seattle symphony

When else are you going to break out your tux and tails?

"Be inspired." It's the theme for the upcoming Seattle Symphony season, and you have to admit: Even classical-music naifs and haters would find something interesting on the 2013–14 calendar.

Seattle Symphony opens its new season September 15 with the annual gala and concert, featuring virtuoso pianist Lang Lang—a Chinese-born superstar who plays like every concert is his last—performing Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto on a program of folk dances by Borodin, Brahms, and Dvořák. Music director Ludovic Morlot will launch the Masterworks series later that month with an all-Ravel concert, including both of the composer’s piano concertos, performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet; meanwhile, his predecessor Gerard Schwarz will lead the orchestra in an evening of Strauss, featuring pianist William Wolfram on Strauss’ Burleske, in March, and in Mozart's final three symphonies (nos. 39, 40, and 41) in May. Morlot will also take the orchestra on a road trip to NYC in May—to play Carnegie Hall as part of the Spring For Music 2014 festival.

Now, the flip side: Seattle Symphony has invited rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot to join for Sonic Evolution, an evening of world premieres by young composers inspired by Seattle’s rock and jazz legacy. Past shows paid tribute to Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Nirvana, and local hip-hop heroes Blue Scholars; this season Ray Charles, Bill Frisell, and Sir Mix will be remixed—we can only imagine what the orchestra will do with "Baby Got Back."

Also back by popular demand: Joshua Bell and Pink Martini (not on the same bill—heads would explode); the Symphony Untuxed series of shorter, no-intermission concerts that kick off with happy hour; the [untitled] series of modern chamber works performed late night in the Benaroya lobby (this season’s lineup includes George Crumb’s Black Angels for electric string quartet and Stockhausen’s Inori, conducted by Morlot and accompanied by a pair of mimes); and the return of Hitchcock’s Psycho on the big screen, with the score played live by the symphony on back-to-back nights around Halloween.

Read on for the full season and subscription information.