Rainier Symphony opens season Oct. 11 at Foster PAC

The Rainier Symphony kicks off its new season Oct. 11-12 with classics by Mendelssohn, Mahler and Rachmaninoff at Foster High School.

Nikolas Caoile

The Rainier Symphony kicks off its new season Oct. 11-12 with classics by Mendelssohn, Mahler and Rachmaninoff at Foster High School.

This is the first season in about a dozen years without music director David Waltman conducting the orchestra.

Waltman retired after the last season; he’ll be replaced by a series of guest conductors this season while the symphony searches for a new music director.

This season, the symphony will perform all of its Saturday and Sunday concerts at the Foster Performing Arts Center. In the past it has also performed at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center.

Guest conductor for the first concert is Nikolas Caoile, who is a music director for a number of Northwest orchestras and director of orchestras at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

For its first concert the symphony will perform Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) Overture,” Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer” and Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances.”

Guest artist for the Mahler piece is mezzo-soprano Melissa Schiel, an assistant professor of voice at Central Washington University.

Initially, the symphony had hoped to replace Waltman by year’s end, but that timeline proved unrealistic, according to Eric Tishkoff, president of the Rainier Symphony Board of Directors.

The symphony board will conduct a “high-quality search” over the next roughly two years, he said. The process will include inviting the finalists to conduct the symphony next season. Applications will be available later this year.

Besides searching for a new music director, the symphony will reach out to the community more. It wants to collaborate with students in the Tukwila School District at a performance, Tishkoff said. The students would provide a multi-media backdrop to the music.

The symphony board is also recruiting members from the community as possible board members. Now, all board members perform with the symphony. Anyone interested in serving on the board can email the board at questions@rainiersymphony.org.

The season

• Classical Concert I

Guest Conductor, Nikolas Caoile

Saturday, Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12, 3 p.m.

Felix Mendelssohn, “The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) Overture”

Gustav Mahler, “Songs of a Wayfarer”

Sergei Rachmaninoff, “Symphonic Dances”

• Holiday Concert

Conductor, John Welsh

Friday, Dec. 12: 7:30 p.m.

• Classical Concert II

Guest Conductor, Robert Collins

Saturday, Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 8, 3 p.m.

• Classical Concert III

Guest Conductor, Edward Higgins

Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 19,  3 p.m.

• Classical Concert IV

Guest Conductor, Johan Louwersheimer

Saturday, May 16, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 17, 3 p.m.

All concerts are at the Foster High School Performing Arts Center, 4242 S. 144th St., Tukwila. Adult tickets are $17 and $12 for students (children 12 and younger are free) and seniors (62 and older). Season tickets are $80 for adults (five concerts) and $55 for seniors and students.  Ticket information is available online at www.rainiersymphony.org.

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