Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky featured in Symphony Tacoma’s next concert

Pianist Andrew Tyson will perform with Symphony Tacoma at the Nov. 18 Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky concert. photo courtesy of Symphony Tacoma

31-year-old pianist Andrew Tyson — called a “poet of the piano” by BBC Radio 3 and a “phenomenal musician” by La Libre — will make his regional debut with Symphony Tacoma in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major. Conducted by Sarah Ioannides, the concert will also include the Firebird Suite of Igor Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov.18 in the Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma. Sponsors include Skelley Piano and Alaska Airlines. For tickets, starting at $19.50, call 1 (800) 291-7593 or (253) 591-5894, or visit

As winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 2011, Tyson was awarded YCA’s Paul A. Fish Memorial Prize and the John Browning Memorial Prize. In 2013, he was the Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient. He is a Laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition and won the Eastern Music Festival Competition at the age of 15. Recent performances include the Chopin Society in Hong Kong; Caramoor, New York; and Piano Aux Jacobins in Toulouse, France. Later this season he performs in Music at Evergreen; with the Kansas City Symphony; and the Haydn Philharmonic Orchestra in Vienna.

Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G dates from 1929 when, after having achieved financial security through the success of Bolero, the French composer began a concerto as a showcase for his pianistic abilities. Although he was a gifted virtuoso, the resulting work proved too formidable for his talents. He decided to pass along the premiere to his protégé, Marguerite Long. Influenced by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, the concerto is among a number of compositions during this period, by different composers, reflecting the popularity of American jazz.

Also featured on the program will be Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, the 27-year-old composer’s first major full-length work. Originally scored as a ballet, and based upon a Russian folk tale, the score contains many brilliant effects, including horn and trombone glissandos (sliding between pitches) and the natural-harmonic string glissando near the beginning, which the bass chord touches off like a Catherine wheel.

Concluding the program will be Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, hailed as one of the most “towering symphonic structures in our whole literature” by music experts. The opening “fate” fanfare, centered around only three notes, reflects the two-note main motif of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, which it rhythmically recalls.

On Dec. 3, at 2:30 p.m., Symphony Tacoma will perform its annual “Sounds of the Season” concert. The annual collage of seasonal delights for the whole family, features classics from cherished TV and Christmas movies, moving choral masterpieces, and a carol sing-along. The concert will include such delights as “The Little Drummer Boy,” “The Sleigh,” “My Favorite Things,” “Joy to the World,” and many other carols. Orchestral works will include “The Flight into Egypt” from Respighi’s Church Windows, the Fantasia on “Greensleeves” by Vaughan Williams, Elgar’s “The Snow” and Prokofiev’s “Troika.” Choral works will include John Rutter’s “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,” Eric Whitacre’s “Glow,” and much more.

The whole family will enjoy this magical and hopeful musical outpouring of joy, complete with a carol sing-along and plenty of Yuletide cheer.

Each December, it is Symphony Tacoma’s special delight to collaborate with the magnificent Tacoma Youth Chorus, directed by Judith Herrington. TYC is one of Tacoma’s great gems.

Both concerts take place at Tacoma’s Pantages Theater at 901 Broadway.

Symphony Tacoma Voices perform their annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah” Dec. 14 at Chapel Hill (7700 Skansie Ave., Gig Harbor) and Dec. 15 at St. Charles Borromeo (7112 S. 12th St., Tacoma). Both concerts are at 7:30 p.m.

Chorus Director Dr. Geoffrey Boers leads the Orchestra and Symphony Tacoma Voices in Handel’s beloved holiday classic – featuring the rousing “Hallelujah” chorus. Joining them will be soprano Christina Kowalski-Holien, mezzo Melissa Plagemann, tenor Wesley Morgan and bass Charles Robert Stephens, along with harpsichordist Amy Boers and organist Coni Liljengren.

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