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Tag: Pantages Theater Tacoma


Tacoma Symphony plays Brahms, Beethoven and work by young Tacoma-born composer Alexandra Bryant at the Pantages this weekend

Composer Alexandra Bryant. Courtesy photo.
Composer Alexandra Bryant. Courtesy photo.

You may have heard of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, but this Saturday night it’s Brahms, Beethoven and Bryant – Alexandra Bryant, that is, a young Tacoma-born composer whose work “Strange Attractors” is getting a professional performance thanks to the Tacoma Symphony. The Pantages concert will be led by Paul Haas, the second of four candidates auditioning for the position of musical director, and will also feature Stephanie Leon Shames playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 3, as well as the Brahms Fourth  Symphony.

To be headlining two of the other great “B” composers is an honor, but it’s one Bryant deserves. Daughter of TSO violinist Andrea Bryant and a good violinist in her own right, Bryant grew up in Tacoma leading the UPS and Tacoma Youth symphonies. She went on to study composition at the Cleveland Institute and Rice University, and is currently finishing up her Ph.D. in composition at the University of Maryland. Her review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “a promising young composer” was picked up by TSO director Harvey Felder, who’d also been told by various orchestra members that he should listen to her work. Bryant’s “Strange Attractors” had in fact been premiered by the Tacoma Youth Orchestra in 2010, and it was this that Felder chose for Saturday’s “See Change II” concert, following a mission in this season to offer new works that had only one or two previous performances.

“I’m definitely excited about it,” said Bryant, who’ll be in town this week to work with Haas on the piece (and visit family, of course). “It’s a good feeling that what you’re doing is considered worth hearing.”

Read more »


Whim W’Him brings eclectic, dynamic dance to the Pantages

The Whim W'Him dance ensemble. Courtesy photo.
The Whim W’Him dance ensemble. Courtesy photo.

Dancing on a whim? When it’s Oliver Wevers’ troupe, that’s exactly what happens. Coming to the Pantages this Saturday is a contemporary dance ensemble that’s rocked Seattle and beyond in the three years it’s been around, and even the group’s name highlights the main focus of creativity and spontenaity – Whim W’Him.

The group officially began in 2009, but founding director Oliver Wevers has been getting attention for his award-winning choreography since 2002. The Belgian dancer is a former principal at Pacific Northwest Ballet, but now he’s getting commissions from the likes of Spectrum Dance Theater and the Seattle Dance Project, and winning awards like California’s 2011 Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival. Whim W’Him fuses dance talent from a variety of disciplines bringing original and fresh work across demographics. Read more »


Circus Oz is coming to town: Get discounted Pantages tickets and free parking, or catch a free STAR Center preview

Look out for these three Circus Oz posters around Tacoma. Image: Slide Sideways.
Look out for these three Circus Oz posters around Tacoma. Image: Slide Sideways.

If you haven’t heard of Circus Oz, then listen up: Australia’s national circus has been doing wacky, breathtaking human circus for seven years longer than Canadian megolith Cirque du Soleil, with a uniquely Australian style of humor and live onstage music. And now they’re bringing it to Tacoma’s Pantages Theater, with shows on February 1 and 2. But if you’re on a budget there’s even better news: The Broadway Center is partnering with Tacoma design duo Slide Sideways to create a poster-discount ticket deal, and with Metro Parks to offer a totally free preview at the new STAR Center.

First the discount. Find all three one-of-a-kind Circus Oz posters, designed by Slide Sideways, which were posted around Tacoma last week. Snap a photo and share on Facebook or Twitter (make sure you tag the Broadway Center), then rock up to the box office (or call) and mention the deal to access $30 tickets. (Regular tickets start at $39.)

And now for the freebie: In collaboration with Metro Parks Tacoma, Circus Oz members will be giving a free one-hour preview of their show, with acrobatics, juggling and more, at the new STAR Center (3873 S. 66th St., Tacoma) next Wednesday Jan. 30 at 4:30 p.m. Read more »


Mexico’s Mariachi Vargas and Washington’s Mariachi Huenachi meet at the Pantages this Sunday

Mariachi Huenachi from Wenatchee High School. Courtesy photo.

It might be a long way from Mexico to Washington, but with music the distance evaporates. This Sunday at the Pantages Washington’s premiere high school mariachi band, Mariachi Huenachi (from Wenatchee, of course) will open the show for the band widely regarded as the world’s best: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. For the Wenatchee students it’s not only their first time in Tacoma, it’s the highlight of a touring schedule that has them taking mariachi joy around the state.

“We play a lot of places – Seattle, Idaho, the Mariners, we even opened for the Seahawks,” says Ramon Rivera, director of the three bands (including Mariachi Huenachi) that make up the mariachi program at Wenatchee High School. “But this is even better. It’s a great honor for our program to be playing with the best in the world. These musicians are (our) idols. The students are so excited; it’s beyond surreal.” Read more »


Muscly virtuosity from Leon Bates and atmospheric playing from Tacoma Symphony make a pleasant, if not thrilling, season opener

It seemed like the perfect combination for a season opening: a jazzy first half, a terrific pianist, a new piece and an ocean-themed centerpiece. But despite some impressive playing, the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s concert last Saturday in the Pantages was less thrilling than it might have been, thanks to Leon Bates’ relentless keyboard attack, some balance issues and Debussy’s “La Mer” falling a little short of opening-night grandeur.

All was well for the first piece, Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture,” which the TSO played with rhythmic aplomb (after an initial rockiness in the percussion) and a smooth big-band sound from the brass, although it would have been nice to hear the woodwinds more, including the subtle clarinet cadenza. This problem persisted through the evening into the wind-colored Debussy, and makes you wonder if putting winds and brass on more risers would help overcome the extreme deadness of the Pantages’ acoustic.

On to Bates, then, who plays just like the bodybuilding enthusiast he is: muscly tone, firm attack and meaty hands that could eat Gershwin concertos for breakfast. Read more »


Tacoma Symphony Orchestra takes to the sea for its season opener with Leon Bates this Saturday at the Pantages

Pianist Leon Bates will play with the Tacoma Symphony this weekend. Courtesy photo.

The Tacoma Symphony might be launching into a creative and unusual season this year including video game music, new compositions and a double bass concerto (watch the GO cover in November for the story) but for the season opener this Saturday at the Pantages it’s straight-down-the-line Gershwin and Debussy, featuring bodybuilding pianist Leon Bates as soloist and taking its theme from the ocean.

Bates will play in the Gershwin half of the program, playing the jazz composer’s Concerto in F after the orchestra opens with the Cuban Overture. Known both for fiery, energetic performances and his two-hour-a-day dedication to bodybuilding (the two might just be related), Bates is one of the soloists TSO director Harvey Felder wanted to invite back to perform during his last two years at the orchestra’s helm.

“Leon played with us seven or eight years ago,” says Felder. “He’s a gracious, kind gentleman and a superb musician. During my last two years I’m inviting guest artists I’ve worked with who are both gracious and excellent players. He was first on the list.” Read more »


Beethoven’s triumphant Ninth Symphony closes the season for Tacoma Symphony Orchestra this Saturday at the Pantages Theater

The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra and chorus and prominent local soloists join forces Saturday night for the season finale, a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, the “Choral.” One of the most beloved and influential pieces in all Western classical music, the symphony includes the famous fourth movement “Ode to Joy.” A contemporary piece written about the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and a Strauss waltz complete the program, held at Tacoma’s Pantages Theater.

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was the composer’s last, written in 1824 when he was already deaf. After a stunning premiere it went on to take its place as not only one of classical music’s most beloved pieces but as one of its seminal works: It was the first time a chorus had been used in a symphonic work (singing Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” in the final movement) and the beginning of the large 19th-century symphony style. Adopted as the European anthem, it was played to celebrate the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and has been used as a musical symbol of peace throughout the world. Read more »


Critic’s Picks: Flamenco at UPS, DASH “Cinderella,” Tacoma Concert Band at Pantages and the Tacoma Youth Chorus at Christ Episcopal

Flamenco at UPS

See world flamenco master Teo Morca with Tacoma dancer Marisela Fleites in a crackling duo show at UPS tonight, alongside singer Vicento Griego and guitarist Gerardo Alcala. 7:30 p.m. tonight. $8. Norton Clapp Theater, Jones Hall, University of Puget Sound, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma. 253-879-3419, tickets.pugetsound.edu

Tacoma Concert Band with flutist Jim Walker

Flute virtuoso Jim Walker, billed as the late Jean Pierre Rampal’s “favorite flute player,” is the soloist for the Tacoma Concert Band’s performance this Saturday in a program including Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Copland. 7:30 p.m. April 28. From $16. Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-591-5894, broadwaycenter.org, tacomaconcertband.org Read more »