In Memory of Jack Benaroya
Last week, the Seattle Symphony lost a dear friend in Jack Benaroya, who passed away at the age of 90. On Monday, May 14, his memorial service was held in Benaroya Hall’s S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium and featured music and remarks from several of Jack’s friends and family members. The below remarks, shared by Jack’s friend and colleague Joel Benoliel, attest to Jack’s vision and his tremendous power to unify.
Jack Benaroya, 1921 - 2012
Everyone in this room understands how fitting it is for this memorial to be held in the building that bears Jack’s name. It is a lasting tribute to his foresight, his leadership and his generosity that Seattle has a first class venue for its Symphony Orchestra.
But, you may not realize another reason that it is so fitting and appropriate for us to be in this hall. That is because Jack was himself a master conductor.
Yes, as a real estate developer, he was a maestro. I know because I played in his orchestra. I sat in my seat as one of his principal performers. Next to me sat his architect, his engineer, his leasing agent, his real estate brokers, his landscape architect, his construction contractor, his accountant, his property managers, his maintenance crew, his project managers, his construction supervisors, his tenants, his bankers and his mortgage lenders. All of us had an instrument to play in Jack’s symphony orchestra.
Jack was not titled or accredited in any of those “instruments” himself. But, with his vision and his leadership, with his keen intellect and unmatched work ethic, he challenged each of us to play to a higher standard. He made me a better lawyer and a better real estate developer. He made the architect a better architect, and so on. Together, with rapt attention to his Cross mechanical pencil baton, we made beautiful music together for many years. We created great spaces that worked on all three levels: esthetics, function and financial success. These are the three legs to the stool that all commercial real estate sits on. If one was out of balance with the others, we couldn’t make the beautiful music together that he envisioned and that he heard in his head when he spoke to us and described what wanted.
For me, as one of the maestro’s many musicians, I can always close my eyes and hear the sweet music that we made together, and Jack will forever be the conductor, making eye contact with each one of us, one at a time as he surveys the orchestra. We know he is asking us to be our very best. And, we will always do our very best for him.
Today, as we listen to the music of remembrance, think of Jack waving his baton. He was our maestro.
The Seattle Symphony dedicates its performances of Mozart’s Requiem on Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, to the memory of Jack Benaroya. Tickets available here.
Subscribe and be Entered to Win a Victoria Getaway for Two!
Subscribe to the 2012–2013 Seattle Symphony Season by June 9, 2012, and be entered to win a Victoria getaway courtesy of Clipper Vacations and the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour.
Contest Rules and Regulations
HOW TO ENTER
If you become a 2012–2013 Seattle Symphony Season subscriber by June 9, 2012, you will automatically be entered to win a Victoria getaway, compliments of Clipper Vacations and the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel.
Recently renewed your 2012–2013 Seattle Symphony Season subscription? If you have renewed your subscription between January 11, 2012 and May 9, 2012, just send in your name, address, phone number and subscriber number to email@example.com to be entered to win.
NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER. See Official and General Rules below for all terms and conditions.
THE PRIZE PACKAGE
Once entered, the winner will be randomly selected on June 14, 2012, and announced and notified via phone by Seattle Symphony on June 15, 2012. The selected winner will win a prize package that includes:
- A certificate from Clipper Vacations redeemable for a round trip travel for two adults from Seattle, Washington, USA, to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
- A certificate from the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel redeemable for two consecutive nights’ accommodation for two adults in a standard room at the hotel.
Approximate retail value (ARV) of package is estimated at USD One Thousand Dollars (USD 1,000). Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received.
Sponsor of Prize: Clipper Navigation, Inc. (US) (“Clipper Vacations”) and the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel (Canada)
Entry: One entry per person. One entry per household (regardless of whether one person has more than one address or more than one person uses the same address).
Entry Dates: Entries will be accepted from May 9, 2012 to June 9, 2012. Entries must be received by 5:00 P.M. (17:00PST) June 9, 2012.
Methods of Entry: There are three methods of entry:
- Any person who becomes a 2012-2013 Seattle Symphony Season subscriber or renews an existing subscription to the 2012–2013 Seattle Symphony Season during the period from May 9, 2012 to June 9, 2012, will be eligible for the prize if they meet all the eligibility requirements herein, and are automatically entered into the draw, unless notified to the contrary.
- Any person who has previously become a 2012–2013 Seattle Symphony Season subscriber or renewed his or her 2012–2013 Seattle Symphony Season subscription between January 11, 2012 and May 8, 2012, and sends in his or her name, phone number, address, and subscription number to firstname.lastname@example.org is eligible for the prize if he or she meets all the eligibility requirements herein.
- Any person who submits his or her name, phone number and address to the Seattle Symphony during the period from May 9, 2012 to June 9, 2012 is also eligible for the prize if they meet eligibility requirements herein. Entries may be made via e-mail to email@example.com or via mail to:
Attention: Victoria Get-Away Contest
The Seattle Symphony
200 University St.
Seattle, WA 98101.
The winner will be randomly selected on June 14, 2012, and announced and notified on June 15, 2012.
Details of the Prize: The Prize consists of one (1) round trip for two adults on the Victoria Clipper from Seattle, WA, USA to Victoria, BC, Canada, as well as two (2) consecutive nights’ accommodation for two (2) adults in a standard room in the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel. Prize redemption is taken as a whole and subject to availability at the time reservations are made. All expenses and costs associated with the acceptance or use of any prize that are not expressly specified in these Official Rules as being part of the Prize including, without limitation, airfare or other transportation to or from port of departure; ground transfers; shore excursions; hotel service charges; personal onboard expenses; or applicable passport, visa and entry/exit fees, are the responsibility of the winner. The prize covers room charges only; the winner is responsible for all added charges and fees including all food and beverage, telephone, and other ancillary charges above and beyond the room charge. Prize is subject to the contracts provided by Clipper Vacations and Victoria Marriott Harbour Hotel and applicable terms and conditions set forth in said materials. Guests under the age of 21 years (whether that be the Prize winner or not) must be accompanied by a parent, relative or guardian 21 years or older. The Prize is non-transferable, non-refundable, non-negotiable for cash, may not be resold, and cannot be used as partial payment toward a different Clipper Vacations and/or a Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel package(s) other than that assigned. No substitution of the Prize or any component thereof is permitted, except in the discretion of Clipper Vacations and Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel, which reserves the right to substitute the Prize for a prize of equal or greater value.
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Guest Post: Wheel. Of. Fortune!
Seattle Symphony Group Sales Manager Kate Gargiulo dissects two excerpts from Carl Orff’s Carmina burana — the powerhouse piece for orchestra and chorus we’re performing on Friday and Saturday. (Tickets here.) This music will shake you, make you laugh, and give you a whole new perspective on the minds of Medieval monks. Read on.
Carmina burana is a brilliantly complex and exciting work. From heroic fanfares to sorrowful laments, it is an action-packed masterpiece.
O FORTUNA: THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
O Fortuna, the spine-tingling opener (and closer) of Carl Orff’s Carmina burana, launches us into Orff’s settings of secular songs from the Manuscript Collection of Benediktbeuren. Told in the first person by a single narrator, O Fortuna gives a personal account of the capricious nature of fate.
The narrator portrays fate as an obscure messenger of pain and suffering, as well as the bringer of happiness and triumph. Orff represents the dual nature of fate with opposing dynamics, textures and harmonies. O Fortuna is also written in two distinct choruses. In the first half, the narrator describes how fate has assaulted him and, in the second, the narrator discusses the happiness fate has brought him. He ultimately surrenders himself to its whims.
The earth-shaking opening music — “O Fortuna, velut luna, statu variabilis” (“O Fortune, variable as the moon”) — is juxtaposed with a quiet, homophonic choral section: “semper crescis aut decrescis” (“always doth thou wax and wane”). In this thin texture, the narrator first describes fate as a being that turns a wheel to determine the future. The dense texture returns for the conclusion and a heroic fanfare rings as the chorus sings the final line, “quod per sortem sternit fortem, mecum omnes plangite!” (“let us mourn together, for fate crushes the brave!”). Here, Orff creates poignant irony between the bright fanfare and the less-than-upbeat text.
OLIM LACUS COLUERAM: SWAN SONG OVER A SPIT
Later in the work, Orff takes us to the tavern where men, women, clergy and soldiers indulge in their vices, particularly drinking and gambling. While in the tavern, we meet the main course: a fire roasted cygnet (a.k.a, a young swan). The swan laments as he rotates on a spit in preparation for the feast. He mourns himself and tells us about his former life in the wild (and describes his demise in graphic detail).
Orff employs several techniques to convey the misery, torture and fate of the cygnet. Performed by a solo tenor in a painfully-high range, the timbre is haunting and fragile. The strophic form is representative of the rotisserie’s rotation and can be interpreted as a reference to fate’s turning wheel in O Fortuna. The piece is punctuated by three homophonic exclamations of “Miser, miser! Modo niger et ustus fortiter!” (“O miserable me! Now I am roasted black!) at the end of each strophe. The cygnet’s transformation from a free, water-dwelling thing of beauty to a charred, succulent main course reminds us of the cruel, erratic and unavoidable nature of fate described in O Fortuna.
Enticing, right? There’s definitely more, and it’s even bigger and brasher. Get your tickets here.
Text and translations from Carl Orff: Carmina Burana, EMI Records Ltd/Virgin Classics 2004. Wheel of Fortune image by pds319, via Flickr. Goose image by NatalieMaynor, via Flickr.
Maestro Schwarz blogs for Adaptistration
Read the Maestro’s guest post at Adaptistration:
I am completing my twenty-sixth, and final season as Music Director of Seattle Symphony and that has given me a chance to reflect on some events that occurred during my tenure. I would love to share with you one of my favorite stories of one individual who has become a devotee of symphonic music and classical music in general.
Who is this mysterious person? What won him over? Find out here!
Explore Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5
It’s a powerhouse weekend at Seattle Symphony. French virtuoso pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins the orchestra for Gershwin’s jazzy Concerto in F. Plus, world-renowned American conductor Leonard Slatkin takes the podium to conduct Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. One of the most popular symphonies of all-time, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth will take you on an emotional journey from utter despair to pure joy. Read on for a description of the dramatic first movement, and listen via YouTube as you go. Want to learn more? Check out the complete program notes and get your tickets online for performances this Thursday through Saturday.
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor: Andante–Allegro con anima
The first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony has the drama of an entire multi-movement Romantic Symphony in one 15-minute package. Perhaps the most striking element is the leadership of the woodwinds, especially the solo clarinet, who opens and closes this movement.
The clarinet begins the Andante, accompanied by the strings. The mellow colors and descending lines of the clarinet solo have a sobering effect on the listener; however, this theme will return with unforeseeable angst in the Allegro section.
The Allegro begins with an ostinato figure in the strings which serves as the accompaniment for the woodwind duets. The clarinet and bassoon enter with a duet of light, dotted, dance rhythms. Notice that the first few notes of this dance theme is drawn from the clarinet solo during the Andante introduction – this material becomes the source of all the musical conflict in this movement, as the different sections of the orchestra fight to claim the melody.
After the initial statement of the dance theme, the flute joins with an ascending run and instantly changes the timbre of the orchestra. After the flute solo, the strings and woodwinds engage in a musical battle that starts, innocently enough, with a simple call and response section between the winds and strings. The third response from the strings initiates an antagonistic fanfare from the brass and timpani and the return of the clarinet theme of the Andante.
The battle for the dance theme continues in each section of the orchestra: from brass fanfares to pizzicato string interludes, and woodwind quartets to fleeting orchestral tuttis that seem never to resolve. Finally, a stunning climax features a repetition of the dance rhythm and a brass ostinato. Immediately after, sections of the orchestra begin to drop out and the woodwinds continue dance theme. The movement ends with a bellow from the lowest voices of the orchestra.
The first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 is wrought with drama. The irresistible dance rhythms and array of orchestral colors make this an exciting and wild ride for the listener. As the first movement fades into memory with a decrescendo in the strings, the exhausted listener can’t help but wonder, “What’s next?”
Guest Post by Kate Gargiulo
Guest Post: A Great Dane
Assistant to the Guest Conductors Alex Prior talks about his life-changing experience with Guest Conductor Thomas Dausgaard, who led the Orchestra in late March.
In March, we were all blessed with the appearance of Thomas Dasugaard as our Guest Conductor. It is such a rare occasion when a conductor has everything, from musicality, to understanding of the music, to rehearsal technique, to background research…set to perfection — and this is exactly what Maestro Dausgaard did. He created a perfect program, got amazing results from the Orchestra, and left a trail of kindness and goodness behind him.
The choice of the Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 4 was brave, but Maestro Dausgaard carried the intensity of the music, the shape, the form, the drama, the story from start to finish — and not for a second did this intensity lapse. The work isn’t played too often, and for me this was the first time I heard it, and by the end of the concert, I had fallen in love with it. The choice of Rachmaninov’s Fourth Piano Concerto also was great: it is played much less often than the other concertos, yet is a work of no less beauty or greatness — so I’m glad Maestro chose it. He conducted this with grace and dignity, rather than the sentimental way in which Rachmaninov is too often played. The soloist, Arnaldo Cohen, played the work with strength and reserved but adamant passion — exactly the way it should be. Perfection!
For the end of the concert, the Maestro conducted the very popular Sibelius Fifth Symphony. In a way, conducting a work that is so often performed and so well known is harder for a conductor, because there’s much less room for error, but Maestro Dausgaard came to the very first rehearsal knowing EXACTLY what he wanted, and getting it — in a polite and friendly manner. This is the first time I’ve listened to Sibelius 5 and agreed totally with the interpretation of the work and with the meaning that the conductor has set behind it.
Maestro Dausgaard was conducting to get musical results, not to put on a show for the audience. And when it is all about music, that’s when the audience is touched most. The way he describes his inspiration, being part of something greater, something we cannot reach — when in nature — is how a true musician should sound. This was one of the highlights for me.
What was just as heartwarming was the way he interacted with his wife and his three sons. At the end of the day, music is the communication of human emotions, so to do this well, we must be people, not just music machines.
The appearance of this great Dane has been hugely inspirational to me; I feel I have made a great connection and friendship with him and his family, and must say I rather miss Thomas Dausgaard, the conductor and the person.
Guest Post: Alexander Prior Reflects on the First Leg of His American Journey
Our newly appointed Assistant to the Guest Conductors, 17-year-old wunderkind Alexander Prior, talks about his American Dream. Read on.
In October 2008, I went to Miami, Florida to audition several amazing young soloists as part of a TV series I was leading, which was rather non-empathetically entitled The World’s Greatest Musical Prodigies. I had to audition and choose 4 young soloists, and then write a quadrouple concerto for them (it ended up being called Velesslavitsa). I was quite amazed by the level of playing of the American players I met — it was almost absurd! It wasn’t their technical side, but rather their ability to express so much, such deep feeling, and their ability to connect. It also was great to see tat they were such charming people, as well as amazing musicians.
I started to look into American players in general, orchestras and, not least, composers. Since then, I’ve developed a fascination — verging on obsession — with everything American. Well, perhaps everything is an overstatement, but certainly the cultural, rural, Romantic, Americana, and Human side to this vast and great land.
I quickly realized that the passion for arts, the vastness of the countryside and of people’s thinking, and most of all the positive, can-do attitude, made America the place I wanted to live, breathe and work, both as a conductor and as a composer.
So, now, thanks to Seattle Symphony, I have been given the chance to start my chosen path — and what a start it’s been! Just landing at the SeaTac airport is an experience in itself: what, with the Olympics, Mt. Rainier and the Puget Sound…such a beautiful place! I am lucky enough to look north over the Space Needle and beyond from my apartment, when every now and then the mountains show themselves behind their veil of cloud and rain.
I’ve already had the joy to personally meet many of the Orchestra members, each and every one of whom are extraordinary personalities and musicians. I’ve met many of the visionary administrative and Board staff, and have already had a chance to discuss and propose many of my ideas. And, most important, I’ve been given the extraordinary chance to rehearse Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Orchestra, an opportunity which is by no means given to anyone, and they sure did do a fantastic job.
Anyhow, these are my first, albeit romantic impressions, and I am sure that they are just the beginning!
See Alex lead Seattle Symphony in Prokofiev’s woodland adventure, Peter and the Wolf , this Saturday, March 13, at 11am. Limited tickets available! Get yours now.
Guest Post: Karissa Zadinsky on the Moser Master Class
Like Aaron Hall, young cellist Karissa Zadinsky is ready to dish on the Johannes Moser Master Class. Here’s what she has to say:
The master class with Johannes Moser at Benaroya Hall was a fabulous learning and performance experience.
It was extremely helpful to have the time to warm up with my pianist on stage for a short sound check. Everyone backstage was very supportive and excited. Before going on stage, Mr. Moser told me where I should stop, so it was reassuring to know how far I would be playing. I was slightly embarrassed because I spent some time thinking of what to wear (a fancy dress), and when I saw him, he was wearing a sweatshirt and jeans!
Last year, I heard Moser at Benaroya Hall playing Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with Seattle Symphony. His performance was absolutely beautiful and moving. At that time, I knew that Rococo would be my next concerto to learn during the summer, so it was especially exciting for me to listen to his interpretation of the piece. However, I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to play the same piece for him in a master class nine months later!
It was incredibly beneficial to work him and learn how he produces such a wide range of expressive sounds. He even played my cello, which was very fun to watch. After the master class, photographs were taken and I received his autograph on my music score. Performing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations for one of the true masters of the piece was tremendously inspiring. The class has given me many new ideas for my cello playing and I will always remember the fantastic experience.
Guest Post: Cellist Aaron Hall on the Moser Master Class
Arlington native and high school cellist Aaron Hall reacts to the Johannes Moser Master Class. Read on:
The Johannes Moser Master Class was a helpful experience for me. He helped me realize what character my sound brings to the audience; we worked to improve the technical aspect of producing a larger, bolder sound that expresses what I intend the music to mean to the audience. He said, “As a small piece of advice, I would try to set points of focus in the hall during your performance: just choose somebody in the audience in row ten and ‘send’ your sound there.” During one part of the class, he played on my cello, and it was notable that he could play greater focused sound than I’ve been able to.
Mr. Moser was encouraging, but insistent when he found room for improvement. He is a precise teacher, and he worked on details that made a big difference to the listener.
This master class was the best I’ve participated in, in my 10 years of cello study.
Guest Post: Carlene Brown Reflects on African American Culture and Classical Music
In advance of Guest Conductor James DePreist’s week in Seattle — featuring a FREE evening conversation with the Maestro on Wednesday and a World Premiere Cello Concerto with Joshua Roman — Carlene Brown, Assistant Professor of Music at Seattle Pacific University and director of its Music Therapy program, offers a reflection on African American culture and its ties to classical music. Read on for her thoughts.
While attending a concert at Benaroya Hall to hear a Seattle Symphony, I have thought on more than one occasion: are Principal Timpanist Michael Crusoe and I the only two African Americans in this hall? A cursory glance of my surroundings would allow me to think this is possible.
The relationship between African Americans and classical music may appear to be non-existent to many of us, but in fact I am fortunate to be aware of chronologies that document our contributions to the genre, that list names of Black composers of instrumental, opera and choral music. Professional ensembles composed of African American musicians, such as The Young Eight, the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, or the Harlem Quartet are also visible demonstrations of our cultural recognition of the importance of embracing classical music.
Such American history means that African Americans should and do claim pride in the ownership of this genre and, yet, we are still too few in number. What would it take to garner more interest? I believe the answer lies simply in music education at an early age. Exposure to how to play an instrument well, demystifying how music is made, and understanding the contributions from various composers, would develop personal tastes over time and the desire to hear good music live. That’s what made the difference for me — I was raised by a single mom who insisted that piano lessons for her children were as important as the books we read.
I will be among many who will be thrilled and proud to see Maestro James DePriest stand before Seattle Symphony this week.
Don’t miss Maestro DePreist in concert, May 28, 30 & 31, and in conversation on May 27 at 6pm in Soundbridge, corner of Second Avenue and Union Street.