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UW Symphony and Combined UW Choirs with Garret Dillahunt

  • Giselle Wyers conducts the UW Symphony and Combined Choirs.

The UW Symphony (David Alexander Rahbee, director) performs works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Fauré in this end-of year performance. The orchestra is joined by the combined University Choirs in a performance of Fauré: Requiem, Op.48, with Giselle Wyers conducting. Special guest for this performance is actor Garret Dillahunt, narrator on Poulenc's L’histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant.

Stravinsky: Circus Polka for a young elephant
Ryan Farris, conductor

Poulenc: L’histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant
(The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant)
Garret Dillahunt, narrator
David Alexander Rahbee, conductor

Fauré: Requiem, Op.48
With Combined UW Choirs
Giselle Wyers, conductor

Program Notes

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Circus Polka (1942)
Born in St. Petersburg in 1882, Igor Stravinsky was a Russian composer and pianist whose music has withstood the test of time. He began to take an interest in music when his older brother won a scholarship to the St. Petersburg conservatory and made his debut as an opera singer. Igor then took more interest in composition and eventually became a mentee of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. As a composer, Stravinsky’s most successful works were that of his ballets, and the “Circus Polka for a Young Elephant” is no exception.

Igor Stravinsky had been living in Paris for 19 years before deciding to move to the United States. After his move, George Balanchine approached him to write the score for the 1942 production of Balanchine’s, “Ballet of the Elephants”. The premiere of this ballet took place in New York City in 1942 and was performed by 50 elephants and 50 ballerinas. The stage production was a collaboration between a typical French ballet, an American circus, and contemporary Russian composition. The piece begins with a Circus theme in the violins and prominent percussive accompaniment. The woodwinds are heavily featured in this work as their parts work to create the lively texture for this Polka. Near the end of the piece there is a musical quotation from Franz Schubert’s Three Marches Militaires, Op. 51, D. 733, specifically from March no. 1 in D major, which Stravinsky insisted was not added out of irony. The dance remains bustling throughout, truly embodying the spirit of the Circus.
Mica Weiland

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
L’histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant (The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant) (1940) 
Francis Poulenc was a French composer and pianist. He began playing the piano at age 5 after his mother had encouraged him to do so. As a composer he is known for having a distinctly pared-down musical style. In his early years he became acquainted with Igor Stravinsky who would go on to become one of his most notable mentors. Poulenc also took inspiration from Gabriel Fauré in his Melodies, French art songs that were compositionally significant to Fauré and later to Poulenc. Poulenc asked one of his colleagues, Jean Françaix to orchestrate this piece and it has become Françaix’s most well known orchestration. A prolific composer himself, Françaix was known for his innovation, orchestration, and bringing new life to traditional compositional styles.

Poulenc’s piece, “L’histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant '' was dedicated to the children who inspired it, 11 of Poulenc’s little cousins and their friends. The work was originally conceived as a programatic improvisation on the French children’s story of the same name. The story follows Babar the small elephant whose mother is killed by hunters, after which he escapes the jungle and moves to a big city. Babar later returns to the jungle, brings the benefits of civilization with him, and is crowned king of the elephants. Even though the piece was dedicated to the children in Poulenc’s life, it tells a story involving mature themes, such as the marriage of Babar to his cousin Celeste. The orchestra works with a narrator for this piece to illuminate Babar’s story for the audience. The elephants referenced in these two pieces are not directly related, but the pieces certainly share some commonalities. Both utilize the customs of French compositional style, as Stravinsky had lived in Paris from 1920-1939, and Poulenc and Françaix were well known French composers. They were also written within two years of each other and share a common panache.
–Mica Weiland

Gabriel Fauré 
Requiem, Op. 48
Although Gabriel Fauré trained as an organist and choirmaster and spent most of his career working in Parisian churches, sacred music occupied a trifling place in a creative life devoted chiefly to art song, solo piano, and chamber music. Nevertheless, the Messe de Requiem, Op. 48 remains his most famous and beloved work. Fauré wrote the Requiem for the 1888 funeral of a prominent parishioner at the Église de la Madeleine, where the composer had worked since 1874. Begun in late autumn of 1887, the Requiem was completed for the January 18 funeral and consisted of five movements: the Introït and Kyrie, Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, and In paradisum. By 1893 Fauré had added two movements with baritone solo, the Offertoire and Libera me (the latter composed in 1877). The remarkable original orchestration – divisi violas and cellos, double bass, brass, timpani, organ, harp, and solo violin (in the Sanctus) – gives the work a mysteriously dark, muted quality. In 1898, at the urging of his publisher, Fauré consented to the fuller orchestration heard in this concert, adding violins and woodwind and doubling the horns. The greater forces reflected the growing popularity of the Requiem as a concert piece destined for grand spaces (the new orchestration premiered at the 5000-seat Palais du Trocadéro with 250 performers).

Fauré once referred to the Requiem as a “lullaby of death,” and the work stands out for its gentle, soothing answer to mortality. Critics have made much of Fauré’s omission of the Dies irae, whose fire-and-brimstone imagery proved catnip to opera composers like Mozart, Berlioz, and Verdi. In fact, the Dies irae chant was customarily performed in a simple chordal setting in the Parisian parishes, and Fauré’s Libera me does include a harrowing vision of the Day of Judgment. Nevertheless, it is the childlike simplicity of the Pie Jesu, the beatific vision of the In paradisum, and the warmly human melodies of the Introït and Agnus Dei that set the tone. Divine judgment and dogma had little allure for the free-thinking Fauré, who dabbled in pantheism and died an agnostic.

The Requiem presents a fascinating blend of archaic and modernist elements. We hear echoes of Renaissance and medieval music in the chant-like melodies and reciting tone of the Sanctus and Hostias, the pervasive influence of the ancient church modes, and the strict a cappella duet that opens the Offertoire (O Domine Jesu Christe). Yet the Requiem also features passages of the most modern chromatic harmony; indeed, the Communion in the Agnus Dei virtually quotes the Magic Sleep music from Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre. Wagner’s influence can also be heard in the recurring “leitmotif” that first appears in the Introït (Te decet hymnus) and returns in the Offertoire and Sanctus. The astonishing stylistic range of the Requiem, and its uniquely intimate tone, doubtless owed much to Fauré’s impatience with contemporary French church music: “All those years accompanying funerals on the organ! I knew it all by heart. I wanted to write something different.”
–Stephen Rumph

University of Washington Symphony Orchestra

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


Katelyn Campbell, Biochemistry, Applied Music
Grace Jun, MM Woodwinds
Rachel Reyes, DMA Woodwinds

Katelyn Campbell, Biochemistry, Applied Music

Grace Jun, MM Woodwinds

Lexi Doremus-Wessels, MM Woodwinds
Minh-Thi Butler, Music Education
Kamil Tarnawczyk, BA Oboe, Music Theory                 

English Horn
Kamil Tarnawczyk, BA Oboe, Music Theory

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

Bass Clarinet
Adelle Ngo, Pre-Nursing

Ryan Kapsandy, BA Bassoon, Engineering
Griffin Smith, Music, Philosophy

Griffin Smith, Music, Philosophy

Nicholas Hidy, Music (Brass)
Ben Johnson, Music (Brass)
Colin Laskarzewski, Music (Brass)
Anna Perry, Music (Brass)

Carter Archuelta, Bio Physics & Astronomy

Hans Faul, Trumpet Performance

Jonathan Elsner, Mathematics
Neal Muppidi, Physics, Music

Bass Trombone
Duncan Weiner, Aeronautical Engineering, Linguistics 

Devin Foster, Tuba Performance

Abigail George, Music Ed. and Physics 

Kaisho Barnhill, Music Education
Logan Bellenkes, Music (Percussion)
Melissa Wang, Music (Percussion) 

Kelly Hou, Music
Terri Ji, Music Theory 

Chiao-Yu Wu, Music

Caleb Anders, Music
Dalma Ashby, Violin Performance (Concertmaster)
Ido Avnon, Computer Science, Education
Terra Bronson, Education
Quentin Brydon, Pre-Nursing
Andrew Chen, Computer Science
Maya DaSilva, Law, Societies, and Justice
Lyle Deng, Computer Science
Raymond Doerr, Materials Science and Engineering
Kate Everling, Pre Sciences
Nicholas Gjording, Molecular Biology
Mia Grayson, Biochemistry
Terri Ji, Music Theory
Kara Johnson, Archeological Sciences
Allison Kam, Speech and Hearing Sciences, Linguistics
Meiqi Liang, Public and Global Health, Nutritional Sciences
Lucy Maki-Fern, Biology (Molecular Cellular & Develop)
Alexander Metzger, Computer Science
Paige Michal, Music Education
David Mok, Computer Engineering
Nagato Orita, Pre major (Bothell Campus)
Grace Pandra, Violin Performance (Concertmaster)
Hannah Pena-Ruiz, Violin Performance
Bianca Ponnekanti, Physics, Astronomy
Sean Sasaki, Music
MacKenzie Snow, Music, Japanese Language
Hao Xu, Computer Science
Ling Yang, Pre-sciences
Felicia Yeh, Business Administration
Victoria Zhuang, Pre Sciences

Flora Cummings, Viola Performance (co-principal)
David del Cid Saavedra, Education (UW Bothell)
Alissa Harbani, Bioengineering
Lucy Lajtha, Psychology
Angielena Luong, Pre Sciences
Yizi Mao,
Jospehine Meier, Plant Biology
Mari Morikawa, Biology (Physiology)
Meghna Shankar, Computer Science, Physics
Kareena Sikka, Biology
Mica Weiland, Viola Performance
Randy Zhang, Computer Science (co-principal)

Bashir Abdel-Fattah, Mathematics
Savannah Helming, Music
Sarah Johnson, Cello Performance (principal)
Katherine Kang, Engineering
Ethan Kim, Psychology
Abigail McClure, Computer Science
Bennett Olson, Data Science
Amanda Song, Business
Ignacio (Nacho) Tejeda, Mathematics
Serena Tideman, UW Staff Member
Isabella Tucker, Research Scientist - Harborview Medical Center
Andrew Vu, Pre Science

Amelia Matsumoto, Engineering
Eddie Nikishina, BM Music Performance
Beau Woods, MM Jazz Studies

Chamber Singers
Geoffrey Boers, director


Kaelyn Barnes

Sydney Belden

Aida Bowen

Mavis Chan

Naomi-Hal Hoffman

Sydney Huang

Shalini Pullarkat

Nandini Rathod

Lauren Reynolds



Cee E. Adamson

Lily Campbell

Anjali Chudasama

Kristin Deitrich

Heather Halverson

Elizabeth Lu

Anna Messenger

Jaminfaye Reduque

Larke Witten



Eyad Alsilimy

Oliver Callahan

Caleb Chin-Yung Chan

Tyler Todd Kimmel

Marshell Lombard

Chad Miller

Maggie Petersen

Isaac Tian



Justin Birchell

Charlie Dawson

Scott Fikse

Grant Hopkins

Alexander Mason

Evan Norberg

Christian Rolfson

James Wilcox

UW Chorale
Giselle Wyers, director 


Emily Cameron

Chloe Chapman

Lauren Chenoweth

Kate Connors

Mia Jang

Claire Killian

Emma Koslosky

Meena Kuduva

Ellen Kwon

Lena Lee

Joely Loucks

Anna Messenger

Rosemary Norheim

Julia Nipert

Chloe O'Keefe

Sophia Parker

Meliza Redulla

Sophie Root

Anne Tinker

Erin Tsai

Felicia Tzeng



Lyla Cain

Sofiia Fedzhora

Alexis Georgiades

Christine Han

Naomi-Hal Hoffman

Ella L'Heureux

Karissa Longo

Sophie Ma

Akhila Narayanan

Ari Okin

Leah Peterson

Natalie Peterson

Jaminfaye Reduque

Silvana Segura

Maya Shah

Nelly Sunstrum

Jessica Thaxton

Aliyah Wachob

Ruby Whelan



Hannah Carpenter

Gray Creech

Eric Gagliano

Cam Gardner

Ale Hernandez

Michael Lim

Karsten Lomax

Marshell Lombard

Victor Moutafov

John O’Kane

Luke van Sickle

Ryan Singh

Ethan Walker

Logan West

Trey Wheeler



Eyad Alsilimy

Zaref Anderson

Zane Bowmer-Vath

Taylor Buehler

Nshan Burns

Charlie Dawson

Matthew Hansen

Will Henry

Andrew Hoch

Jacob Knight

Jonah Ladish-Orlich

Dario Rojas

Zack Shafer

Daniel Troyan


Garret Dillahunt

Actor Garret Dillahunt is best known for his work in television, including the roles Burt Chance on the Fox sitcom Raising Hope, for which he was nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, Jack McCall and Francis Wolcott in Deadwood, and John Dorie in Fear the Walking Dead (2018–2021). He has also appeared in The 4400, ER, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Justified, and The Mindy Project (2015–2017) and starred in the Amazon Studios drama series Hand of God (2014–2017). He also appeared in the television series “Justified,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “The Guest Book,” “John From Cincinnati,” “Damages,” “Life,” “Lie to Me,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Criminal Minds,” “Burn Notice,” and “Maximum Bob,” among many others.

On stage, Dillahunt has performed extensively on and off Broadway and around the country with such companies as Steppenwolf, ACT San Francisco, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Huntington, Williamstown and Berkshire Theatre Festivals. In film, Dillahunt has played supporting roles in No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Winter's Bone, Looper, and 12 Years a Slave.

Dillahunt grew up in Selah, Washington.  He graduated from the University of Washington in 1987 with a B.A. in journalism and from New York University's Graduate Acting Program with an M.F.A. in acting. 

Adia Bowen
Adia Bowen
 tsi sʔuyuʔaɫ is a 3rd-year Undergraduate majoring in Vocal Performance and American Indian studies. Adia is a member of the Upper Skagit Nation and grew up doing musical theater in Skagit County. Some of her featured musical theater roles were “Ariel” in The Little Mermaid, “Grizabella” in CATS the Musical, and “The Witch” in Into the Woods. Adia began taking classical voice lessons in the 9th grade and quickly fell in love with opera music. Before transferring to the University of Washington last fall, she played the role of “Suor Angelica” in Puccini’s opera Suor Angelica, at Western Washington University in Spring of 2022. 

Justin Birchell
Baritone Justin Birchell’s recent solo engagements include bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Harmonia Orchestra and Chorus, baritone soloist in Finzi’s In Terra Pax with University of Washington Choirs, The Fence in Considering Matthew Shepard with Choral Arts Northwest, and Faninal in Pacific Northwest Opera’s Der Rosenkavalier. Notable opera roles include Dr. Falke and Herr Frank in Portland State University’s Die Fledermaus, Silvio in Opera Fairbanks’ I Pagliacci, and numerous roles through Opera UCLA, including creating the roles of Manfred in Janice Hamer’s Lost Childhood and Padre Antonio in Carla Lucero’s Juana, both world premieres. Justin was a 2020 winner of UCLA Philharmonia’s All-Stars Concerto Competition and a 2018 recipient of Anchorage Festival of Music’s Ted Stevens Young Alaskan Artist Award. Birchell holds a Masters in Voice Performance from UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music. He also remains active as a composer, choir director, ensemble singer, and educator; he is the Music Director of Wallingford United Methodist Church, and has been engaged as a pre-concert lecturer by the Seattle Symphony. Birchell is currently a doctoral student at the University of Washington, where he studies choral conducting.

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.

Giselle Wyers (she/her/hers) is the Donald E. Petersen Endowed Professor of Choral Music at the University of Washington, where she conducts the award-winning University Chorale and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in choral conducting and music education. She serves as the newly appointed School of Music's designated Diversity Liaison. University Chorale’s latest CD, Resonant Streams (on the MSR Music Recordings label) was featured in a 2018 Gramophone magazine article. Wyers is the newly appointed director of Concord Chamber Choir, an adult community chorus within the Columbia Choirs community. Her professional project choir Solaris Vocal Ensemble, specializes in the performance of contemporary American choral literature. Their premiere album Floodsongs, on the Albany Music label, won the American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music in 2017-18.

As a guest conductor, Wyers has led high school honor choirs and all-state choruses in New York (Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center), Kansas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Connecticut, Nebraska, Texas, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Vancouver, Canada. She has conducted semi-professional ensembles across the United States and in Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, and Sweden. Wyers was in demand for Zoom lectures during the pandemic with Res Diversa Chamber Choir (Chile), Western Washington University (a three-week group composition project), University of Iowa, Northern Illinois University, Montana State University, and with the Mastersingers of Milwaukee (Wisconsin), as well as conducting Nevada All-State online. 

Wyers is a leading national figure in the application of Laban movement theory for conductors. She has served as guest lecturer in conducting at Sweden’s Örebro Universitet, European Festival of Church Music (Germany), Latvian Academy of Music, Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, Westminster Choir College, University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Portland State University.

Wyers’ choral works are published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing Company as part of the "Giselle Wyers Choral Series," and have been performed across the United States, South America, Canada, Australia, Cuba, and numerous European cities. She will conduct her 30-minute choral cycle entitled And All Shall Be Well, in Carnegie Hall May of 2022 with a consortium of NW-based choruses. In 2021-22, she will serve as composer-in-residence for the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium's annual festivities celebrating the return of in-person singing (her appearance is sponsored by Consortio). Wyers is also committed to mentoring scholar-writers in the field, and serves on the editorial board of ACDA’s Choral Journal.

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.