The 2023/2024 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. We stopped going to the symphony as a group years ago, but I still create this pocket guide out of tradition.
Here’s the at-a-glance season guide for the 2023/2024 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.
The 2023/2024 season marks the 25th anniversary of the symphony’s first season in its current home, Benaroya Hall, and the opening concert on September 21 is a recreation of the opening concert from 25 years ago.
The position of music director remains vacant for a second full season, and a series of guest conductors will take the podium for this season’s concerts, with the symphony’s Conductor Emeritus Ludovic Morlot wielding the baton for the opening concert of the season as well as one additional concert.
|Massenet: Phèdre Overture|
Honegger: Pastorale d’Été
Schubert: Symphony #8 “Unfinished”
Wagner: Götterdämmerung selections
|Rimsky-Korsakov: “The Three Wonders”|
from The Tale of the Tsar Sultan
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto #1
Stravinsky: The Firebird Complete (1910)
|R. Strauss: Don Juan|
Reena Esmail/Kala Ramnath:
Concerto for Hindustani Violin
Gubaidulina: Fairytale Poem
R. Strauss: Death & Transfiguration
|Brahms: Piano Concerto #2|
Elgar: Symphony #2
|Anna Meredith: Nautilus|
Lauri Porra: Entropia Concerto for Electric Bass
Sibelius: Symphony #5
|David Robertson: Light Forming, A Piano Concerto|
Mahler: Symphony #5
|Dvořák: Cello Concerto|
Rachmaninov: Symphony #2
|01/25||Lang/Huppertz: Metropolis soundtrack|
|Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5 “Emperor”|
R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben
|Perry: A Short Piece for Orchestra|
Mozart: Violin Concerto #3
Shostakovich: Symphony #9
|03/07||Bach: St. John Passion|
|Sebastian Fagerlund: Stonework|
Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Nielsen: Symphony #4 “Inextinguishable”
|Donghoon Shin: Of Rats and Men|
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto #1
Prokofiev: Symphony #6
|Dorothy Chang: Northern Star|
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Copland: Appalachian Spring
|04/11||Mahler: Symphony #3|
|Weber: Overture to Oberon|
Lutosławski: Cello Concerto
Dvořák: Symphony #6
|Salina Fisher: Rainphase|
Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Vaughan Williams: Symphony #7 “Antarctic”
|Vivaldi: The Four Seasons|
Additional works announced from stage
|Fazil Say: Grand Bazaar|
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto #3
Walton: Symphony #1
|John Adams: Tromba lontana|
John Adams: Harmonium
Beethoven: Symphony #5
|Jake Heggie et al: Elements Concerto|
Brahms: Symphony #2
Insider tip: Click a column header to focus on a specific series. (This feature has been around for several years, actually.)
|21||Masterworks 21-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)|
|7C||Masterworks 7-concert series C (Thursdays)|
|7D||Masterworks 7-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)|
|4A||Masterworks 4-concert series A (Friday afternoons)|
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, 7C and 7D are the same concerts; the only difference is that 7C is for Thursday nights, while 7D is for Saturday nights.
Notes and changes:
- The Baroque and Wine series has been dropped. No explanation was given, but the story I heard is that it was poorly attended.
- The Watch and Listen online streaming series has been rebranded as Seattle Symphony+ and remains complimentary to donors at the Friends level or higher. Technically, you can also buy the series separately, but it costs more than the membership, so you may as well get the membership. However, unlike last year, the Seattle Symphony has not announced which concerts will be streamed, so it doesn’t appear in the schedule above.
- A new three-concert Playlist Series consists of programs selected by the featured soloists.
- The 7[AB], 7[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 21-concert series by taking all three.
- The 13-concert series is the same as the 7[CD] and 7[EF] series combined, minus the May 16 concert.
- The Family Connections program provides free symphony tickets for up to two children with the purchase of an adult ticket.
- This is the second year of a two-year Prokofiev piano concerto cycle.
- Composer Joe Hisaishi returns for a week of special events culminating in a concert of new music as well as music from his Studio Ghibli film scores.
- 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.
I can confirm, the Baroque and Wine series had terrible attendance. I don’t know overall numbers, but last weekend there were only four seats occupied in our 16 seat row and the rest of the hall looked similarly vacant.