Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra at Benaroya Hall - 2023-24 season

Monday, June 5, 2023

Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, Adam Stern conducting


The Seattle Philharmonic, the oldest of Puget Sound's community orchestras, is pleased to announce details of their 2023-24 season of concerts at Benaroya Hall.

Under the leadership of Music Director Adam Stern, the orchestra will perform four widely-varying programs comprising thirteen major works from three different centuries and nine different countries.

"I am unbelievably fortunate to have an orchestra that supports my programming 100%", Stern effuses. 
"When I was asked to become this superb ensemble's music director in 2003, I was urged to 'program my heart' and not feel constrained by conventional programming trends. 
"The Philharmonic has thus been able to provide the public with concert experiences that are unrivaled in their presentations of quality lesser-known works alongside some of the beloved gemstones in the symphonic repertoire."

Alongside familiar concert staples by Ludwig van Beethoven, Alexander Borodin, Johann Strauss, Jr., Antonín Dvořák, and Sergei Rachmaninov, the Philharmonic will present U.S. and local premieres of music by Maria Grenfell, Isidora Žebeljan, Alexis Alrich, and Jeanne Demessieux. 

A major musical happening will be a rare U. S. performance of Arthur Honegger's Symphony No. 3, the Liturgique, one of the most profound musical pleas for an end to war and hatred, and for an everlasting peace.

The season:

Fantasy: A World with No Boundaries
October 28, 2023 • 2:00 p.m. • Benaroya Hall

A musical celebration of myths, legends, and fantasies. The program opens with the overture to Prometheus by Ludwig van Beethoven (his sole full-length ballet score), based on the Greek myth, and closes with the most beloved waltz of Johann Strauss, Jr., The Blue Danube, a magical conjuration of Austria's past, the peace and love that the river inspires, and even its mermaid inhabitants. 

Australian composer Maria Grenfell's orchestral fantasy Hinemoa, based on a Maori fairytale about young lovers united by music, is heard in its first U.S. performance. Alexander Borodin's popular "musical tableau" In the Steppes of Central Asia, an evocative vision of a desert caravan, precedes Frederick Delius' romantic and sensuous Concerto for Violin and Cello, a work described by one commentator as "an orgiastic outpouring of melody," with our sensational soloists, Sempre Sisters (Charlotte Marckx, violin and Olivia Marckx, cello).

  • BEETHOVEN Prometheus, Op. 43: Overture
  • BORODIN In the Steppes of Central Asia
  • DELIUS Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra
    • Sempre Sisters, soloists:
    • Charlotte Marckx and Olivia Marckx
  • GRENFELL Hinemoa (U. S. premiere)
  • J. STRAUSS, Jr. The Blue Danube

"The interrelation between Nature and Life:" Dvořák's Eighth
January 20, 2024 • 2:00 p.m. • Benaroya Hall

This all-Slavic program brings together three works that boast passionate emotions, vivid colors, and consummate compositional mastery. Antonin Dvořák's Symphony No. 8, a perennial audience favorite, is a work aglow with the joys of life. 

The Philharmonic's esteemed concertmaster Luke Fitzpatrick joins the orchestra for the U, S premiere of Serbian composer Isidora Žebeljan's violin concerto Three Curious Loves, a work once affectionately described as a form of "crazy, wild, capricious Balkan dance". As an opener, we present a little-known symphonic poem by Alexander Glazunov, Spring, a sumptuous and lyrical paean to the season of rebirth.

  • GLAZUNOV Spring (A Musical Picture), Op. 34
  • ŽEBELJAN Three Curious Loves (U. S. premiere)
    • Luke Fitzpatrick, soloist
  • DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 8 in G, Op. 88

"A Spirit in search of serenity": Honegger's Third
April 13, 2024 • 2:00 p.m. • Benaroya Hall

The Swiss composer Arthur Honegger's third symphony, subtitled Liturgique, was written as a postlude to World War II, and is a fervent outcry against war and its concomitant dehumanization, and a plea for abiding peace. 

The program begins with Bell and Drum Tower by Alexis Alrich, a work that, to quote one commentator, "navigates the scenes and moods of Beijing by replicating the metallic and percussive qualities of Chinese bell towers." Franz Liszt's alternately heroic and tender Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by the winner of the Philharmonic's 2023 Don Bushell Competition, the blazingly talented Nathan Zhao.

  • ALRICH Bell and Drum Tower (Northwest premiere)
  • LISZT Piano Concerto No. 2 in A
    • Nathan Zhao, soloist
  • HONEGGER Symphony No. 3, Liturgique

"How fresh, how beautiful it is!": Rachmaninov's Second
June 1, 2024 • 2:00 p.m. • Benaroya Hall

The brilliant and tragically short-lived French organist Jeanne Demessieux was also an accomplished composer; her Poème, the only large-scale work she created for organ and orchestra, is given a rare performance by distinguished Seattle organ virtuoso Joseph Adam. 

Following intermission, the Philharmonic concludes its 2023-24 season in grand fashion with one of the most romantic and dazzling symphonies in the repertoire, the Symphony No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninov.

  • DEMESSIEUX Poème for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 9
    • Joseph Adam, soloist
  • RACHMANINOV Symphony No. 2 in e, Op. 27

Benaroya Hall is Seattle's premier concert hall. A city block long, it has three acoustically superb performance spaces in a beautiful building at 200 University Street



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