This Month in Seattle: Classical Music Picks for October

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra (Photo: SMCO)

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra (Photo: SMCO)

Just as the blustery, wet weather is making us want to scuttle off to the nearest concert hall, the October calendar looks like it’s filling up with an impressive list of appearances by some of classical music’s biggest names. The coming month is also burgeoning with performances by local artists and ensembles, all looking to kick-start the concert season with exciting repertoire and top-notch music-making.

Oct. 1 — Mandolinist and 2012 MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner Chris Thile first achieved fame as a member of bluegrass ensembles Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers. Since then, he’s branched out to folk, classical, jazz, and rock traditions. The UW World Series brings Thile to the University of Washington’s Meany Hall, where he’ll perform music by Bach as well as contemporary works and original compositions.

Oct. 5 – 6 — The singers of Choral Arts kick off the concert season with a program that has something for everyone. Spanning from Palestrina to Pärt, the performance features three versions of Ave Maria, including settings by Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Grieg. New music fans will be treated to world premieres by Rick Asher and John David Earnest, as well as to works by local composers Melinda Bargreen and John Muehleisen.

Oct. 6 — Help Seattle’s vibrant chamber music community welcome a new concert series to town. Local pianist and harpsichordist Byron Schenkman presents the debut of his “Byron Schenkman & Friends” series at Benaroya Hall’s intimate Nordstrom Recital Hall with performances by a host of local chamber music luminaries. Hear three of Beethoven’s early piano quartets alongside music by Haydn and 18th century composer Luigi Boccherini.

Oct. 10 & 12 — Though pianist Simone Dinnerstein has dazzled audiences with her interpretations of Bach, she’s also received attention for championing works by living composers, including a recent collaboration with singer-songwriter Tift Merritt. Still a classical pianist at heart, Dinnerstein joins the Seattle Symphony for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major.

Oct. 11 — Bach fans, rejoice! Pianist András Schiff returns to Seattle for a solo recital at Benaroya Hall. The famed Bach expert performs the composer’s celebrated “Goldberg” Variations, some of Bach’s most difficult keyboard works.

Oct. 12 — Guest conductor and violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock joins the Seattle Baroque Orchestra for their first concert of the season, featuring music from 17th century Italy and Germany. Early music buffs will enjoy pieces for solo violin, duos, and trios, as well as works for the full ensemble. This concert kicks off a yearlong search for a new music director for the SBO. Future performances this season feature appearances by a prestigious international roster of guest conductors.

Oct. 19 — Seattle Opera begins the concert season with Donizetti’s sparkling romp The Daughter of the Regiment. The libretto follows the trials and tribulations of two young lovers: Marie, a tomboy adopted and raised by a regiment of soldiers, and Tonio, a young man from the local village.

Oct. 25 — The title of Pacific MusicWorks‘ season opener says it all. “Welcome to All the Pleasures” is a program of English music spanning several hundred years of the country’s history. Five vocal soloists join a chamber orchestra of lute, strings, and harp for works by beloved British composers Handel, Britten, Purcell, and Dowland.

Oct. 26 — Now in its fifth season, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestracombines some of the city’s brightest young talent with adventuresome programming that combines the best of new and old repertoire. Founder and music director Geoffrey Larson and the orchestra tackle iconic works of the 19th and 20th centuries: Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été (“Summer Nights”) and Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat (“The Soldier’s Tale”).

Originally posted in The SunBreak on September 30, 2013.

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