The 2023/2024 Seattle Symphony subscription season at a glance

Raymond Chen

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.

Week Program 21 13 7A
7B
7C
7D
7E
7F
8G 4A
09/21
2023
Massenet: Phèdre Overture
Honegger: Pastorale d’Été
Schubert: Symphony #8 “Unfinished”
Wagner: Götterdämmerung selections
             
10/05
2023
Rimsky-Korsakov: “The Three Wonders”
 from The Tale of the Tsar Sultan
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto #1
Stravinsky: The Firebird Complete (1910)
             
10/19
2023
R. Strauss: Don Juan
Reena Esmail/Kala Ramnath:
 Concerto for Hindustani Violin
Gubaidulina: Fairytale Poem
R. Strauss: Death & Transfiguration
             
11/09
2023
Brahms: Piano Concerto #2
Elgar: Symphony #2
             
11/16
2023
Anna Meredith: Nautilus
Lauri Porra: Entropia Concerto for Electric Bass
Sibelius: Symphony #5
             
11/30
2023
David Robertson: Light Forming, A Piano Concerto
Mahler: Symphony #5
             
01/04
2024
Dvořák: Cello Concerto
Rachmaninov: Symphony #2
             
01/25 Lang/Huppertz: Metropolis soundtrack              
02/01
2024
+ Jörg Widmann: Con brio
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5 “Emperor”
R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben
             
02/08
2024
Perry: A Short Piece for Orchestra
Mozart: Violin Concerto #3
Shostakovich: Symphony #9
             
03/07 Bach: St. John Passion              
03/14
2024
Sebastian Fagerlund: Stonework
Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Nielsen: Symphony #4 “Inextinguishable”
             
03/21
2024
Donghoon Shin: Of Rats and Men
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto #1
Prokofiev: Symphony #6
             
04/04
2024
Dorothy Chang: Northern Star
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Copland: Appalachian Spring
             
04/11 Mahler: Symphony #3              
04/18
2024
Weber: Overture to Oberon
Lutosławski: Cello Concerto
Dvořák: Symphony #6
             
04/25
2024
Salina Fisher: Rainphase
Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Vaughan Williams: Symphony #7 “Antarctic”
             
05/16
2024
× Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
× Additional works announced from stage
+ Unsuk Chin: subito con forza
+ Barber: Violin Concerto
+ Beethoven: Symphony #1
             
06/06
2024
Fazil Say: Grand Bazaar
× Prokofiev: Piano Concerto #3
+ Prokofiev: Piano Concerto #2
Walton: Symphony #1
             
06/13
2024
John Adams: Tromba lontana
Beethoven: Symphony #5
John Adams: Harmonium
             
06/20
2024
Jake Heggie et al: Elements Concerto
Brahms: Symphony #2
             
Week Program 21 13 7A
7B
7C
7D
7E
7F
8G 4A

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

Legend:

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.

Update: The + and × symbols in the chart above indicate changes to the program schedule since its original publication. The 6/13 concert originally programmed the Beethoven as the final piece.

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  • Don Hacherl 0

    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.

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