The recession must indeed be over if local chamber groups like the Northwest Sinfonietta are confidently planning a season full of international collaborations, A-grade soloists and world premiere compositions. That’s what’s in store for NWS audiences in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup, with soloists such as Awadagin Pratt and Cecile Licad, two performances with Cuban musicians and a range of composers from Mozart to Kodály.
“What’s not to like?” says NWS executive director Neil Birnbaum, and he’s right, especially if you’re a fan of the way the Tacoma-based chamber orchestra used to program its concerts pre-recession – with unusual works and stylish programs. Heading up the whole season is a performance of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, the Choral, featuring a dream line-up of soloists for this beloved work that the Tacoma Symphony is also playing this May: Jennifer Bromagen, Sarah Mattox, Stephen Rumph and the rafter-shaking Clayton Brainerd, along with PLU’s Choral Union. Also on the program is Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona. Why? Because augmenting the NWS are musicians from Cuba, playing side-by-side with American musicians for the first time in this country since the Cuban revolution, thanks to the Sinfonietta’s bridge-building Cuba tour in January. As with every program, the concert will be repeated in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup.
It’s hard to follow that, but pianist Cecile Licad will probably do a fine job with Chopin’s second piano concerto (again, another TSO echo) in November, with Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella” and a Filipino composer’s premiere to boot. Pianist Andreas Klein follows in February with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 4 (plus Sibelius, Debussy and Bizet’s “Carmen”).
Awadagin Pratt conducts and plays Mozart plus a composition by Sinfonietta director Christophe Chagnard in April; and Tchaikovsky Competition gold medalist, violinist Mayuko Kamio playing Bruch in May. Add in a live accompaniment to Charlie Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush” in March and another Sinfonietta tour to Cuba in January, and you’ve got an orchestra that’s well and truly charging ahead.
For information and tickets, call 888-356-6040 or visit www.nwsinfonietta.org