The Spokane Symphony is busy the next few weeks, playing their annual crowd-favorite shows at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars and then Pavillion and Comstock parks. These outdoor concerts help celebrate the fading days of summer, but it's the upcoming season — performed mainly indoors at the Martin Woldson at the Fox Theater that we're most looking forward to.
Below are the performances you'll be remiss to miss. Get all your ticket information here.
Opening Night Sept. 17-18
You may recall the flying whale scene in Disney's Fantasia reboot back in 2000. That animated vignette was set to the music of Respighi's Pines of Rome, which the Spokane Symphony will perform to close out its opening weekend performance of the 2016-2017 season. You can choose to imagine whales bursting through clouds while listening to this piece, or ruminate on something else. Either way, the final minutes of this will take your breath away. The weekend also features master violinist Philippe Quint (who once left his $4 million Stradavarious in the back of a New York taxi cab) playing the U.S. premier of the "Tropoi" Violin Concerto.
The Rach 2 Oct. 8-9
It's one of the most obvious piano concertos out there, and one of the best. So when the New York Philharmonic Artist-in-Association pianist Inon Barnatan comes to play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, you'll need to go hear it live. The piece is romantic to the core. Plus, any Celine Dion fans out there will recognize the interlude from her version of "All By Myself."
Beastly Mahler Oct. 22-23
Gustav Mahler is a beast of a composer, giving musicians a full body workout from start to finish. And his Symphony No. 3 is the most monstrous of them all — clocking in at nearly two hours, it is the longest piece played by most orchestras around the world today. Calling the performance A Hymn to Nature, the Spokane Symphony enlists the help of the Symphony Chorale, the women of the Whitworth University Choir, the Spokane Area Youth Choir and alto soloist MaryAnn McCormick. Your mind will certainly wander during this one, but it will be worth it in the end.
Wands (batons?) at the Ready Oct. 29
John Williams' Harry Potter film scores will soon be on full display just in time for Halloween. That's right, the Spokane Symphony is playing selections from all of the Potter films and, similar to last year's Star Wars event, people are encouraged to dress up. As part of the interactive event, concertgoers can also select a Hogwarts house to be a part of. The 2 pm matinee show is best for kids, and the 8 pm performance is more so for adult fans.
Intersect Nov. 4, Jan. 13, March 10
Ditching the name Symphony with a Splash, this year's collaborative event series is now called Intersect. The program looks to reel in folks who may not have been to a symphony show before, combining the talents of local artists, chefs, bartenders, pop musicians and of course the Spokane Symphony, who will largely play modern works here. Check out the Astor Piazzola piece being played for the tango-themed Intersect evening.
Before Andrew Lloyd Webber came around, there was the 1925 silent film version of Phantom of the Opera, among others. Continuing its Symphonic Film at the Fox series, the symphony will perform the soundtrack as the scary black and white masterpiece appears on screen. The makeup alone is enough to give you nightmares.
The Russian Soul March 25-26
At just 25, American violinist Benjamin Beilman comes to Spokane to perform one of the most technically difficult works of all time — Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. The composer only wrote one violin concerto in his lifetime, probably because he put all of the things in this one piece.
The other Requiem May 6-7
The final classical concert of the season closes out with the operatic Verdi's Requiem, which is about as full scale as possible with choir and soloists accompanying. The below clip is beyond terrifying and perfect to play loudly in the morning when no one in your house is getting out of bed. There's no way you can fall asleep listening to this one.