The 2016/2017 Seattle Symphony subscription season at a glance

For many years, I've put together a little pocket guide to the Seattle Symphony subscription season for my symphony friends to help them decide which ticket package they want. For the past several years now, we haven't ordered any tickets at all because we all have young children, but I still make this guide out of some sense of obligation.

So here's the at-a-glance season guide for the 2016/2017 season anyway, again with no comments from me because nobody I know is going to use them to decide which tickets to order. Besides, you can probably preview nearly all of the pieces nowadays (minus the premieres) by searching on YouTube.

Here is the official brochure for those who want to read the details, and the press release has links to other pivots:

Here's what The Seattle Times thinks of it.

Week Program 22 13 7A
Prokofiev: The Love for Three Oranges
Beethoven: Symphony #1
Gabriel Prokofiev: World Premiere
Beethoven: Symphony #8
Brahms: Tragic Overture
Elgar: Cello Concerto
Dvořák: Symphony #5
Bach: Concerto for Violin and Oboe
Mozart: Requiem
Purcell: Suite from The Fairy Queen
Lawes: Fantasy from Consort Set in Six Parts in C
Handel: Organ Concerto in F, "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale"
Handel: Organ Concerto in B♭, Op. 4, No 6
Biber: Battalia
Handel: Water Music Suite (arr. Egarr)
Agata Zubel: Chapter 13 (World Premiere)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #3
Beethoven: Symphony #2
Berlioz: Les francs-juges Overture
Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5
Rimsky-Korsakov: Suite from Tale of Tsar Sultan
Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Ravel)
Tchaikovsky: Mazeppa Overture
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto #4
Shostakovich: Symphony #11
12/01 Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius                  
12/30 Vivaldi: The Four Seasons                  
Messiaen: Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine
Beethoven: Symphony #9
Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture
Haydn: Piano Concerto in D, Hob. XVII:II
Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin
Schubert: Symphony #5
Ives: A Symphony: New England Holidays
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5
Debussy: Prélude à "L'après-midi d'un Faune"
Bruch: Violin Concerto #1
Prokofiev: Symphony #5
Smetana: Dance of the Comedians from The Bartered Bride
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Dvořák: Symphony #8
Rameau: Suite from Naïs
Handel: Aria "Fammi combattere mostri e tifei" from Orlando
Bach: Aria "Wiederstehe doch der Sunde" from Cantata #54
Bach: "Agnus Dei" from Mass in B minor
Lully: Selections from Le bourgeois gentilhomme
Handel: Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne
Debussy: Printemps
Kernis: Violin Concerto (U.S. Premiere)
Beethoven: Symphony #6
Beethoven: Prometheus Overture
Bartók: Piano Concerto #2
Martinů: Memorial to Lidice
Beethoven: Symphony #5
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto #1
Rachmaninov: Symphony #2
Stenhammar: Serenade
Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini
Prokofiev: Suite #1 from Romeo and Juliet
04/20 Bruckner: Symphony #5                  
Zemelinksy: The Mermaid
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto #1
Vivaldi: Sinfonia in C from L'Olimpiade
Galuppi: Concerto A Quattro #2
Caldara: Sinfonia in D "Santa Francesca"
Vivaldi: Concerto for Four Violins, RV 580
Geminiani: Concerto Grosso #12 "La Follia"
Albinoni: Sinfonia in G
Bizet: Jeux d'enfants
Mendelssohn: Octet
Mozart: Piano Concerto #9 "Jeunehomme"
Ravel: L'enfant et les sortilèges
Helen Grime: U.S. Premiere
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Nielsen: Symphony #3
R. Strauss: Four Last Songs
R. Strauss: An Alpine Symphony
Ligeti: Requiem
Mahler: Symphony #5
Week Program 22 13 7A

Insider tip: Click a column header to focus on a specific series. (This feature has been around for several years, actually.)


22 Masterworks 22-concert series (Choice of Thursdays or Saturdays)
13 Masterworks 13-concert series (Choice of Thursdays or Saturdays)
7A Masterworks 7-concert series A (Thursdays)
7B Masterworks 7-concert series B (Saturdays)
8C Masterworks 8-concert series C (Thursdays)
8D Masterworks 8-concert series D (Saturdays)
7E Masterworks 7-concert series E (Thursdays)
7F Masterworks 7-concert series F (Saturdays)
8G Masterworks 8-concert series G (Sunday afternoons)
5A Masterworks 5-concert series A (Friday afternoons)
SU Symphony Untuxed (Fridays, reduced program)
BW Baroque and Wine (Choice of Fridays or Saturdays)

For the weekend of February 17, the concert normally scheduled for Thursday will be held on Friday.

For those not familiar with the Seattle Symphony ticket package line-ups: Most of the ticket packages are named Masterworks nX where n is the number is the number of concerts in the package, and the letter indicates the variation. Ticket packages have been combined if they are identical save for the day of the week. For example, 8C and 8D are the same concerts; the only difference is that 8C is for Thursday nights, while 8D is for Saturday nights.

This chart doesn't include concert series such as the Distinguished Artists series which share no concerts with any of the Masterworks concerts.

Notes and changes:

  • The Masterworks series grew from 21 to 22 concerts. The extra concert was added to the 8[CD] series. Extra concerts were also added to 7G and 4A, bringing them to 8G and 5A. The Seattle Pops grew from five to six concerts.

  • The 7[AB], 8[CD], and 7[EF] concert series do not overlap, so you can create your own pseudo-series by taking any two of them, or recreate the 22-concert series by taking all three.

  • The 13-concert series is the same as the 8[CD] and 7[EF] series combined, minus the January 5 and March 16 concerts.

  • The Symphony Kids series no longer exists.

This purports to be the second season of a two-season cycle of Beethoven symphonies and piano concerti. Though when I checked this year's and last year's schedules, it looks like they forgot the third and seventh symphonies, and they included the third piano concerto twice and the first and second not at all. Math may not be their strong suit.

There's also a special Shostakovich Concerto Festival that performs all of Shostakovich's concertos. I counted. They're all there.

Hilary Hahn visits Seattle twice this season, once to perform Bruch's Violin Concerto on the weekend of February 9, and again to perform in recital on October 30 as part of the Distinguished Artists series. A group of us attended one of her recitals a decade ago. She wore a floor-length A-line green dress with sparkly silver shoes. I remember it because we amused ourselves by describing her dress as a Christmas tree, and the shoes were presents that peeked out.

Comments (15)
  1. Brian_EE says:

    Someone should come up with a concept whereby teenage girls (or perhaps, grandmothers), for a modest fee, will watch your children for a few hours so that mom and dad can have a night out enjoying dinner and some music.

    1. The trick is finding six such teenage girls/grandmothers available on the same night.

  2. Luke Bakken says:

    Raymond –

    I am a long time reader of your blog, and appreciate your easy-to-understand summary of the Seattle Symphony’s schedule. I perform with the Spokane Symphony and Pacific NW Ballet orchestra, and also work in the tech industry.

    Your remark at the end of this post is why I am commenting. Do you remember what Ms. Hahn played at her recital? Her abilities as a violinist have few peers, yet you remark here about her appearance. I realize it is a “funny” anecdote, but would you do the same for a talented female in the tech industry?

    Being remembered based on appearance is something women should not have to deal with.

    1. It’s better than what I remember about one of the piano soloists from that same season: He was awful. He played all the pieces through, so you didn’t know where one piece ended and the next began. (And at least it’s fair: I don’t remember anything either of them played. The only pieces I remember are from the Labèque sisters recital. They played Marche Slave and a boring Stravinsky piece.)

    2. xcomcmdr says:

      I think she can defend herself. She doesn’t need a white knight.

    3. It is a reminiscence, Mr. Bakken. And all reminiscences consist of imagery. And it is not an offensive image either.

      Besides, only a musician can properly appreciate another musician. (That’s true in other industries and groups too.) Don’t expect Ray to hold Hahn and Fiorina to the same standards. (Fiorina is probably not the best representative of a woman in computing. But at least, everyone knows her.)

    4. Muzer says:

      I think that commenting negatively on something that someone chooses to wear is something that is commonly done for men and women. I can certainly think of a few high-profile cases in which the very people who are likely to come out with the same argument that you have, have in turn said much worse things about something a man’s wearing. Basically, I don’t see why on earth you’re attempting to turn this into a sexism thing.

      1. We weren’t making fun of the dress. We just thought we were so clever coming up with that way of describing it.

  3. Glassware says:

    I love it when beautiful music is turned into a graphing chart like this.

  4. nathan_works says:

    We look forward to the march madness arbitrary picks this year too :) (Though I think you skipped last year..)

    1. I’m running out of arbitrary criteria. Furthermore, the schedule is announced just a few days before the tournament begins, which doesn’t give me much time to build the bracket. I don’t usually find out until too late.

  5. AJ says:

    Re: Beethoven Cycle
    The 3rd Symphony was performed two weekends ago: 2/11, 2/13 and 2/14
    The 7th Symphony will be performed in June (6/9-6/11)
    The 1st piano concerto headlined the concerts with Alexander Melnikov on 10/22 and 10/25
    The 2nd piano concerto was performed with the Berio: Sinfonia for 8 Voices and Orchestra on 2/4 and 2/6

    1. Thanks for the corrections. Not sure how I missed them. It looks like they had a typo in their brochure, because the brochure says that the 2/4 and 2/6 concerts include the third concerto, not the second.

  6. Scarlet Manuka says:

    These posts always make me wish we were able to attend our local symphony orchestra more often. Unfortunately, we just can’t afford to these days.

  7. mschaef says:

    Thanks for posting this. I enjoy most all of what you write, but this post is always one of the annual highlights.

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content