Commissioned by the Seattle Opera, An American Dream is inspired by true recollections of regional history. Set during World War II, the opera focuses on the lives of two Puget Sound women: A Japanese American forced to leave her home, and a German Jewish immigrant preoccupied by the memories of the people she left behind.
Washington Hall, $45
Comprising members of the Seattle Symphony and the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestras, as well as other talented local musicians, the Novus Project is a consortium that aims to celebrate the centennial of Finland's independence with a concert that will focus on works by Finnish composers, including the vocal and instrumental music of Jean Sibelius.
Nordic Heritage Museum, 4 pm, $20
The Seattle Symphony will take on the cultural phenomenon that is Star Trek with a performance of Star Trek Beyond, in a chance for the audience to relive the magic of the film in high definition on a giant screen amid its unforgettable score.
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $45-$120
Sept 21, 23, & 24
Mahler is the true test of any symphony, and Resurrection especially requires lots of strength and agility. You'll walk out of Benaroya Hall feeling like a skyscraper after this dense showstopper. For all its drama, there's a spot of pastoral gold a little over 65 minutes into the piece where I just want to lie down and live forever. RS
UW School of Music Percussion Studies Chair Bonnie Whiting will collaborate with Norwegian percussionist Jennifer Torrence within this program of world premieres of music for speaking and singing percussionists.
Meany Hall, 7:30 pm, $20
The Seattle Symphony will perform the work of legendary composer and Hollywood score master John Williams, including well-known pieces from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Jaws, Schindler's List, and many more, all conducted by the composer himself.
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm
Oct 5 & 7
Composer Edward Elgar finally achieved fame and recognition from his pieces performed in this program, which were widely considered as individual feats of English symphonic literature. The pieces act as a series of intimate musical portraits of Elgar's friends and lovers. There will also be supplementary performances of Brahms' Tragic Overture and Bartók's First Piano Concerto.
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm
Elgar's classic Enigma Variations is thoughtful, mysterious, and powerful, but it can come off kinda stately sometimes, and so it will benefit from the "Untuxed" treatment. During these special symphony performances, the musicians trade their fancy tuxes and dresses for jeans, and the program is cut to just the main serving. It's a perfect way to unwind and bliss out after a long Friday. RS
Benaroya Hall, 7 pm
Iconic Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi has topped the classical charts in 42 countries and recently released an album called Elements.
Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $32.50-$94
I understand that medieval French motets written for the Avignon Papacy isn't everybody's thing, but if you want to feel the ancient pull of eternal mysteries at the very edges of your soul, you'll check out early music ensemble Diabolus in Musica. They're just a small group of guys who sing like extremely old monks, but the music is mesmerizing. RS
St. James Cathedral, 8 pm, $20-$40
Rossini's classically humorous and high-energy opera The Barber of Seville, known as the prequel to Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, will be given a slightly modernized tweak by Seattle Opera. It will of course still be in Italian with English subtitles.
McCaw Hall, $25-$328
Renowned classical musician and klezmer music scholar Byron Schenkman will helm this evening dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach, with a special guest performance by 2012 Westfield International Harpsichord Competition champion Ignacio Prego, and support from baroque string players from Seattle and Portland.
Benaroya Hall, 7 pm, $10-$42
Follow along with photographer Florian Schulz as he takes the audience and the Seattle Symphony on a story evolution of his global journeying across the mostly untracked wilds of the deep Arctic.
The University of Washington School of Music and DXARTS — Center for Digital Art and Experimental Media have partnered once again to co-sponsor Music of Today, a series that showcases the innovative new works and contemporary classics composed and initiated by faculty members and guest composers. This evening will focus on the experimental instrumental work of four musicians from four different continents, performing on viola, guitar, trumpet, bass, keys, percussion, and live electronics.
Meany Hall, 7:30 pm, $15
Oct 26 & 29
Shostakovich has always been important, but his music—which endured quite a few lashings from Pravda—takes on more significance in an America ruled by bumbling proto-fascists. The 10th Symphony was performed shortly after Stalin's death, and it seems to be infused with the dread and the darkness and the occasionally extreme IDGAF-edness felt by those who live under the boot of authoritarian regimes. Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 will provide a sprightly counterpoint, especially in the hands of the very young and very talented Italian pianist, Beatrice Rana. RS
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm
As the 33nd Annual Concert in the "East Meets West" series, At First Light: Chinese Music in the Year of the Rooster is a showcase of Chinese acoustic selections with a twist. This production combines favored orchestrations from China with beloved Western pieces, all of which are played on traditional instruments hailing from both cultures.
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $20-$30
Nov 2 & 4–5
Every time I conduct an interview with Seattle Symphony music director Ludovic Morlot—no matter what it's about—he always mentions French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz as an obsession and influence. (Well, him and Messiaen.) Anyhow, Morlot's at his best as a conductor when he's swimming around in the colorful Frenchy music he truly loves, and Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique and Les nuits d'été fit that bill. The former piece is a canonical experiment in symphonic psychedelia, and the latter alternates between a heart-melting nocturne and a dramatic soul-scream. Joining the symphony for Les nuits is the English tenor Ian Bostridge, whose ghostly and theatrical style is perfect for the part. RS
Music of Remembrance hosts regular concerts that pay tribute to those touched by the tragedies of the Holocaust. This show will feature new commissions about Japanese and Japanese American experiences with Hiroshima and Nagasaki by composers Ryuichi Sakamoto, Keiko Fujiie, and Christophe Chagnard. The program will also feature chamber music works based on concentration camp experiences, presented by guest artist Robert Orth, actress Naho Shioya, and musicians from the Seattle Symphony.
Benaroya Hall, 7 pm
Nov 9 & 11
The work of composer Hector Berlioz, known for its strange and surreal explorations of the universe, will be revisited by the Seattle Symphony in a performance of his Requiem, which ventures into the realm of celestial spirituality.
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm
The Seattle Symphony will perform pieces by Ravel, Schubert, and Poulenc, with an emphasis on the seemingly effortless beauty of a selection of chamber music that tied together several generations of prominent French artists.
Benaroya Hall, 8 pm
The Seattle Symphony will take on the cultural phenomenon with a performance of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, providing the audience with a chance to relive the magic of the film in high-definition on a giant screen amid John Williams's unforgettable score.
Benaroya Hall, $50-$253
Heavily lauded Finnish choral director Timo Nuoranne will return to St. James to direct a program of sacred Nordic works from the Euro-Arctic countries of Finland, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
St. James Cathedral, 8 pm, $22-$49
Few things in life surpass the pleasure of witnessing an exalted tabla player, and tonight Seattle is blessed by world-class Indian musician Zakir Hussain. The son of tabla great Alla Rakha, Hussain has caressed the small Indian drums with Shakti, Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart, and Diga Rhythm Band. His byzantine structures and chakra-aligning tonalities intertwine in cosmic synchronicity and proceed with quicksilver fluidity. Prepare to spend most of the night with your mouth agape as your mind reels to one of the most enchanting instruments humanity has ever conceived. DAVE SEGAL
Meany Hall, 7:30 pm, $35
Korean contemporary classical musician Yiruma will be making his Seattle debut with this program, combining melodious Korean compositions with earthly inspirations.
Benaroya Hall, 8 pm, $65.50-$195
Nov 30–Dec 2
Rachmaninov's third piano concerto sounds like an energizing afternoon in the city, the kind where you do a lot of fun errands and accidentally fall in the love with the person buying oranges at the market. The piano runs around insanely throughout the piece, but soloist Kirill Gerstein is well suited to the challenge. The New York Times calls him "one of the most respected pianists of his generation," and he's known for his fascinating interpretations of Russian masters. RS
If the fact that Baroque revivalist and Bach expert Jeremy Denk is a recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant isn't enough to make you want to go to this, then take the word of the New York Times: "Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear, no matter what he performs."
Benaroya Hall, 2 pm, $25-$123