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James Lowe, conductor
Jack Liebeck, violin
Michael Sinitsa, singer

Fifty years ago, humanity broadcasted a powerful message from our solar system into the unknown containing information about humanity and earth. We celebrate this “Arecibo Message” with music that has been performed in or sent into space alongside the spectacular Voyager Concerto by Academy Award-winning composer, Dario Marianelli.

Traditional Ukrainian Folksong
Watching the Sky and Thinking a Thought
Dario Marianelli
“Voyager Concerto”
Nokuthula Ngwenyama
Primal Message
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op.67


Masterworks & Mimosas: Get a behind-the-scenes look at how the symphony perfects their work in the final moments with James at the dress rehearsal. Masterworks & Mimosas lets you be a part of the inner workings of the orchestra while enjoying a mimosas, coffee, and gourmet pastries. Join us at 10am on Saturday, February 3rd.

You can also subscribe to all 6 Masterworks and Mimosas for only $156.

LoweDown: On Thursday, February 1st at Noon, Music Director James Lowe gives you the “LoweDown” on the music. It’s a free, fascinating, and light-hearted talk about the music. Held at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC).

Watching the Sky and Thinking a Thought

Ukrainian folk song

“Watching the Sky and Thinking a Thought” is a Ukrainian folk song with text by 19th century Ukrainian Romantic poet Mikhail Petrenko and music by 19th century Ukrainian composer Lyudmila Alexandrova. On August 12, 1962, the first Ukrainian Soviet cosmonaut, Pavlo Popovych, sang this song in space, at the request of Ukrainian rocket designer Sergei Korolyov, whose engines were on board the Soviet rockets that sent the first humans into space.

While the occasion for Popovych’s performance was undoubtedly celebratory, the words and music of the song are decidedly sad. The poet asks, “Why, Lord, haven’t you given me wings?/I would leave the earth and fly to the sky./ … The distant sky is my home./On earth it is bitter, and when it becomes worse – /I raise my eyes to the sky and I become more cheerful!/ … If only I had wings … I’d abandon the earth for new horizons … I’d dive in the sky/And in clouds forever from earth I would drown!”

Dario Marianelli

“Voyager” Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

Composer: born June 21, 1963, Pisa, Italy

Work composed: 2014. Commissioned by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

World premiere: Johannes Fritzsch led the Queensland Symphony Orchestra with violinist Jack Liebeck on November 4, 2014, in Brisbane, Australia.

Instrumentation: solo violin, piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, 2 bass drums, chorales, glockenspiel, marimba, snare drum, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, tubular bells, vibraphone, whip, woodblock, celesta, harp, and strings

Estimated duration: 29 minutes

Dario Marianelli is best known for his many award-winning scores for movies and television, particularly the 2007 film Atonement, for which he earned an Oscar, Golden Globe, and Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Score. In addition to his film work, Marianelli has also written a number of works for orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Marianelli’s “Voyager” Concerto is named for the twin NASA space probes launched in 1977. As a teenager in Pisa, Marianelli recalls being fascinated by the mission. Each probe carries a gold disc, like an LP record, containing sounds, images, and greetings from planet Earth for the benefit of any extraterrestrial beings that might encounter them. “The chances of it being found are infinitesimal but still, it is a message in a bottle,” says Marianelli. “People had to choose what went on the record, and there are about 30 pieces of music.” Among the musical selections are three by Bach: the Gavotte en Rondeau from Partita No 3 for Violin, the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, and selections from The Well-Tempered Clavier. Marianelli decided Bach’s violin partita would be “the voice of the Voyager,” and he references it throughout the concerto by means of variation, deconstruction, and direct quotation.

Violinist Jack Liebeck, who had previously worked with Marianelli on his scores for Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina, asked the composer to write a concerto for violin and orchestra. Marianelli’s “Voyager” is both challenging and unconventional. “The main idea is that as the solo violin travels through space, it constantly meets new landscapes, new events,” Marianelli explains. “The orchestra would represent … some of these events, like meeting the storms of Jupiter or passing by Europa. All of these events are quite separate and well defined. I think it will be easy, listening to the concerto, to know when one event ends and the next one starts.”


Nokuthula Ngwenyama

Primal Message

Composer: born June 16, 1976, Los Angeles, CA

Work Composed: originally written for string quartet, 2018. Ngwenyama arranged Primal Message for orchestra in 2020.

World Premiere: Xian Xing led the Detroit Symphony on November 5, 2020

Instrumentation: percussion, harp, and strings

Estimated duration: 11 minutes

“Mother of Peace” and “Lion” in Zulu, Nokuthula Ngwenyama (No-goo-TOO-lah En-gwen-YAH-ma) has garnered recognition as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and composer. Also known as ‘Thula’ (TOO-lah), her performances provide “solidly shaped music of bold mesmerizing character” (Gramophone). Her music has been performed by the Detroit Symphony, London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Toronto Symphony, KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic and the Orquesta Nacional de Madrid, amongst others.

Ngwenyama first gained international prominence when she won the Primrose International Viola Competition at age 16. The following year, she won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, which led to her debuts at the Kennedy Center and the 92nd Street ‘Y.’ As a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, she has performed as soloist and in recital around the world.

Describing her piece Primal Message, originally written for string quintet in 2018, Ngwenyama says it is “based on the idea of communicating the things we learn to communicate with each other: our intelligence, our emotions, our goodness.” In a 2018 interview for Oregon ArtsWatch, she said, “Primal Message was good for exploring us, and how we communicate. … Primal essence – both the intelligent and emotional, all of it. How do you get in touch with that? And how do you communicate that? And have it be a message of beauty, and compelling enough for another life form to be like, ‘Whoa, that’s kind of cool that someone tried to put that math in there and do this and make it a song.’”

In her own program note, Ngwenyama writes, “It’s 1974. What should we put in humanity’s first message in a bottle sent 25,000 light years away? Astronomers Francis Drake (Drake equation), Carl Sagan (Contact), and others created the historic Arecibo message, in which 186 seconds of interstellar radio waves sent a friendly map, our then-understood DNA structure, and transmitting technology in binary anthropomorphic organization to globular M13 in our galaxy’s Hercules cluster.

“The ideas conveyed by Steven Johnson’s New York Times Magazine article ‘Greetings E. T. (Please Don’t Murder Us)’” from June 28, 2017; encouragement from the Phoenix Chamber Music Society and Chamber Music Northwest, and early days with partner John Clements awakened imaginings about what a ‘primal message’ might sound like. This assumes other possible life forms hear and feel sound like we do. Opening off-world communication through transverse waves explores existential conveyance under a frayed veil of decorum through form, melody, and numbers.

Primal Message is a fantasia that relies upon primal relationships – duo vs. trio textures, modulations … rhythmic layering, melodic structure … It invites examination of our collective evolution through a drive to express, tying us in concert with universal celebration.”


Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Composer: born December 16, 1770, Bonn; died March 26, 1827, Vienna

Work composed: 1804-08, commissioned by Count Franz von Oppersdorff for 500 florins. Beethoven eventually dedicated the Fifth to Prince Franz Joseph Lobkowitz and Count Andreas Kyrillovitsch Razumovsky.

World premiere: Beethoven conducted the premiere on December 22, 1808, in a subscription concert that also included his Sixth Symphony and the Piano Concerto No. 4, in the Theater-an-der-Wien.

Instrumentation: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and strings

Estimated duration: 36 minutes

“This symphony invariably wields its power over men of every age like those great phenomena of nature …[it] … will be heard in future centuries, as long as music and the world exist.”

     – Robert Schumann on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is arguably one of the most iconic pieces of classical music ever composed, as well as one of the most iconoclastic. It has also come to represent the very essence of classical music itself. Music lovers know it backwards and forwards, and even those who have never attended an orchestra concert nonetheless recognize the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth, as it is informally known, immediately.

Since the Fifth’s premiere on a cold December night in Vienna, it has become a lens through which we have viewed music, society, and culture. Early audiences heard in its notes an exhortation of victory and triumph, whether literal or of a more internal, personal kind. As the 19th century progressed, Beethoven’s music, particularly the symphonies, became the standard against which every subsequent composer’s music was measured. During WWII, the Allies used the famous four-note opening as a signal in radio broadcasts of victory over the Axis powers. The Fifth Symphony also became an unforgettable part of the 1970s with Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band’s disco version, A Fifth of Beethoven.

Beethoven supposedly likened the four opening notes to the hand of Fate knocking at the door. In all likelihood, however, this description was fabricated by Anton Schindler, one of Beethoven’s early biographers, known both for his poor memory and his penchant for invention. These four notes are the rhythmic seed from which the rest of the symphony develops, and the short da-da-da-DA fragment recurs in each movement, as a unifying device. Beethoven, who left few clues as to his compositional process for the Fifth Symphony, did mention the creation of a theme that “begins in my head the working-out in breadth, height, and depth. Since I am aware of what I want, the fundamental idea never leaves me. It mounts, it grows. I see before my mind the picture in its whole extent, as if in a single grasp.”

Beethoven conducted the Fifth’s premiere on December 22, 1808, as part of a massive all-Beethoven concert that also included the Sixth Symphony and the Piano Concerto No. 4. At the premiere, in addition to the two symphonies and the piano concerto, Beethoven also presented his Choral Fantasy, plus the concert aria “Ah, perfido,” and the “Gloria” and “Sanctus” sections from his Mass in C major. This four-hour concert challenged the endurance of even the most ardent Beethoven fans. To make matters worse, the orchestra was badly under-rehearsed and the hall spottily heated. Composer Johann Friedrich Reichardt, who attended the premiere, later wrote, “There we sat from 6:30 till 10:30, in the most bitter cold, and found by experience that one might have too much even of a good thing.”

The Fifth Symphony generated little comment at its premiere, but 18 months later, composer and critic E. T. A. Hoffmann wrote a lengthy review, in which he called it “one of the most important works of the master whose stature as a first-rate instrumental composer probably no one will now dispute … the instrumental music of Beethoven open[s] the realm of the colossal and the immeasurable for us.”

© Elizabeth Schwartz

British/German violinist, director and festival director Jack Liebeck, possesses “flawless technical mastery” and a “beguiling silvery tone” (BBC Music Magazine). Jack is the Royal Academy of Music’s first Émile Sauret Professor of Violin and Artistic Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. “A diverse and interesting program, giving voice to many of the festival artists, this was a terrific offering for this year’s Australian Festival of Chamber Music.” (Limelight Magazine). Jack’s playing embraces the worlds of elegant chamber-chic Mozart through to the impassioned mastery required to frame Brett Dean The Lost Art of Letter Writing and he has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras, conductors and chamber musicians. Jack’ fascination with all things scientific has led to two new concertos being written for him and regular collaborator Professor Brian Cox – Dario Marianelli’s Voyager Violin Concerto and Paul Dean’s A Brief History of Time commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in commemoration of Professor Stephen Hawking. In summer 2023 Jack gave the online premiere of Taylor Scott Davis’ new concerto for violin, choir & orchestra To Sing of Love: a Triptych with the VOCES8 Foundation Choir and Orchestra conducted by Barnaby Smith as part of LIVE From London, commissioned for Jack this will be released on album in 2024.

I come from a musical family, and personally studied voice for a little over 10 years. Graduated from EWU in 2017, and currently work in property management. I am married to my beautiful wife Marina, and continue to teach a youth choir at my local church and voice lessons privately. I enjoy camping, taking out our jet ski and exploring all the beautiful lakes surrounding us, and taking road trips to the numerous hot springs in our area.

Ticket Information:

Tickets On Sale: Monday, August 14, 2023
Single Ticket Prices: $19 – $68
Phone: 509-624-1200
Box Office: Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, 1001 West Sprague Avenue

Bag Policy

All bags (with the exception of clutches 6 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches) are subject to visual inspection by venue security.
Large bags are not allowed in The Fox, and must be checked in our Coat Check (located in the North Gallery) for the duration of the event.

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