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Symphony celebrates ‘three Bs of classical music’ in 2017-18 season

In the fall of 2007, a newly refurbished Fox Theater opened its doors to the public. The 1931 art deco gem, formally called the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, since has served as the permanent home of the Spokane Symphony and has hosted performances by Tony Bennett, Thomas Hampson, Pink Martini, Zuill Bailey and many more.

The symphony, to mark the 10th anniversary of the restored Fox, has a few special events planned for its upcoming 2017-18 season. The Classic Series is centered on the “three Bs of classical music” – Beethoven, Brahms and Bach – and will feature an appearance by the Spokane-raised opera star Hampson. The SuperPops series will include visits by the Mambo Kings, Judy Collins, and the Steep Canyon Rangers. Also planned are special joint productions with Opera Coeur d’Alene (“Carmen”) and Spokane Civic Theatre (“West Side Story”).

The Classics Series

Classics 1: Opening Night Romance

Sept. 9-10, Eckart Preu, conductor, with Jessica Lee, violin, and Peter Stumpf, cello.

The 2017-18 season opener will feature Alexander von Zemlinsky’s “The Mermaid,” Johannes Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello, and Richard Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz.”

Classics 2: Beethoven and Dvořák

Oct. 7-8, Morihiko Nakahara, conductor, with Ran Dank, piano

Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto ignores convention, and demands astounding technique and imagination from pianist Ran Dank. Also planned, Antonin Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony Dai Fujikura’s “Banitza Groove”

Classics 3: Tales of Tragedy

Oct. 21-22, Eckart Preu, conductor with Conrad Tao, piano

Conrad Tao returns with Camille Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2, one of the most challenging of the piano repertoire. The concerto is book-ended by four stirring tales. Franz Schmidt’s opera, “Notre Dame,” César Franck’s “The Accursed Huntsman,” Richard Strauss’ “Macbeth” and “Till Eulenspiegel.”

Classics 4: Overtures and Arias with Thomas Hampson

Nov. 4-5, Eckart Preu, conductor, with Thomas Hampson, baritone, Spokane Symphony Chorale and EWU Symphonic Choir

The Grammy Award-winning, internationally renowned Thomas Hampson returns to his hometown for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the reopening of the Fox. He will lend his baritone to a program of arias from popular operas. Hampson gave the final performance at the theater before it went dark and returned in 2009 for the symphony’s world premiere of Michael Daugherty’s “Letters From Lincoln.”

Classics 5: “Scheherazade”

Jan. 27-28, Eckart Preu, conductor, with Mira Wang, violin

Chinese violinist Mira Wang gives the U.S. premiere of Torsten Rasch’s “Tropoi” Violin Concerto. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s blockbuster “Scheherazade” paints tales from Arabian Nights using dazzlingly color and oriental motifs. Also: Grant Still’s Second Symphony (“Song of a New Race”).

Classics 6: Bach, Beethoven and Shostakovich

Feb. 10-11, Daniel Hege, guest conductor, with Bruce Bodden, flute

Daniel Hege returns to conduct a program of works spanning the centuries, including J.S. Bach’s suite for flute and orchestra with Spokane Symphony principal flutist Bruce Bodden. Ludwig von Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, one of the most played symphonies of all time, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony.

Classics 7: Vienna, City of Dreams

Feb. 25-26, Eckart Preu, conductor, with the Ahn Trio (Lucia Ahn, piano; Angelia Ahn, violin; Maria, Ahn, cello)

The internationally celebrated Ahn Trio will bring energy and excitement to the stage performing Mark O’Connor’s Triple Concerto. Also on the bill: Franz Schubert’s last symphony and Johann Hummel’s take on the popular Austrian folk tune “Ach Du Lieber Augustin.”

Classics 8: Spanish Nights

March 24-25, 2018, Eckart Preu, conductor with Aleksey Semenenko, violin

It’s been said the best Spanish music is written by French composers, so this program features Emmanuel Chabrier “España,” Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, and Claude Debussy’s “Iberia.” Also, the folk dances of Enrique Granados.

Classics 9: Love’s Inspiration

April 141-15, 2018, Eckart Preu, conductor, with Mateusz Wolski, violin

Robert Schumann’s Fourth Symphony, the most innovative and influential of his works, was written as a portrait of his wife, Clara. Johannes Brahms also fell for Clara Schumann and the slow movement of his Violin Concerto has been called “an incredibly impassioned declaration of his love” for her. Dedicated to virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim, it is a difficult but powerful work that has become an important part of the violin repertoire.

Classics 10: The Heart of Russia

May 12-13, 2018, Eckart Preu, conductor, with Natasha Paremski, piano

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a teenager when he composed his unabashedly romantic Piano Concerto No. 1. Meanwhile, the mood of P.I. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 is a shimmering celebration of winter. Arvo Pärt’s Psalm-like “Silouan’s Song” has a moving expression of faith.

The SuperPops Series

SuperPops 1: SuperDiamond

Oct. 14, Rama Kolesnikow, guest conductor, with “Surreal Neil” and Super Diamond

Super Diamond, fronted by Randy “Surreal Neil” Cordero, will combine Neil Diamond’s music and style for a rockin’ feel-good experience your whole family will love. Backed by the Spokane Symphony.

SuperPops 2: Mambo Kings

Nov. 11, Morihiko Nakahara, conductor, with the Mambo Kings

Formed in 1995, this top-notch Latin jazz ensemble is known for its explosive blend of Afro Cuban rhythms and jazz improvisation.

SuperPops 3: Holiday Pops Celebration

Dec. 16-17, Morihiko Nakahara, conductor with the Spokane Symphony Chorale and Spokane Area Youth Choirs

The Spokane Symphony will celebrate the holidays with heart-warming music and magical moments, including a visit from Santa. This holiday tradition includes some of the season’s most-loved festive songs and carols.

SuperPops 4: Judy Collins

Feb. 3, Jorge Luis Uzcátegui, conductor, with Judy Collins, vocals

Singer-songwriter Judy Collins has inspired audience for five decades, singing traditional and contemporary folk standards and her poignant original compositions. Her more than 50 albums have earned her multiple Grammy nods, from her stunning 1967 rendition of “Both Sides Now” to her 2017 nomination for “Silver Skies Blue.”

SuperPops 5: Steep Canyon Rangers

March 10, 2018, Morihiko Nakahara, conductor

Steep Canyon players are modern bluegrass music’s hard-charging innovators, with Nicky Sanders’ gale-force fiddle breakdowns and Mike Guggino’s blistering mandolin solos, this North Carolina band earned a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2013.

SuperPops 6: Aubrey Logan

May 5, 2018, Morihiko Nakahara, conductor, with Aubrey Logan, vocals

Aubrey Logan takes a song you’ve heard a thousand times and spins it on its heels. Whether she’s jammin’ on her trombone or sailing through a song with her multi-octave vocals, Logan captivates audiences. Featured with Scott Bradlee’s acclaimed Postmodern Jukebox, she performs jazz, neo-soul, classic rock and more on stage with the Spokane Symphony.

Other series

Soirée on the Edge 2 concert series

Aug. 9 and 23, Arbor Crest Wine Cellars

Classical music is paired with wines atop the Cliff House grounds of Arbor Crest Wine Cellars. Soiree on the Edge is our scenic summer outing with two evenings of sights, sips and sounds.

Soirée on the Edge 3 concert series

Sept. 26-27, 2017, Feb. 13-14, 2018, and April 24-25, 2018, the Historic Davenport Hotel

This up-close and personal chamber soiree evening presents a mix of baroque, classical and contemporary music introduced and performed by various ensembles from the symphony. Choose either Tuesday or Wednesday for your subscription to this three concert series.

Note: Two new series will be announced at the end of April.

Symphony specials

“Carmen” with Opera Coeur d’Alene

Sept. 22-23, Eckart Preu, conductor, and Aaron St. Clair Nicholson, stage director

Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” is one of the most famous operas in the world because of its fascinating music and realism. You will love the famous prelude “Habanera” sung by the title role, Carmen. The “Toreador Song” sung by Escamillo, the bullfighter, will steal your heart as will the lyrical and beautiful aria sung by Micaela.

“The Nutcracker” with State Street Ballet

Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 2 and 3, Morihiko Nakahara, conductor, and Rodney Gustafson, artistic director

E.T.A. Hoffman’s story of Clara and her nutcracker prince is performed by the Santa Barbara based State Street Ballet and more than 75 local dancers. Experience P.I. Tchaikovsky’s beloved score performed live by the Spokane Symphony.

New Year’s Eve: Beethoven’s Ninth

Dec. 31, Eckart Preu, conductor, with the Spokane Symphony Chorale

Toast the New Year with joy and triumph. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, his most jubilant masterpiece, is performed by the symphony and the chorale. Preu conducts this exhilarating testament to the human spirit with the final exhilarating hymn, “Ode to Joy.” Usher in your new year with love and music.

“West Side Story” with Spokane Civic Theatre

April 20 and 21, 2018, Eckart Preu, conductor, and Lenny Bart, artistic director

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is transported to New York City in the turbulent ’60s as two young, idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the “American” Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. This Broadway masterpiece boasts a score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim that is widely considered to be the best ever created.

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