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Shostakovich Symphony No. 15

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Bach brings the best out of all musicians — especially the brilliant minds featured on this program. Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 honors Bach through structural patterns and telltale themes, resulting in a stunningly clear and refined swan song from the 20th century’s greatest symphonist. Conductor Leopold Stokowski had a special affection for Bach, and his lush symphonic arrangement of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor radiates the full power of this iconic organ composition. John Harbison, a giant among living American composers, has long cited Bach as a primary influence. His other great love is jazz and the American songbook tradition, which contributes to the consistent warmth and humanity of his writing. His Bach-inspired symphony features the spectacular Watjen Concert Organ, the envy of every concert hall in the world.

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Thursday, 21 March, 2019 7:30PM

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Saturday, 23 March, 2019 8:00PM

Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1

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“When Dausgaard conducts,” says The Seattle Times, “you can almost see the electric charge between him and the players, the eye contact and the mutual awareness of every gesture.” The Seattle Symphony’s Music Director Designate brings two imaginative works composed in his native Denmark. The prelude to Langgaard’s subversive opera Antichrist stokes the wicked humor of the Jazz age, while Nielsen’s Second Symphony paints revealing portraits of human temperaments. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson brings out every nuance of a transformative score steeped in young Brahms’ devotion to Beethoven and his affection for Clara Schumann.

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Thursday, 4 April, 2019 7:30PM

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Saturday, 6 April, 2019 8:00PM

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Sunday, 7 April, 2019 2:00PM

Dvořák New World Symphony

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Composer and pianist George Walker has broken countless barriers in his long and rich life, like when he became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1996. He belongs to an exceedingly rare class of composers who have produced vital, vibrant music into their late 90s. With his latest opus, Sinfonia No. 5, “Visions,” Walker meditates on the 2015 massacre at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. In his Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” Dvořák reflected back the bountiful and optimistic United States that welcomed him with open arms. Spirituals learned from the grandson of a freed slave and transcriptions of Native American melodies enrich this melting pot of European refinement and American earnestness. In the same way that Dvořák gave voice to his Czech homeland through folk-inspired symphonies and tone poems, the Polish trendsetter Karol Szymanowski liberated his country’s musical identity by crafting imaginative works for orchestra steeped in local traditions. The Scottish superstar Nicola Benedetti made a forceful case for Szymanowski when she recorded his First Violin Concerto at the age of 17, and now she brings that passion to the Second Violin Concerto, a seamless marvel of grounded melodies and lofty virtuosic flights.

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Thursday, 11 April, 2019 7:30PM

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Saturday, 13 April, 2019 8:00PM

Mozart Symphony No. 40

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Behold a magical world of romance and heartbreak, inspired by ancient legends and love stories. Marc-André Dalbavie continues in that same French tradition of saturated colors tinged with historic resonance. There may not be a story attached to it, but Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 — an epic creation in the stormy key of G minor — is as dramatic as any tale ever told on a stage.

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Thursday, 18 April, 2019 7:30PM

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Saturday, 20 April, 2019 8:00PM

Heiner Goebbels: Surrogate Cities

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Surrogate Cities, a multimedia extravaganza by the German composer and theater artist Heiner Goebbels, studies the essence of a modern metropolis — its people, its power structures and its place in a changing world — with the world premiere of a new piece woven into Surrogate Cities. The music, like the city itself, is both organic and structured, a blur of human and machine-made sounds enhanced with striking visual effects. Texts by Paul Auster and Hugo Hamilton, two of the great novelists of urban life, supply a gritty script. Vocalist Jocelyn B. Smith brings the sultry intimacy of a cabaret singer, and David Moss delivers an explosive vocal performance that ranges from laconic film noir narration to hallucinogenic outbursts. As our city continues its rapid transformation, this timely performance offers surprising new angles of self-reflection.

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Thursday, 25 April, 2019 7:30PM

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Friday, 26 April, 2019 8:00PM

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