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Opening the November-December 2012 Concert Series

Seattle’s classical music lovers filled the Benaroya Symphony Hall to its capacity to hear Neeme Järvi conduct Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Arabella Steinbacher, violinist.  After Järvi’s first performance, Seattle Classical Music Critic, Philippa Kiraly, writing for the Seattle Times newspaper, summed up her observations as follows: “Remarkable violinist and conductor were masterful pair at the Seattle Symphony.  

From her first notes, it was clear that Arabella Steinbacher is a violinist not to be missed.  The young musician from Munich, Germany, showed both intelligence and nuance in her interpretation.  It was her tonal beauty that set her apart.  No doubt, some of her sound quality could be attributed to her Stradivarius.  Guest conductor Neeme Järvi gave Steinbacher excellent support in this familiar work.”   “Throughout the concert, which also included a Suite form Tchaikovsky’s “The Snow Maiden” and Sergey Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 6 in E-flat Minor, the Sixth Symphony of Prokofiev was the heavyweight of the evening.  The powerful symphony is a troubled portrait of post-World War II feeling in Russia, which was brilliantly portrayed by the composer.  It was superbly performed by Järvi, conducting the Seattle Symphony Orchestra”.   Prior to the three performances by Neeme Järvi, a small group of Settle Estonians got together with Neeme Järvi and his lovely wife Liilia for an evening of cocktails and dinner at the renowned Rainier Club, the historic gathering place of the Turn of the Century Timber Barons, such as the Weyerhaeusers, the Popes, the Blodels and others.  Lively discussion ensued about the need to build a world-class Opera House in Estonia.  The existing Estonia Theater twin performing halls are too small in terms of stage size and audience seating capacity to stage world-class opera and ballet performances.  The issue always becomes a matter of money.   One of the three Neeme Järvi concerts was sponsored by the Microsoft Corporation.  Representing the Microsoft Corporation at the reception and dinner was Microsoft’s Senior Marketing Manager Ingrid Christina (Kask) Rauch.  All eyes focused on Ingrid with the silent wish “can the Microsoft Corporation step up and make a contribution to the Estonian performing arts?”  One day we may discover that what once was a wish is now a reality.   At the conclusion of the third concert, a smaller group of Seattle Estonians gathered behind the performance hall stage to bid farewell to Neeme and Liilia.  At that time, one of the musicians nearby was heard saying that “Orchestras often consider conductors to have feet of clay, but not this one.”   Mart Kask  


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