As much as I gripe about the perpetually played warhorses of classical music, some noble steeds still warm my saddle. This week, three of 'em gallop with the SSO: Beethoven's Violin Concerto with charismatic violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky, and two by Brahms: the Academic Festival Overture and the Symphony No. 4. Also Fri Jun 13 and Sat Jun 14 at 8 pm, as well as Sun Jun 15 at 2 pm--but without the Brahms overture. Benaroya Hall, Third Ave and Union St, 215-4747, 7:30 pm, $11-$75.


One disadvantage of helping your fellow composers is that your own music rarely gets heard, so it's about time that Christopher Shainin, co-honcho of the Seattle Creative Orchestra and director of the Washington Composers Forum, should have a concert of his own music. Conductor Gerhard Samuel leads the Contemporary Chamber Composers and Players in Skeptical Psalms, a setting of Robert McNamara's poetry for tenor Stephen Rumph, and Native Country, a setting of Sati Mookherjee's poetry sung by soprano Hope Wechkin. Excerpts from an opera adapted from Aristophanes' The Birds round out the concert. Shainin has a predilection for imaginative instrumentation so keep your ears open for the ud (Turkish lute), ney (Turkish flute), koto (Japanese zither), and shamisen (Japanese lute). Recital Hall at Benaroya, Third Ave and Union St, 292-2787, 8 pm, $10/$15.



I've been going to a lot of choral concerts recently and this group still stands out for its adventurous programming and topnotch singing. Indeed, this a cappella ensemble performs music you'll quite likely never hear again, including Prière by the Dutch composer Ton de Leeuw, Ildebrando Pizzetti's Tre composizioni corali, as well as a vivid dream of Jacob's ladder, Hypostasis, by the German composer Heinrich Poos. Also Sun Jun 15 at Holy Rosary Church in West Seattle at 3 pm. St Joseph's Church, 732 18th Ave E, 935-7779, 8 pm, $15-$20.



Subtitled "The Trombones," this concert assembles three of the most adventurous improvising trombonists around, Stuart Dempster, Michael Vlatkovich, and Greg Powers. Best known for his entrancing and playful approach to the trombone and didjeridoo, Dempster is rightly renowned as a pioneer in extended trombone techniques and ambient music. Powers has been active in the Seattle new music scene since the 1980s; his duo gig with Dempster a few years ago at the Evergreen State College library deeply moved me. Vlatkovich, a longtime presence on the West Coast free improv scene, is rarely heard in Seattle--another reason why this gig is a must. CoCA, 1420 11th Ave, 728-1980, 4 pm, $8 suggested donation.


In town to celebrate the release of his CD Brainstun (Present Sounds), composer, improviser, and former Seattleite Christian Asplund performs music for viola, harmonium, and electronics. Joining him are Greg Campbell (percussion and horn) and fretless guitarist Tom Baker. Polestar Music Gallery, 1412 18th Ave at E Union St, 329-4224, 8 pm, $7.

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