Who is Seattle's greatest symphonist? The usual suspect is Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000), who wrote so many symphonies that such assessments are based on quantity, not quality. Visiting conductor Robert Minczuk leads the SSO in Hovhaness' big hit, the striking Symphony No. 2 "Mysterious Mountain" along with Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Beethoven's Symphony No. 6. Also Fri Sept 26 at 1 pm, Sat Sept 27 at 8 pm, and Sun Sept 28 at 2 pm. Benaroya Hall, Third Ave and Union St, 215-4747, 7:30 pm, $12-$80.
Several years ago I asked Orchestra Seattle conductor and KING-FM personality George Shangrow why KING-FM doesn't play any challenging contemporary classical music. I had the chutzpah right then and there to offer my services as a radio host ("We could start with Stockhausen's Hymnen or some Luigi Nono!"). Instead of looking at me like I was insane, he told me, "I've been wanting to do that for years." I hope that's still the case. Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers mount Haydn's great oratorio, The Creation. Meany Theater, UW Campus, 682-5208, 7:30 pm, $14-$25.
MONKTAIL CREATIVE MUSIC CONCERN
For free jazz in both senses of the word, look no further. The sonically scabrous, erotic, entrancing, and baffling Monktailers continue their weekly residence at the charming corridor known as Coffee Messiah. Coffee Messiah, 1554 E Olive Way, 861-8233, 8 pm, free.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 26
SEATTLE COMPOSERS SALON
A monthly, informal presentation of new music by Seattle composers, the Salon features finished works, previews, and works in progress. Emcee Tom Baker has corralled himself and fellow composers and sound artists Lyn Goeringer, Jay Hamilton, Michael Nicolella, and Donald Skirvin. The pieces are scored for all manner of instruments, including oboe and theremin, fretless electric guitar, violin and piano, and tape alone. Soundbridge at Benaroya Hall, Second Ave and Union St, 215-4747, 8 pm, $5.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28
LADIES MUSICAL CLUB
The LMC discarded their snooty pillbox hats long ago, opting instead to present free and low-cost concerts. Soprano Anna Carolyn Bird sings songs and arias by Rorem, Poulenc, Bellini, Rachmaninoff, and the almost-forgotten Victor Herbert. Violist Mara Lise Gearman plunges into works by J. S. Bach, Manuel de Falla, and Brahms. Frye Art Museum, corner of Cherry St and Terry Ave, 622-6882, 2 pm, free.
QUIET MUSIC CULTIVATION
Sonic sorcerer Matt Shoemaker is heard all too rarely these days and certainly merits a trip to the City of Destiny. Shoemaker improvises with striated location recordings and perpetually evaporating found sounds. Opening the show is James R. Cobb III, a composer who also works with subdued electronics. The Abbey Ballroom, 1901 S Fawcett St, Tacoma, 253-572-5424, 6 pm, $5.
3 MUCH FUN
I love drummers, but sometimes drummerless jazz can propel the players into new rhythmic territory. Trumpeter Jim Knodle, clarinetist Perry Robinson, and trombonist Marc Smason bring their fun all-wind group to Pioneer Square. New Orleans Restaurant, 114 First Ave S, 622-2563, 7 pm, free.