The 2020/2021 Seattle Symphony subscription season at a glance

Raymond Chen

Raymond

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. At some point, we may start subscribing again, but for now, we pick-and-choose individual concerts.

Here’s the at-a-glance season guide for the 2020/2021 season, still with no comments from me because it’s not worth trying to rate every piece to help my friends pick one concert. If you’re my friend and want recommendations, just call. Besides, you can probably preview nearly all of the pieces nowadays (minus the premieres) by searching on YouTube.

This is Thomas Dausgaard’s second season as the Seattle Symphony’s music director.

Week Program 22 13 7A
7B
8C
8D
7E
7F
8G 5A SU BW
09/24
2020
Reena Esmail: New Work¹
Mozart: Piano Concerto #24
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
                 
10/08
2020
Charlotte Bray: At the Speed of Stillness
Mozart: Violin Concerto #3
Dvořák: Symphony #6
                 
10/15
2020
Haydn: Symphony #104, “London”
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto #1
Ravel: Mother Goose
                 
10/25
2020
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (mandolin)
Traditional Venetian Gondolier Songs
                 
10/29
2020
Mendelssohn: The Hebrides (“Fingal’s Cave”)
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Suk: Meditation on the old Czech Chorale “Saint Wenceslas”
Miloslav Kabeláč: Symphony #4 “Camerata”²
                 
11/05
2020
Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Bartók: Violin Concerto #2
Britten: Sinfonia da Requiem
Debussy: La mer
             
 
 
 
 
 
11/12
2020
Ligeti: San Francisco Polyphony
Elgar: Cello Concerto
Amy Beach: Symphony #2, “Gaelic”
                 
11/19 Beethoven: Missa solemnis                  
01/14
2021
Sarah Gibson: warp & weft
Mozart: Piano Concerto #26 “Coronation”
Schumann: Symphony #3 “Rhenish”
             
 
 
 
 
01/21
2021
Jörg Widmann: Con brio
Mozart: Sinfonia concertante for Winds
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #6, “Pathétique
                 
01/29
2021
Handel: Concerto grosso, Op. 6, #5
Vivaldi: Cello Concerto in G minor, RV 416
Rameau: Selections from Les Boréades
Vivaldi: Cello Concerto in A minor, RV 419
CPE Bach: Cello Concerto in A major
Haydn: Symphony #13
                 
02/04
2021
Kodály: Dances of Galánta
Brahms: Hungarian Dances #1, 3, 10
Brahms: Symphony #4
             
 
 
 
 
02/11
2021
Nielsen: Symphony #6 “Sinfonia semplice
Enrico Chapela: Violin Concerto²
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite
                 
02/18
2021
Lutosławski: Symphonic Variations
Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Tchaikovsky: Suite #3
                 
02/25
2021
Hannah Kendall: Kanashibari²
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #4
R. Strauss: Le bourgeois gentilhomme Suite
                 
03/18
2021
Christopher Rouse: Rapture
Nico Muhly, Sven Helbig & Zhou Long: Three Continents Concerto²
Wagner: Selections from The Ring
                 
03/25
2021
John Adams: I Still Dance
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto #2
Dvořák: Symphony #9, “From the New World”
             
 
 
 
 
04/08
2021
Mozart: Piano Concerto #20
Mahler: Symphony #5
                 
04/29
2021
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
Bartók: Piano Concerto #3
Erkki-Sven Tüür: Phantasma²
Stravinsky: Pétrouchka
                 
05/06
2021
Bach: Concerto for Two Violins
Handel: Organ Concerto Op. 7, #1
Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Cellos
Dvořák: Serenade for Strings
                 
05/14 Bach: Cantatas (selections)                  
05/20
2021
Haydn: Piano Concerto in F
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G
Mozart: Piano Concerto #9, “Jeunehomme
                 
06/10
2021
Betsy Jolas: A Little Summer Suite
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto #2
Franck: Symphony in D minor
                 
06/17
2021
Hans Abrahamsen: Horn Concerto²
Schumann: Konzertstück for Four Horns
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
                 
06/24 Tan Dun: Buddha Passion                  
Week Program 22 13 7A
7B
8C
8D
7E
7F
8G 5A SU BW

¹ World Premiere
² U.S. Premiere

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

Legend:

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 Untuxed (Fridays, reduced program)
BW Baroque and Wine (Choice of Fridays or Saturdays)

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 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.

Notes and changes:

  • 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 November 19 and February 18 concerts.
  • Conductor Emeritus Ludovic Morlot returns to the podium for the concerts on the weekend of June 10.
  • Not included above are other regular series that do not overlap with the Masterworks series: Pops, Recitals, [untitled] (contemporary music), Chamber music, Family Concerts, and Tiny Tots.
  • Last season, the Baroque and Wine series struck out on its own and had no overlap with the Masterworks series, but this season it connects back to the Masterworks series via the Four Seasons concert on October 25.
  • The Seattle Symphony Family Connections program is still going. It provides free symphony tickets for up to two children with the purchase of an adult ticket.
  • Khatia Buniatishvili is this year’s artist in residence, which I think will be very exciting. She performs on opening night and in recital.
  • Violinist Ray Chen performs in recital. No relation.
  • Once again, there is a June Beethoven Festival, commemorating the composer’s 250th birthday. It performs the complete symphonies alongside contemporary works. 1 and 3, 2 and 7, 6 and 8, 4 and 5, 9.
  • There are always one-off concerts scattered through the year.
  • Over the years, the format of the Seattle Symphony official brochure has gradually gotten closer and closer to the format of this pocket guide. This makes my job both easier and arguably superfluous.

Update: The entire 2020–2021 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Replacement concerts were held with no audience physically present and streamed live to all subscribers regardless of ticket package. Selections marked with a § symbol were part of the original 2020–2021 schedule. (The table below will be updated as the season progresses.)

Week Program
09/24
2020
Mozart: Piano Concerto #21
Beethoven: Symphony #5
10/08
2020
Korngold: Dance in the Old Style
Barber: Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings
10/15
2020
Carlos Simon: An Elegy: A Cry from the Grave
§ Shostakovich: Piano Concerto #1
§ Haydn: Symphony #104, “London”
10/22 § Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
10/29
2020
Jessie Montgomery: Starburst
§ Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Mozart: Symphony #29
11/05
2020
Thomas Adès: Three Studies from Couperin
Debussy: Danses sacrée et profane
Martin: Ballade for Flute and Orchestra
Honegger: Symphony # 2
11/12
2020
Caroline Shaw: Entr’acte
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto #2
Beethoven: Symphony #8
11/19 Brett Dean: Testament
Tyshawn Sorey: For Roscoe Mitchell for Cello & Orchestra¹
Beethoven: Symphony #4
12/17
2020
(cancelled)
Handel: Selections from Rodrigo
Rameau: Selections from Hippolyte et Aicie
W.F. Bach: Harpsichord Concerto, F. 41
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto #5
01/14 (no replacement concert)
01/21
2021
Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Trumpets
Bach: Oboe Concerto in F major
Grieg: Holberg Suite
01/28
2021
Haydn: Cello Concerto in C major
Prokofiev: Symphony #1
02/04
2021
“Hope & Harmony” (program announced from the podium)
Mendelssohn: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
Juan David Osorio López: El Paraíso según Maria
Carlos Simon: Fate Now Conquers
02/11 (no replacement concert)
02/18
2021
Chamber music concert
Juri Seo: Lost Songs
Schumann: String Quartet #2
Mozart: Serenade #12 “Nachtmusik”
02/25
2021
§ Hannah Kendall: Kanashibari²
§ Beethoven: Piano Concerto #4
§ Ravel: Mother Goose Suite
03/04 Sinatra and Beyond with the Tony DeSare Quartet
03/18
2021
“Celebrate Asia” annual concert
Takashi Yoshimatsu: Atom Hearts Club Suite #1
Dai Fujikura: Umi (“Sea”) for Orchestra²
Akira Senju: A Ba La Ka Kya IV¹
Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme
03/25 (no replacement concert)
04/08
2021
§ Mozart: Piano Concerto #20
Schubert: Symphony #8 “Unfinished”
04/29 (no replacement concert)
05/06 (no replacement concert)
05/14 (no replacement concert)
05/27
2021
Duruflé, Wagner, & Barfield
Chamber works for brass and organ
(detailed program not yet announced)
06/10
2021
Augusta Read Thomas: Magic Box
§ Prokofiev: Violin Concerto #2
Haydn: Symphony #86
06/17 Summer-themed concert
(program not yet announced)
06/24 (program not yet announced)

3 comments

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  • Avatar
    Neil Rashbrook

    It could just be flattery, or perhaps that they’re seeing visitors coming from your posts and adjusting their brochure accordingly to improve their SEO?

  • nathan moore
    nathan moore

    Will we see the “completely arbitrary march madness bracket” return this year ?