Two very different premieres from Seattle and Taiwan will finish up the Northwest Sinfonietta’s season this weekend, as well as a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto by Brittany Boulding, the ensemble’s concertmaster. The shows in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup will feature a new symphony by Seattle opera composer Thomas Pastieri, plus “Remembrance” by Taiwanese composer Gordon Chin.
One of Taiwan’s most prolific and popular composers, Gordon Chin has a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music, and writes large-scale dramatic classical music. His new work “Remembrance,” a fantasy commissioned by the orchestra with the support of the local Taiwanese community, is based on a folk song of the same name which the composer heard over and over again on the train he took to piano lessons as a child. The tune’s theme of yearning and homesickness struck him even more when he left home to study music at 13, says Chin in his program notes, and for this composition he has infused the melody with even more sadness, “like seabirds crying while flying low under a gloomy sky, or like an ancient wind disturbing the shadow of trees on a window in the cold night…”
The composer was also influenced by the governmental crackdown on students during the Sunflower protests against trade agreements with China this spring, which he witnessed personally.
The other composition is the third symphony written by Thomas Pasatieri, a well-known Seattle opera composer who was a child prodigy pianist, studied with renowned Paris teacher Nadia Boulanger and was the Juilliard School’s first doctoral degree recipient. The symphony is another commission by the Sinfonietta and, like the Chin work, will see its world premiere this weekend in the orchestra’s three concerts.
Says Pasatieri, via email: “ The symphony…features the overall theme of enjoying life and having fun. There is nothing tragic in this piece, unlike many of my other compositions.”
The symphony moves from a first movement celebrating sunshine, through a second movement about the American sense of humor, a third movement about romantic love and finally an ode to American cities.
“In a sense this symphony is a love letter from me to the American people and our way of life,” the composer says.
Rounding out the program, and the 2013/14 season, will be Rossini’s overture to “The Barber of Seville” and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D op. 61, played by Brittany Boulding. Concertmaster of the Sinfonietta, Boulding has played as soloist and concertmaster around the country, including with the Seattle Symphony. She’s also a member of the Boulding family in Olalla, performing in their annual Magical Strings Celtic Yuletide concerts since she was 6 and making numerous recordings with them.
The Northwest Sinfonietta’s 2014/15 season features another premiere by Gordon Chin, a Gypsy night with violinist Bella Hristova, a premiere by Tacoma composer Greg Youtz, cellist Julian Schwartz playing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo variations, an all-Mozart aria concert and a guest performance by Cuban musicians Aldo López Gavilán and the Harlem Quartet. Subscriptions: 888-356-6040, northwestsinfonietta.org
7:30 p.m. May 16 at Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle. $42. 866-833-4747
7:30 p.m. May 17 at Rialto Theater, 310 S. 9th St., Tacoma. $27.50/$40/$55/$60. 253-591-5894
2 p.m. May 18 at Pioneer Pavilion, 330 S. Meridian Ave., Puyallup. $40. 800-838-3006