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Season Concert

Symphonic Dances

Kinan Azmeh, clarinet
June 9, 2024
3:00 pm
Mount Baker Theatre


Kinan AzmehSuite for Improvisor and Orchestra
Sergei Rachmaninoff | Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

We’re wrapping up another unforgettable season of live music with an exhilarating program, featuring contemporary composer Kinan Azmeh and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Come celebrate our season finale and get a sneak peek at our programming for next fall!

To start the program, composer and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh brings his Suite for Improvisor and Orchestra to the stage. Born in Syria and currently based in Brooklyn, Azmeh is a genre-bending composer and musician who has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, John McLaughlin, and more. Azmeh composed the Suite for Improvisor and Orchestra as a fusion of music cultures with each movement calling back to a memory from his life in Syria and living as an immigrant in New York. The first movement, titled 139th Street, harkens to Azmeh’s years living in Harlem and features the Malfuf - a 2/4 percussion rhythm popular in Middle Eastern music. The second movement, November 22, mimics the sounds of the markets in Damascus behind his parents’ home during a Thanksgiving visit 6 years after his arrival in the U.S. The final movement, The Wedding, is inspired by a Syrian village wedding. As Azmeh describes the work, “I like to think this piece is inspired by a multitude of traditions, without being limited by any of them…I feel like I belong to several traditions by default. I think all of us do, actually.” Azmeh will be in attendance and performing the improvised clarinet part during this performance.

In the second half, we close out our season with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s grandiose and energetic Symphonic Dances. Composed in 1940, Symphonic Dances is Rachmaninoff’s final masterpiece and the only one of his works to be composed entirely during his time in the United States. The work, with its wild rhythms and unique presence of the alto saxophone, is somewhat of a precursor to what we now recognize as the “Hollywood sound.”

Plus, attendees at our season finale will receive a sneak peek at our upcoming season and special early-bird savings on Season Subscriptions!

This afternoon is sure to inspire and energize you for the fabulous summer ahead!

“...[Kinan Azmeh is] a lavishly talented, intensely soulful Syrian clarinetist”
-The New York Times

Of Note

Kinan Azmeh's compositions include several works for solo, chamber, and orchestral music, as well as music for film, live illustration, and electronics.

Symphonic Dances was originally called Fantastic Dances. Rachmaninoff had originally intended the dances to be part of a ballet by Michel Fokine; however, Fokine passed away in 1942, only two years after the work was composed.

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Tickets: $15 to $52

A Pre-Concert Lecture about the program will take place at 2:15PM in the Walton Theatre. Doors open at 2PM and seating is limited, so please plan accordingly. These lectures are free for ticket-holders.

This concert qualifies for Classical Kids, Take-A-Teen, and Student Rush ticket discounts. Visit to learn more.

*All programs subject to change