Thomas Dausgaard Starts 2020 with Powerful Programs

Thomas Dausgaard, the Seattle Symphony’s dynamic new Music Director, launches the new year with a pair of programs featuring contrasting violin concertos by Soviet composers — Shostakovich and Weinberg.

By Andrew Stiefel

If you couldn’t get tickets for the sold-out performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with Thomas Dausgaard at the helm, you’re in luck. Make sure you grab them now, because the Seattle Symphony’s dynamic new Music Director has two upcoming concerts with the orchestra starting January 30.

Dausgaard’s collaboration with the orchestra began in 2014 with his appointment as the Symphony’s Principal Guest Conductor. Even before his first concerts as Music Director, Dausgaard and the orchestra established themselves on the international stage with two widely acclaimed recordings of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony and Nielsen’s Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4.

Together, Dausgaard and the musicians of the Seattle Symphony continue their collaboration with two programs featuring major symphonic works by Dvořák, Nielsen and Tchaikovsky, plus an intriguing pairing of concertos by Shostakovich and Weinberg.

Shostakovich & Nielsen (January 30 & February 1)

For his first weekend of concerts on January 30 and February 1, Dausgaard returns to music from his home country of Denmark with Carl Nielsen’s exuberant Symphony No. 1. The work is a gripping ride from the first notes to the triumphant finale and represents the composer’s first major foray into establishing his unique musical style.

The first half of the program features the brilliant violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja in Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1. Known for her depth of playing and theatrical performances, Kopatchinskaja will bring an insightful interpretation to the composer’s deeply personal concerto.

Completed a few years after his censoring by Soviet authorities, Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto uniquely spans four movements instead of the traditional three. The first movement, entitled Nocturne, cries with a lyricism not often heard in Shostakovich. Often described as “relentlessly difficult,” the concerto builds to a wild burlesque in the final movement, showing off the soloist’s virtuosity and spirit.

Tchaikovsky, Weinberg & Dvořák (February 6 & 8)

If you can make it to both weekends, you’ll enjoy a unique pairing to the Shostakovich with Mieczysław Weinberg’s rarely performed Violin Concerto. Violinist Gidon Kremer joins Dausgaard and the orchestra to perform the Seattle Symphony debut of the concerto, February 6 and 8 at Benaroya Hall.

Greatly influenced by his mentor and friend Shostakovich, Weinberg’s prolific output was not well known outside the Soviet Union until after the Cold War. Through solo performances and recording projects, Kremer has helped raise global awareness of Weinberg’s work in recent years.

The concerto itself follows Shostakovich’s four movement model. The muscular first movement gives way to the beauty of the second movement, which reflects the melodies of Weinberg’s Jewish upbringing. The finale, in typical Russian fashion, celebrates the heroism underscored with irony that we often associate with Shostakovich.

The rest of the program is filled with the large, romantic orchestrations that have distinguished Dausgaard’s collaboration with the Seattle Symphony. The concert opens with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture and concludes with Dvořák’s stirring Symphony No. 8.

Extend Your Experience

For those who would like to experience these incredible violinists up close, the Seattle Symphony has planned recitals with Kopatchinskaja and Kremer in Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center, the newly opened contemporary performance space at Benaroya Hall. Kopatchinskaja and soprano Ah Young Hong perform Gÿorgy Kurtág’s electrifying Kafka Fragments on January 29 and Kremer explores music by J.S. Bach and Weinberg on February 5.

Explore the concert calendar and book early to secure your seats for two exciting weeks with Music Director Thomas Dausgaard and the Seattle Symphony.

Explore the calendar

Posted on January 17, 2020