the island of Guadeloupe, the son of a Senegalese slave and a French colonialist. He overcame massive prejudice to become an influential marker of the era's musical traditions. Seattle Baroque Orchestra will resuscitate his inspiring memory again with several of his violin concertos, alongside orchestral works by Mozart and one of Haydn's Paris Symphonies. JG
Seattle Music Exchange Project
Acclaimed pianist Angelo Rondello hosts the opening of Seattle Music Exchange Program's inaugural season of programming, which highlights composers of Seattle and its sister cities in an effort to bring local music to audiences at home and abroad through broadcasting concerts, artist residencies, and educational programs. Rondello will perform works by Seattle composers Samuel Jones, Peter Vukmirovic Stevens, Angelique Poteat, Adam Haws, and Benjamin Salman, in addition to leading the audience on a musical tour of Seattle's sister cities in Japan, Italy, Norway, and Hungary.
UW artist-in-residence Cristina Valdés performs modern and contemporary music, including works by UW faculty Richard Karpen (Program Notes) and Joël-François Durand (Tombeau de Rameau). The other pieces are Petites esquisses d'oiseaux, by Olivier Messiaen, and Shimmer, Tree/In Memoriam Jonathan Harvey, by Kotoka Suzuki.
UW Meany Theatre
Hilary Hahn in Recital
Hilary Hahn may only be 34, but she has already garnered many awards of renown, and has been an international violin sensation for years. On this tour stop, she performs selections from Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony to Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1.
Early Music Underground: Baroque 'n' Hearts
The Early Music Underground House Band with acclaimed soprano Linda Tsatsanis will host the third annual tribute to "love gone wild, love gone wrong, love gone mad, and love just plain gone," with selections from composers Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Purcell, Strozzi, and Koczwara.
Resonance at SOMA Towers (Feb 11); Northwest Cellars (Feb 12); Naked City Brewery & Taphouse (Feb 14)
Byron Schenkman & Friends: Russians & Jews
Renowned harpsichordist and Klezmer music scholar Byron Schenkman helms the piano for a session of music by composers associated with the Russian Society for Jewish Folk Music, as well as Glinka and Prokofiev.
Cornish Presents: Jesse Myers
Cornish presents local pianist Jesse Myers in a program that focuses on John Cage's masterworks for the prepared piano, as Cornish proudly acknowledges itself as the birthplace of the prepared piano in 1940, thereby ushering in a monumental transformation of traditional sound into a complex percussive orchestra. Prepared piano is known for its alternative physical additions to piano strings, like metal screws, that alter the piano's traditional sound for a more expressive percussion lilt.
PONCHO Concert Hall
Faculty Recital: Cyndia Sieden and Rhonda Kline
Soprano Cyndia Sieden has received a lifelong deluge of praise for her Mozart and Strauss interpretations, as well as her roles in modern works like Morton Feldman's Neither. Rhonda Kline, her colleague at UW, will accompany Sieden's art songs and arias on piano.
Feb 25-March 11
In this opera of romantic tragedy full of original music inspired by Slavic folk songs, celebrated Czech composer Leoš Janácek weaves a story of isolation, provincial oppression, true love, and familial dysfunction. It is relatively rare to come across a full production of Janácek's opera, which NPR described as having one of the most subtle of all villains: "In his dark drama Katya Kabanova, Leos Janácek gives us one of the most unusual and contemptible villains in any opera, and one of the most disturbing, as well: the sort of person who can live among us, quietly and without anyone objecting. She's a little old lady, a respected citizen and the mother of a grown son. She also thinks that her own way of judging what's moral, and what's not, is the only way—and that anyone who disagrees, even those closest to her, must pay a terrible price. And the people around her? They look the other way. They can't condemn her intolerance without re-examining their own." Just thinking about her gives me chills. This is a rare treat, and a dive into respectability politics (oh, so relevant). It's an all-new production by Australian director Patrick Nolan. JG
Guest Artist Master Class: Stephen Drury
Nobody knows about master classes. They're some of the most fascinating events in classical music. You get to see a lesson, basically. The nervous students. The master, maybe a horror, maybe a gentleman. Taking the pieces apart, talking them through, working it out so that you can hear the tiny differences from one playing to the next moments. You should check one of these out, and this is a good one: Watch as UW music students play with guidance from pianist Stephen Drury, a frequent past collaborator with preeminent modern composers like John Cage, Gyorgy Ligeti, Steve Reich, Olivier Messiaen, John Zorn, and many others. JG
I went with a friend one Sunday to the Compline Service at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral—admittedly a little stoned—and lay out on a blanket near the altar (a surprising but common practice among regulars) and looked up at the spare concrete walls. At precisely 9:30 p.m. the all-male chorus shuffled into the room quietly, their robes ruffling behind them, and opened their books and began to sing. In that moment I discovered the singular pleasure of imagining the sound waves of interwoven human voices soaring up the timber pillars that support the church's vaulted ceilings and bouncing around the reredos and the rose window as all that glass blushed pink, then orange, and then dark blue as the sun sank behind the Olympics. RICH SMITH
St. Mark's Cathedral