If you don’t know what you should wear to see one of the world’s best clarinet artists perform this weekend, remember: it’s the music that’s beautiful, your wardrobe doesn’t have to be.Whether you show up in street clothes or a tux, the Washington Idaho Symphony is performing 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Pullman and 3 p.m. Sunday in Clarkston. And yes, a famous, internationally acclaimed clarinetist will be performing with them.
David Shifrin is a big deal. At least that’s what Jeremy Briggs Roberts, the symphony’s musical director, said about him. For multiple decades, the Connecticut-based clarinetist has been in high demand as a soloist, recitalist and collaborator, appearing in top symphonies and concert halls in the US and around the world. And this weekend, he’s performing here.
This isn’t the first top-tier artist that has come to perform with the symphony. Every concert series, they bring in international guest artists of a caliber comparable to what a symphony attendee in Seattle or Spokane could expect to enjoy.
“It’s amazing that we’re bringing these major cultural icons into our small community,” Roberts said.
The presence of these world-class artists is part of the symphony’s commitment to be at the forefront of their field, Roberts said. And doing so means people don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to enjoy great classical music.
For the concert, Shifrin will be performing, Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto,” which Roberts described as “one of the most beautiful pieces ever written.” The concert will feature a smaller orchestra that will also perform Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4” and Schubert’s “Symphony No. 5.“
“The quality is incredible,” Roberts said. “These musicians are really topflight.”
All the musicians who perform on the stage are paid, both local and guest musicians. Each concert series — a line-up of six concerts that take place throughout the school year — costs around $15,000, Roberts said. Of that, 25 percent comes from ticket sales and the remainder is provided by donations. Ticket prices are kept comparable to other concert venues and each concert is held both on the Palouse and in the LC Valley.
The concerts in the series are varied and last around 75 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. Some are themed, but most concerts simply feature pieces that go well together. The musical selections are arranged much like a chef might put a meal together, Roberts said, so that the courses flow well from one to the next. The concerts vary in size of orchestra and instruments that are featured as solos, so that concertgoers get a different experience each time they go.
A lecture by Jane Ellsworth, Associate Professor of Music at Eastern Washington University and specialist in the history of the clarinet, will be offered at 7 p.m. Saturday, prior to the concert in the auditorium.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Washington Idaho Symphony Concert No. 3
WHEN & WHERE: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Pullman High School Auditorium, 3 p.m. Sunday, Clarkston High School Auditorium
COST: $25/adult, $15/student, $10/children 12 years and younger; tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling (509) 332-3408.
INFO: Visit www.washingtonidahosymphony.org to find out more about this and the remaining three concerts, including the 40th Annual Domey/Gillespie Young Artists Fund Young Artist Concert.