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UW Symphony with Michelle Cann, piano

Friday, February 2, 2024 - 7:30pm
$10 all tickets. Tickets on sale Sept. 15.
pianist Michelle Cann

David Alexander Rahbee conducts the University of Washington Symphony and special guest, Michelle Cann, piano, in a program of music by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. With acclaimed pianist Michelle Cann, performing Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 with the orchestra. 


Symphony No. 2, in D major, op. 36: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
I. Adagio Molto - Allegro con brio
II. Larghetto
III. Scherzo: Allegro
IV. Allegro Molto


Piano Concerto No. 2, in C minor, op. 18: Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
I. Moderato
II. Adagio sostenuto
III. Allegro scherzando 
Michelle Cann, piano

Program Notes

by Mica Weiland 

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 (1802)

Easily one of the most recognized names in the history of classical music, Beethoven’s compositions have withstood the test of time. As he was composing his second symphony, Beethoven was heavily grappling with his growing deafness and coming to terms with the fact that it may be incurable. This piece, however, could not be more contrasting to that sentiment. His Symphony no. 2 in D major is sunny and optimistic with a pronounced sense of humor. This symphony is heavily influenced by the classical style of composition demonstrated by Haydn and Mozart. Even so, it is clear Beethoven had started to come into his own with this piece. When this symphony was written, Beethoven was composing prolifically and experimenting with form and style to create his own musical footprint. 

The first movement of his second symphony starts with an expansive, at times gloomy introduction before diving into the jovial music that sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The Larghetto is one of the longest slow movements in Beethoven’s symphonic output, and not without good reason. It is sweet in character, with pastoral and folk music influences. It begins as a string quartet might, then the winds repeat the melody, reminiscent of a serenade. Beethoven abandons the typical minuet and trio movement of a standard classical symphony in favor of a scherzo and trio. The word scherzo translates to “joke” in Italian, thus enforcing the light and playful nature of this symphony. This scherzo includes many unexpected accents and short melodic gestures which are sure to surprise the listener. The finale begins with a lively musical “laugh,” which develops further throughout the movement and moves around the sections of the orchestra. This finale has an especially long coda, which gains energy and jest as the end of the symphony approaches. 

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 (1901)
Sergei Rachmaninoff is often thought of as the last great representative of Russian late romanticism. Much of his artistic inspiration came from the music of Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky whom he had studied with during many of his formative years. This is evident in the rich orchestral colors and emotive melodies that he weaves seamlessly through his compositions and his second piano concerto is one of the most influential pieces in western classical music. Rachmaninoff completed and premiered the second and third movements of the concerto to great acclaim before writing the first movement. After the success of the latter two movements, he was encouraged to write the first and complete the piece.

This concerto creatively uses the solo piano as the main voice and as an accompanist to other sections of the orchestra. This creativity can be heard in the opening, where the pianist begins with a series of chords, w

ich build harmonic tension before taking a backseat for the entrance of the strings and clarinet. Movement two is sentimental in character, once again demonstrating ingenuity balancing the solo piano with orchestra. The flute and clarinet take over the melodic content for much of this movement, and the piano works short phrases of melody between the woodwind solos. An animated interlude in the movement sets the stage for an energetic piano cadenza, the flutes act as a guide out of the cadenza and back to the opening adagio. The finale begins with a march, quiet as though off in the distance. As this theme develops, so does the vigor of the music. Oboe and viola enter with a new theme, both opulent and improvisatory. This theme returns in grand fashion near the end of the piece, this time including the strings and upper woodwinds. The final tempo marking, “Risoluto” leads the way to a bold and decisive ending to a profound piece. 

University of Washington Symphony Orchestra
David Alexander Rahbee, Music Director and Conductor
Ryan Farris and Daren Weissfisch, Assistant Conductors

Katelyn Campbell, Flute Performance/Biochemistry
Grace Jun, MM Flute Performance
Erin McAfee, MM Flute Performance
Rachel Reyes, DMA Flute Performance

Max Boyd, Oboe Performance
Lauren Majewski, BA Global & Regional Studies 

Ysanne Webb, DMA Clarinet Performance
Nick Zhang, BS Computer Science

Ryan Kapsandy, BM Bassoon Performance
Griffin Smith, Music/Philosophy
Eric Spradling, BM Bassoon Performance

Nicole Bogner, Horn Performance
Ben Johnson, MM Horn Performance
Colin Laskarzewski, BS Physics
Yihan Li, Music
Sam Nutt, Molecular & Cellular Biology
Noelani Stewart, BA Political Science

Hans Faul, Trumpet Performance
Kyle Jenkins, MM Trumpet Performance

Peter Lin
Nathanael Wyttenbach, Music Composition 

Bass Trombone
Duncan Weiner, Aero/Astro Engineering, Linguistics

Foster Patterson, Music Education

Timpani & Percussion
Kaisho Barnhill, Music Education
Momoka Fukushima, Music (Percussion)
Abigail George, Applied Physics

Violin I
Grace Pandra, Violin Performance (Concertmaster)
Grace Hwang, Engineering/Violin Performance
Tia-Jane Fowler, Computer Science/Music
Ido Avnon, Computer Science/Education
Giulia Rosa, Violin Performance
Brooke Chen, Public Health
David Mok, Computer Engineering
Ethan Wu, Biochemistry
Kara Johnson, Archeological Sciences
Justin Chae, Computer Science
Quentin Brydon, Pre-Nursing
Alexander Metzger, Computer Science
Amelie Martin, Physics/Mathematics
Hao Xu, Computer Science
Kai-En Cheng, Economics
Maya DaSilva, Music/Law Societies & Justice
Lyle Deng, Computer Science

Violin II
Hanu Nahm, Violin Performance/BS Microbiology (Principal)
Nicole Chen, Informatics
Sean Sasaki, Music Education
Brandon Bailey, Computer Science
Thea Higgins, Industrial Engineering
Alice Leppert, Chemistry
Terra Bronson, ECFS
Allison Kam, Speech and Hearing Sciences/Linguistics
Zak Azar, Pre-Major
Nagato Orita, Pre-Major
Kate Everling, Mathematics
Victoria Zhuang, Pre Sciences
Mia Grayson, Pre-Sciences
Fengrui Liu, Pre-Social Health
Felicia Yeh, Business Administration
Hannah Pena-Ruiz, Music History
Kevin Lu, Computer Science


Flora Cummings, Viola Performance/Biology (Principal)
Mica Weiland, Viola Performance
Amy Lu, Informatics
Abigail Schidler, Computer Science
Aribella Brushie, Pre-Science
David Del Cid-Saavedra, Education Studies
Melany Nanayakkara, Mathematics
Melia Golden, Pre-Humanities
Alissa Harbani, Bioengineering/Music
Helen Hauschka, Pre Social Sciences

Sarah Johnson, Cello Performance (Principal)
Cory Chen, Pre-Sciences
Nathan Evans, Cello Performance
Ethan Kim, Psychology
Mina Wang, Cello Performance
Ignacio (Nacho) Tejeda, PhD Mathematics
Katherine Kang, Human Centered Design & Engineering
Amanda Song, Business
Breanna Humphrey, Microbiology
Ava Reese, Anthropology
Andrew Vu, Biology/Chemistry
Noah Croskey, Engineering
Bashir Abdel-Fattah, PhD Mathematics

Amelia Matsumoto, Engineering (Principal)
Rina Ishii, Environmental Science
Eddie Nikishina, BM Music Performance
Alejandra Heringer, English
Gabriella Kelley, Philosophy: Ethics/Pre-Law
Beau Wood, MM Jazz Studies


Michelle Cann

Lauded as “technically fearless with…an enormous, rich sound” (La Scena Musicale), pianist Michelle Cann made her orchestral debut at age fourteen and has since performed as a soloist with prominent orchestras such as the Atlanta and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, The Cleveland Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, and The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Ms. Cann’s 2022-23 season includes an appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, return engagements with the Cincinnati and New Jersey symphonies, and debut performances with the Baltimore, National, New World, Seattle, and Utah symphonies. She makes her debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony and performs recitals in New Orleans, Little Rock, Sarasota, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.

A champion of the music of Florence Price, Ms. Cann performed the New York City premiere of the composer’s Piano Concerto in One Movement with The Dream Unfinished Orchestrain July 2016 and the Philadelphia premiere with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in February 2021, which the Philadelphia Inquirer called “exquisite.” She has also performed Price’s works for solo piano and chamber ensemble for prestigious presenters such as Caramoor, Chamber Music Detroit, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, San Francisco Performances, and Washington Performing Arts.

Ms. Cann is the recipient of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the Sphinx Organization, and the 2022 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award. Embracing a dual role as performer and pedagogue, Ms. Cann frequently teaches master classes and leads residencies. She has served on the juries of the Cleveland International Piano Competition and at the Music Academy of the West. She has also appeared as cohost and collaborative pianist with NPR’s From The Top.

Ms. Cann studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, where she holds the inaugural Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies.

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.