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Archives: Feb. 2013


Northwest Sinfonietta gives U.S. premiere of a newly-discovered strings-only accompaniment for Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto, with Andreas Klein as soloist in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup

Pianist Andreas Klein will play solo with the Northwest Sinfonietta this weekend. Courtesy photo.
Pianist Andreas Klein will play solo with the Northwest Sinfonietta this weekend. Courtesy photo.

It’s not your usual Beethoven concerto, but then the Northwest Sinfonietta prides itself on doing new twists on standards. This weekend the Tacoma-based chamber orchestra gives the U.S. premiere of a strings-only version of the composer’s fourth piano concerto with German soloist Andreas Klein.

Found recently in Bonn, Germany and passed onto Klein, the reduced orchestral accompaniment by Beethoven editor Hans-Werner Küthen might be new to U.S. audiences but would have been second nature for 19th-century music lovers. In the era before music recordings, orchestras in every town and oodles of conservatory-trained musicians, if you wanted to hear a classic you sometimes had to play it yourself with whatever instruments were to hand. Piano reductions of Mozart operas, trio versions of symphonies – this was common stuff.

Arranging for different instruments also solves a very contemporary problem – money. For the Sinfonietta and everyone else, it’s much cheaper to play a Beethoven concert with around 20 string players than it is to pay seven extra woodwinds, four brass players and a timpanist as well. Read more »


The Whidbey-based Time Traveling Trio plays multi-century music at Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Church this Sunday

A Whidbey Island-based piano trio plays music from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries in a free concert this Sunday at Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Church. Called the Time Traveling Trio, musicians Gloria Ferry-Brennan (violin), James Hinkley (cello) and Eileen Soskin (piano) will play music by Mendelssohn, Fauré, Piazzolla and Frank Bridge at 3 p.m. Feb. 17.

Ferry-Brennan, just 16, has already won awards like the Jack Kent Cook scholarship and Music Teachers National Association’s Junior String Competition. Michigan native Hinkley has played principal cello for the Glacier Symphony and Ohio Light Opera, written music for chamber, orchestra, choral and

Read more »


Tacoma Musical Playhouse launches capital campaign to support orchestra pit, bigger stage and acoustic enhancement; $1 million already raised

The Tacoma Musical Playhouse has just announced the launch of the public phase of a $1.27 million capital campaign to renovate the theater. The 19-year-old community theater has already raised $1 million in grants and private donations.

Among the renovations planned are enlargement of the stage and backstage areas, the creation of an orchestra pit (currently musicians play under an overhang to the side), acoustic enhancements to the auditorium walls and moving the sound booth to audience level.

“These changes will allow us to grow our productions and programs, and greatly enhance the TMP patron’s theatergoing experience,” says Jon

Read more »


Calling all poets: Women poets invited to reading, and new Tacoma Poet Laureate sought

Two opportunities are coming up for local poets. Current poet laureate Josie Emmons Turner invites South Sound women poets to join her in a reading at Tacoma Community College’s The Gallery, based on the current exhibition’s theme of Greek and Roman mythology. Up to 20 poets will be selected to read at 7 p.m. on April 19 in the gallery, and poems may be later published in a chapbook. Submissions should include up to three unpublished poems on the theme, no longer than two pages, in a Word document and labeled with name, address, email and phone number in the upper left-hand corner. Use 12 point Times New Roman or Georgia fonts only. Submit to facebook.com/josieemmonsturner by Feb. 28.

Any Tacoma poet, male or female, is invited to submit an application for the fifth annual Tacoma Poet Laureate program, run by the City of Tacoma Arts Commission. The chosen laureate holds the title for two years, receiving a $2,000 stipend for advancing and actively contributing to Tacoma’s literary community in meaningful ways through readings, performances, workshops, presentations, publications and/or special projects, and participating in associated programs. Read more »


Critic’s Picks: UPS piano fest, Tacoma Symphony Chorus, Tacoma Symphony Family concert and Valentine’s Day burlesque at the Pantages

William Ransom at UPS piano fest

Internationally-known American pianist William Ransom kicks off the 23rd annual Piano Festival at the University of Puget Sound tonight with a recital. The festival tomorrow showcases local middle and high school piano students, with workshops, concerts and a competition.

7:30 p.m. tonight, festival tonight and tomorrow. $12.50/$8.50/free for UPS students. Schneebeck Concert Hall, UPS, North Union Avenue and North 15th Streets, Tacoma. 253-879-6013, pugetsound.edu

TSO Chorus’ “Sonic Valentine”

Instead of a card, give a concert this Valentine’s Day. The Tacoma Symphony Chorus and University of Washington Chamber Singers team up for a “Sonic Valentine” in the reverberant First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tacoma. They’ll be singing luscious ear candy from Mendelssohn to Eric Whitacre to indie pop hit “Cells Planets.” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9. $20. First Presbyterian, 20 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma. 253-591-5894, broadwaycenter.org

Tacoma Symphony strings’ family concert Read more »


Two passionate choral Valentines: from Seattle’s Pro Musica at Trinity Lutheran and from Tacoma Symphony Chorus at Slavonian Hall, Old Town

TSO Chorus conductor Geoffrey Boers in action. Courtesy image.
TSO Chorus conductor Geoffrey Boers in action. Courtesy image.

Want to get some Valentine’s Day credit in advance? Then take your honey to hear some passionate choral music this weekend, sung on Sunday by visiting Seattle choir Pro Musica in Parkland’s Trinity Lutheran and on Tuesday by the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra Chorus at Slavonian Hall, Old Town.

First, Pro Musica: Conducted by the choir’s director Karen Thomas, the 40-year-old choir will sing love songs by Samuel Barber, madrigals by Morten Lauridsen, and the premiere of Thomas’ own setting of “Wild Nights,” a more-than-suggestive poem by Emily Dickinson. Expect lush contemporary and neo-Romantic harmonies in the church’s resonant acoustics.

The TSO Chorus concert is in the cozy Slavonian Hall in Old Town, and it’s part of the monthly free Classical Tuesdays in Old Town series. Read more »


Cirque du Soleil finally shows its human side in the innovative, sexy “Amaluna,” now on at Marymoor Park, Redmond

Cirque du Soleil's "Amaluna," now at Marymoor Park. Courtesy image.
Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna,” now at Marymoor Park. Courtesy image.

Cirque du Soleil represents the pinnacle of stunning circus spectacle – anyone who’s seen a show or a video can tell you that. What it doesn’t often represent, though, is ordinary humanity – fun, unpredictability, joy. Which is why its newest show “Amaluna,” just opened at Redmond’s Marymoor Park, is such a treat. Not only is this Shakespeare-inspired production the most cohesive, narrative and plot-driven Cirque show for a while, it’s one of the most innovative, with new apparatus and theatrical elements that allow both phenomenal physical skills and some simple human joys we can all relate to.

That’s not to say everything’s perfect in the “Amaluna” world. Based loosely on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” “Amaluna” gives the original a feminist spin (thanks to guest director Diane Paulus), which definitely honors female acrobats but gets a little tiresome in characterization. The sorcerer Prospero becomes Prospera (lead singer Julie McInnes), who makes grand gestures but has a one-dimensional mystique and rather grating alto (though she does have a fantastic electric blue cello). Surrounding her and protecting her daughter Miranda is every female mythical character known to mankind: goddesses, spirits, Amazons, Valkyries, pre-Raphaelite heroines, even a gal bespelled as a peacock. Heading up the shipwrecked sailors and bent on winning Miranda’s love is – wait for it – Romeo (Shakespeare fans, feel free to gag here.) In the middle of all this estrogenetic tumult are two clowns who, like all Cirque du Soleil clowns, achieve complete unfunniness in an irritating, repetitive way while severely embarrassing the audience.

But these are minor quibbles. Despite the plethora of myths “Amaluna” actually holds together both plot and theme, unlike many Cirque shows, and that’s thanks to Paulus, who’s not afraid to insert purely theatrical elements into the circus splendor. Read more »


Tacoma City Ballet starts search for Krakatuk in advance of their new “Nutcracker” prequel this December – find your nut now

krakatukTacoma City Ballet is finally doing a different “Nutcracker” – and it’s starting now. Not the ballet itself, which will be a locally-choreographed prequel to the familiar story of Clara and the magic nutcracker-Prince who takes her to a fantastical land of sweets. No, what’s happening now is a challenge to search local businesses to find the nut itself, which TCB director Erin Ceragioli calls “Krakatuk” and which (temporarily) exists in physical form for lucky readers to find for prizes.

After 15 years of faithfully recreating as close to the original Russian “Nutcracker” as she could, Ceragioli is now creating her own story. Opening on Dec. 7, 2013, the prequel involves a beautiful princess under a curse by the evil Mouse Queen, a curse which must be broken by the magical Krakatuk Nut and whoever cracks it.

To stir up interest, Ceragioli has hand-made several gold-painted nuts in jeweled cases, and will hide them each month at a different business in downtown Tacoma. If you find one, you keep it, plus additional prizes such as ballet tickets or merchandise. Read more »