While the Seattle Symphony officially kicks off its 2015–16 season with its Opening Night Gala Concert this Saturday (September 19), the classical action really gets underway on Tuesday with the inaugural Seattle Symphony Piano Competition. Seven pianist from the United States and abroad come together to vie for a grand prize that includes $10,000 and a spot performing at the Seattle Symphony Opening Night Gala Concert. Unlike most prestigious piano competitions of its ilk, the Seattle Symphony Piano Competition is entirely open to the public. Best of all, the opening round and semifinal performances on Tuesday and Wednesday are free with a RSVP. Tickets for the finals on Friday are $15.
The opening round on Tuesday features a special treat a (in addition to a piece by Ravel and one of their own choosing) the competitors' will play Premonitions, a new jazz-based composition by Portland composer Kenji Bunch that was commissioned by Seattle Symphony specifically for this event. After eliminating one of the pianists, Wednesday's semifinal round features the remaining contestants playing one American and one French piano concerto. Three finalists will square off on Friday night with more American and French piano concertos, this time with the full backing of the Seattle Symphony. The performers will be judged by a panel that includes the Symphony's music director Ludovic Morlot, president and CEO Simon Woods, and artist in residence, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The crowd will also have a chance to have their voice heard by voting an Audience Favorite Award.
Seattle Symphony Piano Competition
Sept 15–18, Benaroya Hall, Free