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UW Symphony with Carrie Shaw, soprano

  • UW Symphony, Carrie Shaw (top right), David Alexander Rahbee (bottom right)
    UW Symphony, Carrie Shaw (top right), David Alexander Rahbee (bottom right)

David Alexander Rahbee leads the University Symphony in a program of music by Debussy, Dukas, Ligeti, Reynaldo Hahn, and Haydn. With faculty artist Carrie Shaw, coloratura soprano on Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, from Le Grand Macabre. 


Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Prélude à “L’après-midi d’un faune”
Ryan Farris, conductor

Paul Dukas (1865-1935): La Plainte, au loin, du faune
Orchestrated by David A. Rahbee

György Ligeti (1923-2006): Mysteries of the Macabre from Le Grand Macabre (arr. Elgar Howarth)
Coloratura soprano: Carrie Shaw


Dukas: La Péri: Fanfare
Brass of the UW Symphony, Ryan Farris, conductor

Debussy: Hommage à Haydn
Orchestrated by David A. Rahbee

Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947): Theme & Variations sur le nom Haydn
Orchestrated by David A. Rahbee

Joesph Haydn (1732-1809): Symphony No. 87 in A Major
I. Vivace
II. Adagio
III. Menuet
IV. Vivace


CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1894)
It would not be an exaggeration to say that Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, known in English as Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun, was the piece that put the young French composer Claude Debussy on the musical map. Debussy had been struggling to achieve success as a composer, so he turned to the works of symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé for inspiration. Originally published in 1876, Mallarmé’s poem L'après-midi d'un faune explores the sensual experiences of a faun who has just woken up from his afternoon sleep. It was quickly hailed as one of the greatest poems in the French language, and inspired many artists and musicians of the age, Debussy chief among them. Originally conceived of as a work in three movements, Debussy eventually abandoned this plan when his ideas for the 'prelude' proved to be so musically fruitful.

Instead of being a literal tone painting, Debussy attempts to evoke the sensuality and eroticism of Mallarmé’s poem with his slow, beautiful melodies and richly layered orchestration. The work opens with a now famous passage for solo flute which spans the musical interval of a tritone. This has the immediate effect of obscuring any concrete sense of tonality, and while the work cannot be called atonal, Debussy masterfully avoids traditional musical cadences throughout the piece, using novel harmonic devices such as the whole-tone scale to create a sumptuous and exotic sonic landscape from beginning to end.

PAUL DUKAS (1865-1935)
La plainte, au loin, du faune… (1920), orchestrated by David Alexander Rahbee
This short work for solo piano was composed by Paul Dukas for a collection of pieces published in memory of Claude Debussy, who had passed away 2 years before. Roughly translated as ‘the complaint, from afar, of the faun’, the work weaves together several musical ideas from Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune into a strange sonic tapestry. The work is unmistakably melancholy, reflecting Dukas’ sorrow at the passing of one of his closest friends.

GYÖRGY LIGETI (1923-2003)
Mysteries of the Macabre (1977; revised 1992), arranged by Elgar Howarth
Hungarian-Austrian composer György Ligeti has often been hailed as one of the most important figures in the musical avant-garde during the latter half of the 20th century. Ligeti rose to international fame in 1968 when his music was used (without his consent) by director Stanley Kubrick in his epic science-fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey. By 1977 Ligeti had finally, after 13 years of composition, completed work on his only opera, Le Grand Macabre, loosely based on Michel de Ghelderode’s 1934 play La balade du grand macabre. The opera is a work of Absurdist theater; Ligeti himself called it an ”anti-anti-opera”. The plot essentially revolves around the character of Death (known as Nekrotzar, the Prince of Hell) who arrives in the fictional city of Breughelland and announces that a comet will strike the Earth at midnight, ending the world. When Ligeti revised the opera in 1992 he selected three arias to be used together as a concert piece, known as Mysteries of the Macabre. This piece, which will be presented tonight in a reduced orchestration by Elgar Howarth, is a tour-de-force for coloratura soprano and orchestra, calling upon all manner of extended techniques, bizarre rhythms, baffling timbres, and other adventurous musical effects.

PAUL DUKAS (1865-1935)
Fanfare pour précéder “La Péri” (1912)
Dukas composed his monumental ballet La Péri in 1911, but its premiere was delayed by almost a year over a dispute with the dance company. This gave Dukas time to compose this fanfare which was to be performed directly before the ballet. This Fanfare to proceed “La Péri” has become arguably one of Dukas’ most famous works and is regularly performed on its own due to its exciting character and excellent writing for brass instruments.

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Hommage à Haydn (1909), orchestrated by David Alexander Rahbee
This short work for solo piano was written for a collection of pieces commemorating the 100th anniversary of Joseph Haydn’s death. Debussy spells Haydn’s name in musical notes by using an old trick: in German, the note B-natural is called H. Debussy therefore spells Haydn’s name musically using the notes B(H)-A-D-D-G, close enough to ‘Haydn’ while still being a convincing musical motive in its own right. You can hear this motive woven throughout the piece, which has elements of both classicism and Debussy’s signature musical language.

REYNALDO HAHN (1874-1947)
Thème varié sur le nom de Haydn (1910), orchestrated by David Alexander Rahbee
Reynaldo Hahn was a Venezuelan-born French composer, conductor, and music critic. Hahn was born in Caracas, but his family moved to Paris when he was still a child. He published a series of successful songs when he was just 14, and quickly became a prominent member of French society. Some of his closest friends included the actress Sarah Bernhardt and the author Marcel Proust. Hahn composed this Theme and variations on the name of Haydn in 1910 for the same collection that Debussy had composed his own piece for. Hahn uses the same musical spelling of ‘Haydn’ as well, this time treating it as a theme which is subject to several increasingly virtuosic variations.

Symphony No. 87 in A major, Hob. I/87 (1875)
Although it was published last, this Symphony was one of the first composed out of the six ‘Paris Symphonies’, so-called because they were written for the orchestra of the Loge Olympique in Paris. The score is deceptively simple, which perhaps explains its lack of popularity today, yet it contains some of Haydn’s most concise and intimate orchestral writing. The first movement opens with utmost brightness, and it contains one of Haydn’s signature jokes. The orchestra grinds to a halt at the end of the development section after an ambitious series of modulations. An uncomfortable pause ensues, before the orchestra carries on as if nothing had happened, and the joyous character of the opening returns quite abruptly. The second movement is a melodious adagio featuring playful dialogue between solo flute, oboe, and strings. The third movement is a lively minuet which melts away in a trio section where the oboist is given free rein to showcase their highest notes in a melody all to their own. The finale is Haydn at his finest, spinning a basic melodic idea into a whirlwind of musical activity and contrapuntal interplay.
-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
Lorin Green, DMA Woodwinds
Grace Jun, MM Woodwinds
Cassie Lear, DMA Woodwinds
Rachel Reyes, DMA Woodwinds

Grace Jun, MM Woodwinds

Lexi Doremus-Wessels, MM Woodwinds
Kamil Tarnawczyk, BA Oboe, Music Theory
Daren Weissfisch, DMA Orchestral Conducting

English Horn
Kamil Tarnawczyk, BA Oboe, Music Theory

Adelle Ngo, Pre-Nursing
Megan Rideout Redeker, Music Performance

Bass Clarinet
Megan Rideout Redeker, Music Performance

Ryan Kapsandy, BA Bassoon, Engineering
Pascal Lovre, Chemistry

Ryan Kapsandy, BA Bassoon, Engineering

Nicholas Hidy, Music (Brass)
Ben Johnson, Music (Brass)

Colin Laskarzewski, Music (Brass)
Anna Perry, Music (Brass)

Hans Faul, Trumpet Performance
Carter Archuelta, Bio Physics & Astronomy
Caroline Kelly, Music & Environmental Science

Neal Muppidi, Physics, Music
Jonathan Elsner, Mathematics

Bass Trombone
Duncan Weiner, Aeronautical Engineering, Linguistics

Timpani & Percussion
Logan Bellenkes, Music (Percussion)
Melissa Wang, Music (Percussion)

Kelly Hou, Music
Terri Ji, Music Theory

Piano & Celesta
Chiao-Yu Wu, Music
David Lin, Music

Ryan Farris, DMA Orchestral Conducting


Dalma Ashby, Violin Performance (Concertmaster)
Ido Avnon, Computer Science, Education
Terra Bronson, Education
Quentin Brydon, Pre-Nursing
Andrew Chen, Computer Science
Kai-En Cheng, Economics
Maya DaSilva, Law, Societies, and Justice
Lyle Deng, Computer Science
Kate Everling, Pre Sciences
Rylan Ferron-Jones, Civil Engineering
Nicholas Gjording, Molecular Biology
Terri Ji, Music Theory
Mia Kim, Engineering
Meiqi Liang, Public Health-Global Health, Nutritional Sciences
Alexander Metzger, Computer Science
Lucy Maki-Fern, Biology (Molecular Cellular & Develop)
Paige Michal, Music Education
David Mok, Computer Engineering
Nagato Orita, Pre major (Bothell Campus)
Grace Pandra, Violin Performance
Daniella Tsang, Pre Sciences
Ethan Wu, Biochemistry
Hao Xu, Computer Science
Ling Yang, Pre-sciences
Victoria Zhuang, Pre Sciences

Elena Allen, Applied Music (String Instruments), Biochemistry
Maddie Buzbee, Pre Social Sciences
Flora Cummings, Viola Performance
David del Cid Saavedra, Education (UW Bothell)
Alissa Harbani, Bioengineering
April Li, Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy
Angielena Luong, Pre Sciences
Mari Morikawa, Biology (Physiology)
Meghna Shankar, Computer Science, Physics
Joseph Young, Biochemistry

Savannah Helming, Music
Sarah Johnson, Cello Performance
Katherine Kang, Engineering
Abigail McClure, Computer Science
Amanda Song, Business
Ignacio (Nacho) Tejeda, Mathematics
Isabella Tucker, Research Scientist - Harborview Medical Center
Andrew Vu, Pre Science
Jerry Wang, Pre Science
Lyle Zoumut (non matriculated)

Amelia Matsumoto, Engineering
Eddie Nikishina, BM Music Performance
Elise Soper, Engineering
Beau Wood, MM Jazz Studies and Improvisation


UW Symphony Orchestra

The University of Washington Symphony Orchestra is made up of music majors as well as students from departments all across campus. Under the leadership of Dr. Rahbee since the fall of 2013, the UW Symphony has performed over 180 works, spanning from the early baroque through contemporary. The orchestra collaborates regularly with distinguished faculty soloists as well as members of the Seattle Symphony and other local and national arts organizations. The orchestra has also collaborated with internationally prominent guest artists such as pianists Jon Kimura Parker, Jonathan Biss and Yekwon Sunwoo. Other collaborations have included Side-by-Side concerts with the Seattle Symphony, operas on period instruments with Pacific MusicWorks, a concert with jazz studies faculty, as well as annual performances with the combined university choirs. Performances are given in Gerlich Theater (formerly known as Meany Theater), as well as various other locations on campus as well as at Benaroya Hall. They rehearse twice weekly, and perform at least six concerts per academic year. The orchestra may also be divided into smaller groups throughout the year under the title UW Chamber Orchestra. The UW Symphony has been nationally recognized by The American Prize National Non Profit Competitions in the performing arts, placing in the finals in orchestral performance and for each of the last three seasons, and in the category of orchestral programming for the past 5 seasons.

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Do you play an orchestral instrument? Students interested in joining the UW Symphony or Campus Philharmonia Orchestras may email Dr. Rahbee at New enrollment occurs each quarter on a space-available basis. 

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.

Newly appointed voice faculty Carrie Shaw (Ben Marcum Photo)

Carrie Henneman Shaw joined the Voice Program as an artist in residence in Autumn 2020. As a singer, Carrie engages in a wide variety of musical projects, but she focuses on early and contemporary music.

A sample of her work includes an upcoming solo recording on Naxos Records of early 18th-century French song; creating music for a live-music-for-dance project with James Sewell Ballet; and collaborating on a recording with the band Deerhoof. Carrie is a two-time winner of a McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, and she is a member of two groups that focus on music by living composers, Ensemble Dal Niente, a mixed chamber collective, and Quince Ensemble, a treble voice quartet.

She appears in numerous recordings ranging from medieval sacred music to a video-game soundtrack, and before coming to the UW, she has been maintaining a full university studio for the six years and participating in educational residencies for composers and performers around the country, including UC-Berkeley, Stanford, New York University, the University of Chicago, and beyond.

Graduate student Ryan Farris

Ryan D. Farris is an up-and-coming conductor and performer in the Pacific Northwest community. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Washington where he is the conductor of the Campus Philharmonia Orchestras and assistant conductor of the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra. Ryan has served as cover conductor for professional orchestras across the country, including the Auburn Symphony in Washington and the Boulder Philharmonic in Colorado. He has also served as an assistant conductor for the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras and as a sectional conductor for Harmonia Seattle. Ryan was a proud student of the late maestro Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School and Music Festival in Maine for five summers. He has also studied with many notable conductors including Ludovic Morlot, David Rahbee, Gary Lewis, Nicholas Carthy, Donald Schleicher, Kensho Watanabe, Kirk Trevor, and Tiffany Lu.

Ryan has served as principal cellist with the Boulder Opera Company, Seattle Philharmonic Strings, and the University of Washington Symphony. He has appeared as a featured soloist with the South Pudget Sound College Orchestra, and regularly performs in chamber music groups across the region. Before moving to Seattle, he performed regularly with some of Colorado’s best orchestras, including the Boulder Philharmonic, Fort Collins Symphony, and Colorado MahlerFest. Ryan also performs on viola da gamba with the UW Baroque Ensemble and traditional Irish fiddle and pennywhistle with the acclaimed Seattle-based Celtic group Cavort.