The Seattle Symphony Announces Its 2023/2024 Season At Benaroya Hall

The Seattle Symphony presents its 2023/2024 season, which marks the convergence of two major milestones for the organization.

By: Mar. 10, 2023
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The Seattle Symphony presents its 2023/2024 season, which marks the convergence of two major milestones for the organization.

The upcoming season commemorates over a century of musical legacy for the Seattle Symphony, which will celebrate its 120th anniversary alongside the 25th anniversary of Benaroya Hall's opening. In the 2023/2024 season, the Symphony pays tribute to its very first concerts all while taking audiences boldly into the future of classical music, with contemporary works by more than 35 of today's leading composers prominently showcased across all series offerings throughout the season.

Of the landmark year, Seattle Symphony President & CEO Krishna Thiagarajan said, "As we begin to celebrate Benaroya Hall's 25th anniversary and the Seattle Symphony's 120th year, this season connects us with music that launched the Symphony and opened the Hall. Our focus is on championing the next generation of composers and performers, and the 2023/2024 season brings a continuation of creative partnerships that welcome not only the next generation of composers and performers, but new members of our community as well. With every concert, we share musical stories of dreamers that broke norms in their time to create something bigger than they expected. As Benaroya Hall has become a cornerstone of cultural life in Seattle, it is that same spirit we carry with us as we look toward an ever-brighter future. I am excited to celebrate the anniversary of this Hall with you and our Symphony and hope to see you all here."

"This 2023/2024 season, we pay tribute to our past while embarking on musical adventures of the future," said Vice President of Artistic Planning Raff Wilson. "It is truly a season of celebration - thrilling guest artists and conductors join our own dazzling musicians with unmissable repertoire in every concert. We give the stage to bold new voices, contemporary composition giants as well as surprising firsts never performed before in our Symphony's history. Our artistic past and future are intertwined, and the season of music we are bringing audiences is designed to reflect that."

The 2023/2024 season encompasses a full suite of series offerings at Benaroya Hall - Masterworks, John & Ginny Meisenbach Foundation Seattle Pops, In Recital, Chamber, Octave 9, Family Concerts, Tiny Tots, and the all-new Playlist series - along with additional Special Performances and holiday concerts in the lineup.

Select concerts will be available for streaming on Seattle Symphony+, newly expanded from Seattle Symphony Live. Launched during the pandemic to bring music to audiences at home, the Seattle Symphony's streaming service now reaches a global audience through live and on-demand concerts, artist interviews and behind-the-scenes extras, making the orchestra's powerful performances available beyond the traditional concert hall setting. Performances on the Symphony's streaming service are viewable for two weeks and educational videos are free. Visit seattlesymphonyplus.org for subscription pricing and additional information.

Two historic anniversaries coincide for the Seattle Symphony's 2023/2024 season: the orchestra's 120th season and the 25th anniversary of Benaroya Hall's opening. To commemorate the banner year, Raise the Curtain launches the season with recreations of the Symphony's and the Hall's first-ever concerts, with works by Massenet, Honegger, Schubert and Wagner. Seattle Symphony Conductor Emeritus Ludovic Morlot and soprano Alexandra LoBianco join the orchestra for the celebratory performances on September 21 and 23, 2023.

The Seattle Symphony's 120th season opening culminates in the 2023/2024 Silver Anniversary festivities with special guest artist Lang Lang. On September 29, 2023, the piano virtuoso along with conductor Peter Oundjian return to join the orchestra for rousing performances of John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Saint-Saëns' Second Piano Concerto and Respighi's Pines of Rome.

Patrons looking to further their season opening experience will have two options this September with the Silver Anniversary Gala on September 28, 2023, and the Silver Anniversary Party following the concert on September 29, 2023. For more information, visit seattlesymphony.org/gala.

The Symphony continues its strong commitment to championing new music this season, which brings works by more than 35 living composers to the Benaroya Hall stage. The prominence of contemporary voices features steadily across all series offerings, with much repertoire that will be heard for the first time by Seattle audiences.

This fall the Symphony is proud to present: John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine, conducted by Morlot; works by Angélica Negrón, Daniel Thomas Davis and Nina C. Young in the season-opening concert of the Octave 9 Series; Aaron Jay Kernis' Elegy (For Those We Lost), performed by pianist Mahani Teave; Concerto for Hindustani Violin, co-composed by Reena Esmail and Kala Ramnath, alongside Sofia Gubaidulina's Fairytale Poem; works by Gwilym Simcock, Leo Brouwer, Edmund Finnis and Gaspar Cassadó performed in recital by cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason; Anna Meredith's Nautilus and Lauri Porra's Entropia Concerto for Electric Bass, conducted by Dalia Stasevska; and David Robertson conducting his own Light Forming, A Piano Concerto, written for and performed by his wife, pianist Orli Shaham.

Other current works featured prominently later in the season include: Paul Chihara's Piano Concerto-Fantasy, performed by pianist Quynh Nguyen (in her Benaroya Hall debut) with Seattle Symphony Douglas F. King Assistant Conductor Sunny Xia at the podium; Steven Mackey's Memoir with the dynamic percussionists of arx duo; Linda Catlin Smith's Orient Point with pianist Conrad Tao; the world premiere of a Seattle Symphony-commissioned multimedia presentation from local cellist and composer Gretchen Yanover; Dima Slobodeniouk conducting Sebastian Fagerlund's Stonework; Osmo Vänskä conducting Donghoon Shin's Of Rats and Men; Xian Zhang conducting Northern Star by Dorothy Chang; multi-instrumentalist and composer Han Lash's The Art of Leaving; a world premiere of Sarah Gibson's Sonata for Oboe and Piano, and works by Alexandra Gardner and Reena Esmail performed by Seattle Symphony Principal Oboe Mary Lynch VanderKolk; and Salina Fisher's Rainphase performed with conductor Gemma New.

Toward the end of the 2023/2024 season, the Symphony also brings performances of: Samuel Adams' Movements (for us and them) performed by Seattle Symphony Concertmaster Noah Geller; Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate's Spirit Chief Names the Animal People presented in Family Concerts in May 2024; works by Ken Benshoof presented in a Chamber Series concert; Fazil Say's Grand Bazaar with conductor Karen Kamensek; John Adams' Trombo lontana and Harmonium when Ludovic Morlot returns to the podium in June 2024; and the Elements Concerto by Jake Heggie, Jennifer Higdon, Edgar Meyer, Jessie Montgomery and Kevin Puts, performed by violinist Joshua Bell, for whom the work was written, with Marin Alsop conducting.

On November 16, 17 and 18, 2023, the Seattle Symphony's Nordic Passion program brings an electrifying cross-genre musical power couple to Benaroya Hall - rising star conductor Dalia Stasevska returns, this time joined onstage by her husband, electric bassist and composer Lauri Porra. Porra's own musical credentials - bassist for Finnish power metal band Stratovarius and great-grandson of Jean Sibelius - stand up to the rousing reception Stasevska received from Seattle audiences when she last performed with the Symphony in the 2021/2022 season.

Now Stasevska leads the orchestra in works from Scotland and Finland. The program opens with Anna Meredith's Nautilus before Porra hits the stage to perform a piece he wrote for his own instrument - Entropia Concerto for Electric Bass. The concert closes with Stasevska and the orchestra performing Sibelius' Symphony No. 5, one of the composer's most captivating and admired works.

On October 19 and 21, 2023, violinist and composer Kala Ramnath returns by popular demand to perform her Concerto for Hindustani Violin, an exceptional piece co-written with former Seattle Symphony Composer in Residence Reena Esmail which premiered at Benaroya Hall during the 2021/2022 Celebrate Asia concert. The pair co-created this multi-stylistic work as a commentary on humanity, nature and climate change, and it returns for a well-deserved encore performance. Known for her "singing violin," Ramnath has revolutionized Indian vocal and violin technique, which shines through in the Concerto for Hindustani Violin, and her strong influence has helped forge musical alliances around the globe.

On April 25, 27 and 28, 2024, conductor Gemma New and Seattle-based soprano Jennifer Bromagen join the Symphony for an immersive multimedia experience of the doomed Terra Nova Expedition. The 1910-1913 journey to the Antarctic, led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, ultimately saw Scott and his entire crew perish before they could return. Audiences will experience the intricacies of the arduous South Pole exploration, told in Scott's own words and accompanied by Herbert Ponting's original images from 1912, all set to Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 7, "Antarctic." The monumental work has been described as a "concerto for wind machine" and features organ, solo soprano (with Bromagen making her Seattle Symphony debut) and the vocal impact of the Seattle Symphony Chorale.

Joe Hisaishi debuted with the Seattle Symphony in 2022 to four sold-out concerts. Now, the composer, conductor and pianist is set to return to Seattle in January 2024 for a special residency at Benaroya Hall. Best known as the musical mind behind the scores of Studio Ghibli's most beloved films - My Neighbor Totoro, Academy Award winner Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, to name a few - Hisaishi shares new works from his musical world with audiences over the course of this Seattle Symphony residency. Hisaishi's residency spans the course of a week and features concerts on January 12-14, 2024, as well as additional events to be announced.

The Seattle Symphony's exciting 2023/2024 season includes a thrilling new series that finds three musicians curating programs using Mozart as a launch point to explore different themes, sounds and contemporary artists to create their own live playlists.

Douglas F. King Assistant Conductor Sunny Xia takes the podium for the new performer-driven Playlist Series, which kicks off with Mahani Teave's Playlist on October 13 and 14. This program introduces the influential pianist to the Benaroya Hall stage. A pioneering artist from Easter Island who founded the Chilean isle's first music school, Teave bridges her creative work with environmental activism. Recognized as one of the 100 Women Leaders of her country, she has performed in the world's foremost concert halls as well as in hospitals, schools and prisons around the globe. Her playlist centers on Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 and includes Aaron Jay Kernis' Elegy (For Those We Lost).

Hailed by The New York Times as an artist of "probing intellect and open-hearted vision," Conrad Tao brings an elegant sensibility to Mozart's darkly brooding and distinctive Piano Concerto No. 24. On March 1 and 2, Conrad Tao's Playlist finds the pianist weaving the concerto into an adventurous program that also includes Stravinsky's "Dumbarton Oaks" Concerto, Purcell's Fantasia for Strings in F Major, Linda Catlin Smith's Orient Point and Morton Feldman's The Viola in My Life 3, the latter two being rarely performed works by 20th century American composers.

Finally, the Seattle Symphony's Concertmaster takes the lead in Noah Geller's Playlist on May 3 and 4, a program that celebrates music for strings starting with J.S. Bach's Concerto for Two Violins and culminating in Mozart's Fifth Violin Concerto. In between, Geller has chosen a mesmerizing piece by Samuel Adams, Movements (for us and them).

Octave 9 Continues to Redefine the Experience of Music, Art and Learning
The 2023/2024 Octave 9 Series immerses audiences in new sound worlds that combine music and technology in the Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center, an intimate space for artists to break new creative ground within the Seattle community. The 2023/2024 season programming focuses on innovative performances that push the boundaries of creative possibility. The intriguing lineup begins October 6, and includes three cutting-edge world premieres from Nina C. Young, Gretchen Yanover and Sarah Gibson. In the 2022/2023 season, the Octave 9 Series expanded to doubling performances and due to ongoing popular demand, this will continue next season featuring innovative works by Lauri Porra, Steven Mackey, Han Lash, Alexandra Gardner and Reena Esmail.

The upcoming season brings a star-studded roster of acclaimed performers and conductors from around the world to the Benaroya Hall stage, with many making their Seattle Symphony debuts.

In addition to the artists previously mentioned, the Seattle Symphony is proud to welcome: Alevtina Ioffe making her conducting debut with the Symphony for Stravinsky's The Firebird, and joined onstage by Principal Cello Efe Baltacıgil for Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 on October 5-8; Hub New Music in the season's opening Octave 9 Series concert on October 6; Alexander Shelley returning on October 19 and 21 to conduct Kala Ramnath in her co-composition with Reena Esmail; Mark Wigglesworth conducting pianist Stephen Hough for Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 on November 9-12; husband-wife duo, conductor David Robertson and pianist Orli Shaham, presenting the conductor's own Light Forming, A Piano Concerto alongside Mahler Symphony No. 5 on November 30-December 3; and Kahchun Wong coming back to conduct the Symphony in its year-ending tradition of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, from December 28-31.

In 2024, the Symphony presents several returning conductors as well as many more soloist and conductor debuts: on January 4 and 6, conductor Alpesh Chauhan returns to kick off the new year with cellist Pablo Ferrández, who makes his Seattle Symphony debut in Dvořák's Cello Concerto; Frank Strobel, who continues leading the Symphony through and bringing iconic silent films to the big screen with Metropolis on January 25 and 27; pianist Steven Osborne performing Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto, with Kevin John Edusei at the podium in his Seattle Symphony debut on February 1-4; violinist Randall Goosby and conductor Christian Reif in a double Symphony debut, performing Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9 on February 8-10; Bernard Labadie brings his expertise in conducting J.S. Bach's St. John Passion on March 7 and 9, a surprising first performance for the Seattle Symphony as Labadie conducts at Benaroya Hall for the first time; Ning Feng makes his Benaroya Hall debut on March 14 and 16, with the virtuosic violinist performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto; and Simon Trpčeski joins the orchestra on March 21-24 to perform Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, with Osmo Vänskä conducting.

The strength of the season continues on in Spring 2024: Xian Zhang returns to conduct violinist Ray Chen and the orchestra for Korngold's Violin Concerto on April 4-6; conductor Kahchun Wong makes a second appearance in the season, this time with mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne for Mahler's Symphony No. 3 on April 11-14; cellist Alisa Weilerstein and conductor Shiyeon Sung unite for Lutosławski's Cello Concerto on April 18 and 20; violinist Jennifer Koh brings her dazzling intensity to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons on May 16-18; and pianist Jan Lisiecki reunites with the orchestra on June 6, 8 and 9 to perform Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3, with Karen Kamensek conducting.

The Symphony also presents legendary veterans and explosive new artists alike in recital: pianist Emanual Ax on October 4; cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason on October 31; pianist Vikingur Ólafsson performing J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations on May 5; and pianist Bruce Liu on May 21.

For a complete list of artist and repertoire listings, please visit the Seattle Symphony Press Room.

Benaroya Hall transforms in sight and sound for the newly renamed John & Ginny Meisenbach Foundation Seattle Pops Series which features favorite pop culture hits. This season audiences will feature a broad range of popular presentations from iconic Disney film scores to a tribute to the women of soul. The series begins on October 26, 27 and 29 with a symphonic celebration of Disney music, animation and memories with Disney: The Sound of Magic, featuring returning conductor Stuart Chafetz. On December 8, 9 and 10, Chafetz returns to conduct a Seattle Symphony tradition, the Holiday Pops concert, featuring Aubrey Logan on trombone and vocals. Next, Tribute to John Williams comes to Seattle audiences on January 19, 20 and 21, with debut conductor Sarah Hicks at the podium. The series finishes May 31, June 1 and 2 with She's Got Soul Featuring Capathia Jenkins, where Capathia Jenkins will bring her powerhouse voice and stunning presence to her brand-new show, conducted by Lucas Waldin.

The 2023/2024 season also brings astounding special performances for Seattle audiences. On December 5, the legendary singer Audra McDonald headlines An Evening with Audra McDonald. She and the Symphony will be joined onstage by conductor Andy Einhorn in his Benaroya Hall debut. Later in the season, on February 23, the Symphony presents the highly anticipated performance of Blackstar Symphony: The Music of David Bowie in a tribute to the late music icon. The concert features the stunning vocals of John Cameron Mitchell and Gail Ann Dorsey, both performing with the Seattle Symphony for the first time.

Family Concerts are suitable for audiences of all ages and bring families together to build musical memories. With Douglas F. King Assistant Conductor Sunny Xia at the podium leading this series for the second time, the upcoming season's Family Concerts are specially designed to spark creativity, inspire imagination and take audiences on exciting journeys. In the 2023/2024 season, audiences may arrive one hour before the concert begins to participate in free pre-concert activities featuring crafts and instrument exploration in the Samuel & Althea Stroum Grand Lobby. The Family Concerts Series begins October 28 with Día De Los Muertos, featuring Mexican music and composers. Next, join the Symphony for a holiday tradition of the classic children's film The Snowman. On February 24 the Symphony performs Dan Brown's Wild Symphony bringing the musical sounds of many animals like whales and speedy cheetahs to Benaroya Hall. The series ends on May 4 with Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate's Spirit Chief Names the Animal People, which tells the story of the Great Chief from an Okanagan tale, who calls all the Animal People for a naming ceremony.

The Masterworks Series encompasses the Symphony's core programming of symphonic repertoire. Additional subscription series: Seattle Pops, In Recital, Playlist, Octave 9, Chamber, Family Concerts and Tiny Tots. Non-subscription performances may be added to subscription orders now and will go on sale to the general public in summer 2023.




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