Georg Philipp Telemann - Orchestral Suite in F minor, TWV 55:f1
Ernest Bloch (arr. Aasgaard) From Jewish Life: Prayer
Georges Bizet The Pearl Fishers: Au fond du temple saint
Walter Piston Symphony No.4
Django Reinhardt (arr. Project Trio) Fluer d'Ennui & Douce Ambiance

The Classical Notebook

Classical KING FM announcers and featured musicians share their thoughts on local concerts, seasonal music and evergreen classical favorites.
by Melinda Bargreen posted Oct 1 2015 9:46AM
The glorious month of October stretches before us – particularly glorious this year for fans of the keyboard. Downtown at Benaroya Hall, and at the University of Washington's Meany Theater, the event lineup for the coming month is an ivory fancier's dream.

And not only the ivories: harpsichordists are well represented, too.

Here are some of the highlights:

First, an October 1 warmup for the Seattle Baroque Orchestra's new music director Alexander Weimann, in an on-air season preview prior to their October 3 season-opener (in Town Hall). The preview is hosted by Classical KING-FM's Sean MacLean (at 8 p.m. Oct. 1). To catch a foretaste of Weimann's playing, check out this remarkable video of his improvised passacaglia in D minor in the Classical KING FM studios:

October 11: Lang Lang with the Seattle Symphony, in not one but two piano concerti. He'll play the ever-popular Grieg Concerto along with Mozart's lovely, dark Concerto No. 24 in C Minor. Guest maestro Jakub Hrusa is on the podium for this eagerly awaited program, which also offers Beethoven's "Coriolan" Overture, and selections from Respighi's twittery "The Birds."

October 12: András Schiff recital in Benaroya Hall. The eminent Hungarian-born master brings a program of "Last Sonatas" to the stage, featuring the final sonata statements of Haydn (No. 62), Beethoven (Op. 111), Mozart (K.576) and Schubert (D.960). Here's where the keyboard cognoscenti will be hanging out.

October 16-18: And now for something completely different: Jon Nakamatsu, playing Gershwin's beloved "Rhapsody in Blue" at three Seattle Symphony Pops concerts (Jeff Tyzik conducting). A Cliburn Competition gold medalist in 1997, this American pianist has great fingers and a lot of charisma.

October 20: Over at Meany Theater, the President's Piano Series opens with a recital by the highly regarded young artist Jonathan Biss, a thoughtful and award-winning pianist who is working his way through recording all 32 Beethoven sonatas. The Meany recital offers no Beethoven, but two Mozart sonatas (K.457 and K.533/494), plus Schoenberg's "Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke" and the beloved "Kreisleriana" of Schumann.

October 22, 25, 27: Pianist Alexander Melnikov, a Russian-born prizewinner and protégé of Sviatoslav Richter, joins the Seattle Symphony and music director Ludovic Morlot in two Benaroya Hall mainstage concerts (playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1), and also plays a chamber concert with orchestral musicians in the smaller Nordstrom Recital Hall (Oct. 27).

November 1: The harpsichordist Byron Schenkman and his musical friends will devote a program to Telemann's "Paris" Quartets, featuring flutist Joshua Romatowski, violinist Ingrid Matthews, and bass violist Elisabeth Reed alongside Schenkman in the Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall.

November 8: Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the French pianist who is in residence this season at the Seattle Symphony, plays a solo recital of Ravel ("Pavane pour une infant defunte" and "Miroirs"), plus Schumann (Piano Sonata No. 1 and the "Kinderszenen"). After Thibaudet's dazzling performance of Saint-Saens in the SSO's opening-night gala concert, expectations will be high for this Benaroya Hall mainstage recital.
by Melinda Bargreen posted Sep 14 2015 8:47AM
Seattle has always been a keyboard town – home to hordes of ivory fans, who are a critical and appreciative audience at the President’s Piano Series, and who head for Benaroya Hall whenever there’s a piano soloist at the Symphony.

Now there’s a new keyboard game in town: The Seattle Symphony’s first-ever International Piano Competition, going on right now at Benaroya Hall. The recital and semifinal rounds of this competition have just taken place, and at 7 p.m. September 18, the competition’s final round unfolds on the Benaroya mainstage.

The jury is headed by the well-known pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet (in residence this season at the Seattle Symphony), and it also includes SSO music director Ludovic Morlot, Seattle Symphony principal cellist Efe Baltacıgil, Monica Felkel of Young Concert Artists, Washington Performing Arts director of programming Samantha Pollack, First Chair Promotion project manager James Egelhofer, and Seattle Symphony president and CEO Simon Woods.

Those critical ears will be listening tomorrow night when the final contestants play either a French or an American concerto with the SSO (Morlot will conduct). Each finalist chooses a concerto from the following list: the Barber, the Copland, the Gershwin (in F), the Poulenc, the Ravel (in G), and the Saint-Saëns No. 2.

At stake are cash prizes (the competition’s first-prize winner gets $10,000), a performance by the winner on the Symphony’s opening-night concert on September 19, and several other performance and development opportunities. The first-prize winner also is advanced to the semifinal round of the 2015 or 2016 Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York (plus receiving travel and housing expenses).

Audience members tomorrow night also get to choose their favorite pianist, who will take home a $1,000 audience-favorite prize.
What an exciting prospect – the thrill of discovery, not on a hyped-up TV talent show, but right before your eyes and ears in Benaroya Hall. And you can be a part of it by voting for your favorite, too. Visit for details and ticket information.
A keyboard of a slightly earlier vintage will be on display later this month, when the opening concert of “Byron Schenkman and Friends” will launch this chamber series September 27 with virtuoso harpsichord concertos by two famous 18th-century composers: Haydn and Handel.

Schenkman, who also has performed and recorded on other members of the keyboard family (from the fortepiano to the modern concert grand), will be joined by violinists Ingrid Matthews and Laurel Wells, violist Jason Fisher, and cellist Nathan Whittaker, for this concert. The program is set for 7 p.m. September 27 at the Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall.
Classical KING FM 98.1 fans may have heard Schenkman’s on-air performance of Schumann lieder last April with the soprano Clara Rottsolk. Here’s a link to this lovely video, in case you missed it:

This series is now in its third season, with four more subsequent programs planned to span a variety of intriguing repertoire – from the notebook of Anna Magdalena Bach to Telemann, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. The ambience is intimate and friendly; the music-making fun to hear and watch as the musicians seem to inspire each other. Well worth a trip downtown (visit
by Melinda Bargreen posted Sep 1 2015 1:00PM
You music lovers know what Labor Day weekend means: cookouts, traffic, and some serious planning for the fall concert season.

Yes, the Seattle Symphony’s Opening Night doesn’t kick things off until September 19th. But tickets to some of the fall concerts are going to go really fast, and it’s time for a serious heads-up on those.

Here are a few don’t-miss evenings that should sell out quickly, for your early consideration. Many of them present some pianists that should be big draws in this keyboard-fancying city:

-- September 19:  Opening Night at the Seattle Symphony will pair music director Ludovic Morlot with this season’s SSO artist in residence, French-born pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. On the program: Saint-Saëns’ final piano concerto, the “Egyptian,” along with some Americana: Copland’s famous “Appalachian Spring,” and Bernstein’s “Wonderful Town” Overture. (Party-going fans can attend a gala formal dinner afterwards, at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.) Thibaudet also appears in recital on November 8.

-- October 11 and 12: The Seattle Symphony has a one-two punch of keyboard giants at Benaroya Hall. On October 11 it’s mega-pianist Lang Lang, who performs two concerti with the Seattle Symphony under the baton of guest maestro Jakub Hr%u016Fša: Mozart’s C Minor Piano Concerto No. 24, and the Grieg Concerto.

And the very next day, the great Andras Schiff comes to Benaroya Hall to play a solo recital with the intriguing title, “The Last Sonatas.” These are the “last keyboard words” of such legendary composers as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. The Hungarian-born pianist may not have the celebrity cachet of Lang Lang, but this multiple Grammy winner is revered for exactly the sort of repertoire he’ll play in his recital here. Hearing the two pianists back to back should make for some fascinating comparisons!

-- Haven’t had enough piano yet? How about the young and highly regarded Jonathan Biss, who visits the President’s Piano Series at Meany Theater on October 20. And what an interesting program: two Mozart Sonatas, Schumann’s tuneful “Kreisleriana,” and Schoenberg’s “Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke.” The series also presents the 2010 winner of the Chopin International Piano Competition, Yulianna Ardeeva, on Dec. 1 – lots of enticing Chopin pieces, plus Prokofiev’s gripping Piano Sonata No. 8.

-- Is it possible that you missed Thomas Dausgaard’s thrilling Sibelius cycle at Seattle Symphony earlier this year? Don’t make that mistake again! The great Danish conductor (principal guest conductor of the SSO) returns November 12-14 for works of his countryman Carl Nielsen, plus the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 performed by Henning Kraggerud. Expect fireworks. And there’s another opportunity to hear Dausgaard on November 19-22, in rare performances of Mahler’s towering, unfinished Symphony No. 10 (completed by the late Deryck Cooke).

-- We know it’s a long way off. But we have three magical syllables for you: “Yo-Yo Ma.” The cello legend and all-around musical genius returns to Meany Theater December 8. They’re already posting “limited ticket availability” on the UW World Series website. Don’t delay.

Four days earlier (December 4) is the farewell concert of the great vocal quartet Anonymous 4, beloved to audiences for nearly three decades. Meany Theater should be the ideal setting for these terrific singers, who will perform ancient, traditional and modern works from each of their 20 critically acclaimed recordings. It should be an evening of great music … and an outpouring of love from the audience.
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