Gerard Schwarz Conducts Brahms' Fourth Symphony September 15, 17 and 18

FOR RELEASE Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Concerts Feature Cellist Lynn Harrell; World Premiere of Shafer Mahoney’s Sparkle


Brahms' Fourth Symphony
Musically Speaking: R. Strauss'
Don Quixote

Seattle, WA – Music Director Gerard Schwarz will conduct the Seattle Symphony in Masterpiece series concerts on Thursday, September 15 at 7:30pm and Saturday, September 17 at 8:00pm. The Orchestra will perform Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, Strauss’ Don Quixote, Op. 35 with guest cellist Lynn Harrell and Seattle Symphony viola Susan Gulkis Assadi, and the world premiere of the orchestral version of Shafer Mahoney’s Sparkle. On Sunday, September 18 at 2:00pm, the Orchestra will perform the Strauss and Brahms works as part of the Musically Speaking series where Maestro Schwarz will also comment on the music.

New York-born cellist Lynn Harrell, a frequent performer with Seattle Symphony, has appeared with major orchestras throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia as well as in chamber music performances worldwide. He has also created a catalog of more than 30 recordings from the cello concerto, solo and chamber repertoire, and is known for his active role as a music educator. He has been on the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston since 2002.

Born in 1968, Shafer Mahoney is associate professor of music at Hunter College in New York. Sparkle, Mahoney’s 1999 wind ensemble piece, has received international attention. It was commissioned by Oklahoma State University and has since been performed in all areas of the United States, in parts of Canada, and in England and Ireland. Various groups in the U.S. have even set dance and marching band routines to the four-minute flourish! These performances include the world premiere of the orchestral version of Sparkle.

R. Strauss’ (1864-1949) Don Quixote is a colorful work for solo cello and orchestra with a considerable solo viola part as well. With great symphonic sweep and brilliant pictorial characterizations, it is an appealing score that was initially savaged by many critics for its literal evocation of bleating sheep in the episode where the hapless protagonist believes a shepherd’s flock of sheep is an army of invaders. Maestro Schwarz has recorded this work with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic with Lynn Harrell.

The Fourth is Brahms’ (1833-1897) final symphony, a work that perfectly captures the dual nature of this great composer—his mastery of classic symphonic form derived from Beethoven, and his warm and Romantic heart. The final movement is a powerful set of variations over an oft-repeated progression of chords, i.e., a chaconne, a form that dates back to the early years of the 17th century. Of the major composers of the 19th century, Brahms was probably the most knowledgeable in the sphere of music history, serving as editor on many collections dating from the Baroque era.

Single tickets, priced between $15 and $87, can be purchased by calling the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office at (206) 215-4747, faxing the Symphony at (206) 215-4748, ordering online at, or visiting the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office in Benaroya Hall at 3rd Avenue & Union Street, Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 6:00pm, and Saturdays, 1:00pm to 6:00pm. Subscriptions are still available. For group sales information, call (206) 215-4784. Student and senior rush discount tickets, subject to availability, go on sale in person at the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office at 6:00pm prior to evening performances and at noon prior to afternoon performances.

Masterpiece series
*Musically Speaking series

Thursday, September 15 at 7:30pm
Saturday, September 17 at 8:00pm
*Sunday, September 18 at 2:00pm
S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium
Gerard Schwarz, conductor (and commentator on September 18)
+Lynn Harrell, cello
Seattle Symphony

Shafer Mahoney: Sparkle (World Premiere of orchestral version)

+*R. Strauss: Don Quixote, Op. 35 (with Susan Gulkis Assadi, viola)

*Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98

Pre-concert lecture titled “Strauss and Brahms: The Shock of the New” will be given by Gavin Borchert, composer and Seattle Weekly music critic, one hour prior to the Thursday and Saturday concerts.

Program and artists subject to change. Photos of Seattle Symphony and guest artists available to the media on request.