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UW Symphony with Craig Sheppard, piano

  • Craig Sheppard, piano

David Alexander Rahbee conducts the University of Washington Symphony in a program of music by Grażyna Bacewicz, W.A. Mozart,  Florence Price, and Antonín Dvořák. With faculty pianist Craig Sheppard, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24, K. 491 in C minor with the orchestra. 


Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969): Overture 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Piano Concerto No.24, K.491, in C minor 
I. Allegro
II. Larghetto
III. Allegretto
Craig Sheppard, piano


Florence Price (1887-1953): Andante moderato (Movement 2 from String Quartet No.1, arranged for string orchestra)

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904): Otázka (Question)
Orchestrated by David A. Rahbee

Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No.8, in G major, op.88
I. Allegro con brio
II. Adagio
III. Allegretto grazioso
IV. Allegro ma non troppo


Craig Sheppard plays the cadenza by Murray Perahia in the first movement of Mozart K491, with kind permission of Mr. Perahia.

Program Notes


Overture (1943)

Grażyna Bacewicz was one of the first major female composers from Poland to gain international recognition. Born in Łódź to a Lithuanian father and a Polish mother, she exceled from an early age at the violin and entered the Warsaw Conservatory when she was just 19 years old. After graduating in 1932 as a violinist and composer, she moved to Paris to study with the famed teacher Nadia Boulanger, whose students around that time included the likes of Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, and Astor Piazzolla. After completing her studies, she returned to Warsaw where she served as principal violinist of the Polish Radio Orchestra, a position which gave her the opportunity to hear much of her own music. Following the outbreak of World War II, she continued to compose and give secret underground concerts in defiance of Nazi occupation. It was during this time that she composed this Overture for orchestra, a piece which showcases her ability to write virtuosic-sounding music for each section of the orchestra in turn.



Piano Concerto in C minor, K. 491 (1786)

 Mozart composed this concerto during the same winter he was completing work on his opera The Marriage of Figaro. While that opera is almost entirely written in major keys, this piano concerto is one of his few minor key works. Indeed, it seems entirely reasonable that Mozart might have found an outlet for the darker side of his artistry to shine though in this piece at the same time he was completing a comic opera. Mozart himself was the soloist at the premiere in April 1786 at Vienna’s famed Burgtheater. While commonly labeled as the Piano Concerto No. 24, modern scholarship has shown that Mozart composed only 21 truly original concerti for piano and orchestra during his lifetime.

 This is perhaps the most advanced work Mozart ever wrote in the concerto genre. The shadowy opening theme of the first movement introduces us to all 12 pitches of the chromatic scale before finally settling on the key of C minor, something highly unusual for the time. Another notable innovation is the introduction of a brand-new second theme during the soloist’s exposition, a device which subverts the traditional idea that the function of the opening orchestral tutti is to predict what the soloist has to say. The primary theme of the second movement seems rather simple and naive by comparison, creating a stark contrast against the stormy intensity of the first. This movement provides wonderful moments for all the woodwinds to shine, with the clarinets in particular pompously stating a new theme which seems to evoke rustic, almost peasant-like music. The third movement is a masterclass in theme and variation form, setting the stage for a brilliant finale. The theme is subjected to all manner of orchestration, passing between strings, winds, and soloist alike in both major and minor key areas. The coda surprises the audience both by shifting to a new rhythmic time signature and by desperately proclaiming the triumph of the minor mode. 


from String Quartet No. 1 in G major: II. Andante moderato (1929)

 Florence Price (née Smith) was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1887, one of three children of a mixed-race family. Her father was the only African American dentist in the city, while her mother was a music teacher. She published her first composition at the age of just 11 and went on to study organ and composition at the New England Conservatory of Music. She returned to the south in 1910, where she married lawyer Thomas J. Price. After a series of racial incidents in Little Rock, including the lynching of a black neighbor in 1927, her family eventually settled in Chicago.

Price’s works have received a long-overdue resurgence in recent years. Her idiomatic melodic language, inspired by the music of African American spirituals, makes her music both highly accessible and uniquely American. This arrangement of the slow movement of her first string quartet showcases her ability to write for classical European instruments within her own unique and deeply expressive idiom.


Otázka [Question] (1882), orchestrated by David Alexander Rahbee

The three works on the second half of our program will be performed continuously, without any pause for applause between them. This ‘Question’ by Dvořák is an eight-measure fragment of music which was written to a friend of his. Discovered in the 1930s, it was subsequently published as a part of his complete works. The fragment is in G minor, ending on an unresolved half-cadence, which feels desperate to resolve into a new phrase, such as the one which begins the…


Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 (1889) 

Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony is a work of tremendous joy and exuberance, although its opening theme would not lead you to believe so. Indeed, the idea of beginning a symphony in G major with a theme in G minor was one seldom, if ever thought of before or since. And yet this solemn melody gives way to an almost capricious ‘bird-call’ announced by the flute, a simple yet highly distinctive motive which will pervade the entire symphony. From here we are off to the races; we hear the pulsating rhythms of life, feelings of bucolic euphoria, and the occasional dramatic outburst, winding its way through a first movement as well-crafted and imaginatively orchestrated as any Dvořák ever composed.

The second movement feels in many ways like a dialogue between two unknown speakers. This is felt in the contrast between minor and major mode themes, melodies passed between winds and strings, extreme contrasts of loud and soft, and especially within the juxtaposition of dense chorale-like writing and beautifully simple, folk music-inspired passages. One might even be tempted to draw a comparison to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, in which a bright summer’s day is interrupted by a fierce thunderstorm.

The typical expectation of the third movement of a symphony is a lively and charismatic scherzo, yet Dvořák here provides us with a melancholy waltz. This has the feeling of an ‘intermezzo’, not unlike the third movements of Brahms’ First and Third Symphonies. Indeed, Brahms was a great supporter of the young Dvořák, who in turn felt always indebted to Brahms, the greatest living master of the symphonic tradition.

The fourth movement finale begins with a fanfare of trumpets, which in Dvořák’s native Bohemia were generally seen as a call to the dance, rather than a call to battle. In this complex theme and variations, the cellos take the first turn, just as they had done in the opening of the first movement. Dvořák then progresses through richly varied and highly dramatic variations, including a tempestuous middle section which modulates from major to minor several times. After seemingly coming to a quiet and peaceful rest, the orchestra suddenly erupts into a highly-chromatic coda, bringing the symphony to a noisy yet jovial conclusion.

-Ryan D. Farris

University of Washington Symphony Orchestra

David Alexander Rahbee, Music Director and Conductor
Ryan Farris and Daren Weissfisch, Assistant Conductors


Katelyn Campbell, Biochemistry, Applied Music (Orchestral Instruments)

Cassie LearDMA Woodwinds

Rachel ReyesDMA Woodwinds

Grace Jun, MM Woodwinds

Lorin Green, DMA Woodwinds


Katelyn Campbell


Lexi Doremus-WesselsMM Woodwinds

Kamil TarnawczykBA Oboe, Music Theory


English horn

Kamil Tarnawczyk, BA Oboe, Music Theory



Adelle Ngo, Pre-Nursing

Megan Rideout Redeker, Music Performance


Bass Clarinet

Emerson BowlesAstronomy



Ryan KapsandyBA Bassoon, Engineering

Pascal LovreChemistry



Nick BawcomMusic (Brass)

Nicholas HidyMusic (Brass)

Yao Hwang, Engineering

Ben JohnsonMusic (Brass)

Anna PerryMusic (Brass)



Carter ArchuletaBiological Physics, Astronomy

Hans Faul, Trumpet Performance

Jennifer StumpMathematics


Neal MuppidiPhysics, Music

Jonathan ElsnerMathematics


Bass Trombone

Duncan Weiner, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, Linguistics



Joel Horton, Brass Performance



Abigail GeorgePercussion Performance, Physics

Rose Martin, DMA Percussion



Logan Bellenkes, Percussion Performance

Abigail GeorgePercussion Performance, Physics



Dalma AshbyViolin Performance

Caleb AndersonViolin Performance

Ido AvnonComputer Science, Education

Terra Bronson, Education

Quentin Brydon, Pre-Nursing

Kai-En ChengEconomics

Maya DasilvaLaw, Societies, and Justice

Lyle DengComputer Science

Raymond DoerrMaterials Science and Engineering

Kate EverlingPre Sciences

Nicholas GjordingMolecular Biology

Terri JiMusic Theory

Kara JohnsonArchaeology

Allison KamSpeech and Hearing Sciences, Linguistics

Mia KimEngineering

Joy LiPre Sciences

Meiqi LiangPublic Health-Global Health, Nutritional Sciences

Alexander MetzgerComputer Science

Lucy Maki-FernBiology (Molecular Cellular & Develop)

Paige MichalMusic Education

David MokComputer Engineering

Nagato OritaPre major (Bothell Campus)

Grace PandraViolin Performance

Hannah Peña-RuizMusic (Strings)

Bianca PonnekantiPhysics, Astronomy

Sean SasakiMusic

Selina SiowMusic (Strings)

Mackenzie SnowMusic (Strings), Japanese Language & Literature

Ethan Wu, Biochemistry

Hao XuComputer Science

Ling Yang, Pre-sciences

Victoria ZhuangPre Sciences



Elena AllenApplied Music (String Instruments), Biochemistry

Flora CummingsViola Performance

Alissa HarbaniBioengineering

April LiMathematics, Physics, Astronomy

Angielena LuongPre Sciences

Mari MorikawaBiology (Physiology)

Meghna ShankarComputer Science, Physics

Kareena SikkaBiology

Mica Weiland, Applied Music (String Instruments)

Randy Zhang, Computer Science



Bashir Abdel-Fattah, Mathematics

Sarah Johnson, Cello Performance

Katherine Kang, Engineering

Bennett Olsen, Geography: Data Science

Ignacio (Nacho) Tejeda, Mathematics

Isabella Tucker, Research Scientist - Harborview Medical Center

Ann-Marie Vo, Chemistry

Kaito Yan, Engineering


Alejandra (Ale) Heringer, English

Amelia Matsumoto, Engineering

Eddie Nikishina, BM Music Performance

Elise Soper, Engineering

Beau Wood, MM Jazz Studies and Improvisation


Piano Professor Craig Sheppard

Craig Sheppard is Professor of Piano and Head of Keyboard at the School of Music of the University of Washington in Seattle.  He is also Professor of the Advanced Innovation Center at the China Conservatory in Beijing, and his former students hold positions in conservatories and universities throughout the world. 

A veteran of over fifty years on the international stage, in the past few seasons he has performed both Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues and Bach’s The Art of Fugue in venues throughout the United States, as well as London, Manchester (UK), Jerusalem, Shanghai and Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall, in addition to giving masterclasses at all of the above. 

As recording artist, his LPs and CDs have appeared on the Sony, Chandos, Philips, EMI and AT-Berlin labels.  He has published 26 CDs with Romeo Records (NY) since 2005, including the complete Beethoven sonatas (Beethoven: A Journey), the Six Bach Partitas, the Inventions and Sinfornias, both books of The Well Tempered Clavier, the last three Schubert sonatas, Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage I and II, Debussy’s 24 Preludes and 12 Études (including both books of Images and Estampes), the 24 Preludes and Fugues of Shostakovich, Late Piano Works, Opus 116-19,  of Johannes Brahms, and Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of Fugue).   

Within the past two decades, he has traveled many times to the Far East for performances and masterclasses, including Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.  He has performed at the Nehru Memorial Library in New Delhi, held a residency at the Melba Conservatory in Melbourne, Australia, and performed three times in New Zealand, including the first ever public performances of both books of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier. Most recently, he performed the Complete Chopin Nocturnes at the Museu do Oriente in Lisbon.

Born in Philadelphia in November, 1947, Craig Sheppard graduated from both the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School, studying with Eleanor Sokoloff and Sasha Gorodnitzki respectively.  He also worked with Rudolf Serkin and Pablo Casals at the Marlboro Festival, and later with Ilona Kabos, Peter Feuchtwanger and Sir Clifford Curzon in London.  During his early years, in addition to a successful début at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, he won top prizes in the Busoni, Ciani, and Rubinstein competitions.  However, it was his Silver Medal at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1972 that brought him to international attention.  Moving to London in 1973 and living there for the next twenty years, Sheppard taught at Lancaster University, the Yehudi Menuhin School, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  He also performed on multiple occasions with all the major British orchestras and with many on the European continent, under such conductors as Sir George Solti, Erich Leinsdorf, Kurt Sanderling, James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas, Aaron Copland, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir John Pritchard, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Zinman, and Leonard Slatkin. In the United States, he has performed with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, San Francisco, Rochester and Seattle, and many others. 

Craig Sheppard’s solo repertoire is eclectic, comprising nearly fifty solo recital programs and more than sixty concerti covering a wide spectrum within the Western canon.  He also has a great love of chamber music and has collaborated with many great instrumentalists and singers, including Wynton Marsalis, José Carreras, Victoria de los Angeles, Irina Arkhipova, Ida Handel, Sylvia Rosenberg, Mayumi Fujikawa, the Cleveland, Emerson and Miró string quartets, and many musicians of the younger generation, including James Ehnes, Stefan Jackiw, Richard O’Neill, Edward Arron and Johannes Moser.

Sheppard is invited frequently to serve on the juries of distinguished international competitions, including most recently the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv in May of 2021 and the National Society of Arts and Letters in Chicago in 2022.  He also returns regularly to the Jerusalem Music Center to perform and teach, as well as the Chetham’s Summer School in Manchester, UK.  With colleague Dr. Robin McCabe, Sheppard is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Seattle Piano Institute, a boot camp for aspiring young pianists  held every July at the University of Washington, this summer celebrating its 14th anniversary.

David Rahbee

David Alexander Rahbee is currently Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where he is Director of Orchestral Activities and Chair of Orchestral Conducting. He is Music Director and Conductor of the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra and founder of the UW Campus Philharmonia Orchestras. He is a recipient of the American-Austrian Foundation's 2003 Herbert von Karajan Fellowship for Young Conductors, the 2005 International Richard-Wagner-Verband Stipend, a fellowship the Acanthes Centre in Paris (2007), and is first prize winner in conducting from The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts for 2020. His work at UW has earned national recognition. In 2021 he was praised by The American Prize as “Consistently one of the most courageous and comprehensive [orchestral] programmers working in higher education in the U.S. today…”

Dr. Rahbee has appeared in concert with orchestras such as the Seattle Symphony, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Kammerphilharmonie Berlin-Brandenburg, Guernsey Symphony Orchestra, Chattanooga Symphony, National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, Orchestre de la Francophonie, Orchesterakademie der Bochumer Symphoniker, the Dresden Hochschule orchestra, Grand Harmonie, the Boston New Music Initiative, Seattle Modern Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Loja (Ecuador), Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Cool Opera of Norway (members of the Stavanger Symphony), Schönbrunner Schloss Orchester (Vienna), the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, the Kennett Symphony, and the Divertimento Ensemble of Milan. His collaborations with the Seattle Symphony include assistant conductor for the performance and recording of Ives’ Fourth Symphony, and as guest conductor for their Native Lands project and the North American premiere of Páll Ragnar Pallson's Quake with faculty cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir. He has collaborated with several prominent soloists such as Sarah Chang, Jon Kimura Parker, Yekwon Sunwoo, Glenn Dicterow and Jonathan Biss. He has been a guest rehearsal conductor for numerous young orchestras, such as the New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra of the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music at Chapman University, and the Vienna University of Technology orchestra. He has served on faculty of the Pierre Monteux School as Conducting Associate, has been resident conductor of the Atlantic Music Festival and guest conductor at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.

Dr. Rahbee was an assistant at the Vienna State opera from 2002-2010. As part of his fellowship and residency at the 2003 Salzburg Festival, Dr. Rahbee was assistant conductor of the International Attergau Institute Orchestra, where he worked with members of the Vienna Philharmonic. He has been selected to actively participate in masterclasses with prominent conductors such as Kurt Masur, Sir Colin Davis, Jorma Panula, Zdeněk Mácal, Peter Eötvös, Zoltán Peskó and Helmut Rilling, and counts Nikolaus Harnoncourt to be among his most influential mentors. From 1997-2001, David Rahbee was founder and conductor of the Fidelio Chamber Orchestra in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Rahbeeʼs principal conducting teachers were Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin and composition from Indiana University, a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory in orchestral conducting, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Montreal in orchestral conducting.  He has also participated in post-graduate conducting classes at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna. His brass arrangements are published by Warwick Music, and his articles on the music of Mahler have appeared in journals of the International Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft, among others.

In addition to being awarded first prize in conducting from The American Prize for 2020, he was awarded 2nd place in 2019. He has also placed among winners for five consecutive years for The American Prize Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award for Orchestral Programming, recognizing his programming with the UW Symphony and its affiliated ensembles for every season since he joined the faculty. The UWSO has also been a finalist in the category of orchestral performance in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Dr. Rahbee is co-editor of Daniels’ Orchestral Music (6thedition) and Daniels’ Orchestral Music Online (DOMO), the gold standard among conductors, orchestral administrators, orchestra librarians as well as other music professionals and students researching for orchestral programming.