Celebrate Asia — Special appearance by A.R. Rahman

The Seattle Symphony's ninth annual Celebrate Asia concert features movie music by famous Japanese composers as well as a second half dedicated solely to the music of Grammy® and Academy Award® winner A.R. Rahman, who will also make a special appearance at the program. Highlighted by pre- and post-concert entertainment, this spectacular event is a rare opportunity to revel in the rich musical traditions of Seattle's vibrant Asian communities.

2016-2017 Exclusives

Dates and Tickets

  • 12 May (Fri) 2017 7:00PM

Running time

1 hour, 2 minutes

Doors open

1 hour, 30 minutes prior to performance


S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium - Benaroya Hall


Shizuo Z Kuwahara


The first prize winner of the prestigious Georg Solti International Conductors’ Competition in Frankfurt, Germany, Shizuo Z Kuwahara recently concluded his 7 years tenure as the music director of Symphony Orchestra Augusta. He will be making a debut with Seattle Symphony and Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland this season, as well as returning to conduct Osaka Symphony, Hiroshima Symphony and Tokyo Kosei Wind Ensemble.

Ricardo Averbach


Ricardo Averbach is the winner of the 2010 American Prize in Conducting, and received the 1st Honor Diploma at the 2010 Masterplayers International Music Competition in Lugano, Switzerland. After graduating in engineering in Brazil with the highest honors and receiving a scholarship for graduate studies in Harvard, he changed his trajectory in search of his passion for music. He moved to Bulgaria – without knowing the language – and graduated in orchestra, choral and opera conducting at the National Academy of Music. Now he is fluent in Bulgarian, and a few other languages…

Sheila Houlahan


Indian-American actor and singer Sheila Houlahan has been seen on stage and screen around the world. Her most notable credits include performing the music of A.R. Rahman with him at the 2016 CES Intel Live Show in Las Vegas, winning an award with the Washington District Metropolitan Opera Competition in 2014, singing as a featured soprano soloist for the 2009 Salzburg Festival, playing the role of Optima Prime in the feature film Wallflower (produced by Paradigm Studios and set to release this year), and playing the role of Ghania (the villain’s henchwoman) in the new superhero TV show The Exceptionals. She received a Bachelor of Music in Operatic Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Houlahan is currently working on her first solo album and corresponding music video series.

Anton du Preez


Anton du Preez is a singer-songwriter in Seattle. He artfully blends adult contemporary and alternative folk with the occasional dash of progressive house or quiet storm.

Aleksa Manila


Drug counselor by day, drag diva by night. Aleksa Manila is a celebrated and respected drag personality. Originally from Manila, Philippines, Aleksa now calls Seattle, Washington home.

Seattle Symphony

The Seattle Symphony is one of America’s leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history.





Yūzō Toyama

Rhapsody for Orchestra

Christopher Larosa

The Tide Jewels (World Premiere)

Akira Ifukube

Symphonic Fantasia No. 1

Toru Takemitsu

Nami no bon (“Lantern Festival of the Waves”)

A.R. Rahman

Slumdog Millionaire: “Latika's Theme“

A.R. Rahman

Lord of the Rings Suite: “Lothlórien”—“The Final Battle”

A.R. Rahman

Passage Suite: “Moi”—“Lux aeterna”

A.R. Rahman

The Flying Lotus (World Premiere)


The Celebrate Asia Composition Competition is generously underwritten by Yoshi and Naomi Minegishi. Shizuo Z. Kuwahara’s performance is generously supported by The Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation with additional support from The Nakajima Family. The commission by A.R. Rahman is generously underwritten by Vijay and Sita Vashee, Parul and Gary Houlahan, Vishwa and Vandana Prasad, Noreen and Kabir Shahani, and Satya and Rao Ramala. Celebrate Asia is presented as part of the Seattle Symphony’s New Music WORKS initiative, which is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. New Music WORKS features commissions, concerts and educational activities that use composition as a catalyst for collaboration and engagement in music.