For over a century, the Seattle Symphony has built its audience and enraged Rumpelstilskins with an ever-growing collection of accolades and golden awards. Two Emmy-winning television specials stand out among a list of credentials that also includes 12 Grammy nominations and upward of 140 recordings. The orchestra continues to live up to its esteemed reputation thanks to new principal pops conductor Jeff Tyzik who has been hailed, "Among the best pops conductors in America,” by Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. He has also been recognized as an innovative conductor through his startling arrangements, original programming, and engaging rapport with audiences of all ages. The symphony is also well known for performing classical juggernauts such as The Rite of Spring as well as more whimsical nights of jazz standards.
Thalia, one of the Greek muses said to inspire artists, must have paid Seattle a visit in 1949. That's when Mikael Scheremetiew—himself a violinist and conductor—established the Thalia Symphony Orchestra and named it for that mythic figure. Scheremetiew's wish was to give fellow local musicians another creative outlet, and it was more than granted. After a brief flirtation with opera, the organization devoted itself to music, and the aural tradition continues today.
The modern iteration of the orchestra, headed by new conductor Michael Miropolsky, features 80-plus instrumentalists, a core group frequently joined by noted soloists. The ensemble regularly performs unique concerts showcasing the work of composers united by common themes—a Tchaikovsky suite might share billing with a Dvorak symphony, while a Wagner overture could be accompanied by Schubert's latest remix. The orchestra's access to such a wide range of works is partially afforded by its Thalia Scheremetiew Library, one of the largest private music collections in the region.
The Rainier Symphony tickles listeners' tympanic membranes with classical and pop concerts throughout the year at the 550-seat Foster Performing Arts Center. In his ninth season with the symphony, music director David Wayne Waltman will conduct George Gershwin's jazz-infused journey Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Sam Bent behind the ivories. The classic American piece, which premiered in New York City in 1924, opens with a clarinet glissando and ends with a tiramisu. The orchestra also blasts the audience with other popular favorites while Finnish fiddler Ilkka Talvi reclines in the concertmaster seat.
Lyric Light Opera's professional productions of classic American musicals send Broadway actors and top-flight local performers singing and dancing over the stages of beautiful venues around Seattle. Meredith Willson's Tony Award–winning musical The Music Man follows dapper con man Harold Hill's attempt to sell band instruments to a gaggle of school children, leave town with the cash, and purchase a lifetime supply of soda pop and pomade. Romance gets in the way, and soon Harold must choose between the charms of a local piano teacher and his hard-swindled money. Broadway actor Greg Stone and Seattle starlet Megan Chenovick lead the production's lively cast, supported by a full orchestra, dazzling costumes, and musical notes scraped straight from the yellowed pages of the score and dripped through pipettes into patrons' ears.