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Rainier Sympony opens its season this weekend in Renton, Tukwila
For more than 30 years, the Rainier Symphony has offered the region some of the best music from a community orchestra in the nation.
And for the past few years, the symphony has called Tukwila home, performing at the Foster High School Performing Arts Center and the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center at Renton High School.
For many years the symphony was based in Kent.
The symphony’s season kicks off this weekend (see schedule below) with Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 2” and Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No. 2.”
Both those pieces take “a very large and very capable orchestra,” said music director David Waltman, and are not often heard, so the opportunity for South King County audiences to hear that level of music at home “is pretty extraordinary.”
They embody the “large orchestra pieces” the symphony performs, Waltman says.
A website to bookmark for a comprehensive calendar of cultural events in South King County, including Tukwila, is sococulture.org. That’s the site of South King County Cultural Coalition, which represents more than 70 arts and heritage organizations.
For audiences, going to a Rainier Symphony concerts means they don’t have to go to Seattle to hear major musical works, said Waltman, who has directed the symphony for 12 years.
Waltman calls the Rainier Symphony one of the best community orchestras in the country. Its concertmaster, Ilkka Talvi, held the same position with the Seattle Symphony for 20 years.
Many musicians are career professionals and many hold advanced degrees in their instruments.
Harpist Juliet Stratton of Kirkland will perform with the Rainier Symphony this season. She's played with the Seattle Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony, as well as numerous community orchestras.
The musicians of the Rainier Symphony are "a really top-notch group."
The symphony draws students, too, because it "encourages young people to play, which is so important today," Stratton said.
Concert-goers "are able to have the great cultural experience of a symphony orchestra" without having to drive to Seattle, she said.
Performing for the orchestra are teachers, both public and private, and community members. They come from all over the region.
“It’s a body of musical experience and expertise and passion that is unlike anything else really in this area,” Waltman said.
“The quality here is extremely good,” Waltman said.
Rainier Symphony season
Classical Concert One
Oct. 19 - 7:30 p.m., Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center, Renton High School, 400 S. Second St.
Oct. 20 - 3 p.m., Foster High School Performing Arts Center, 4242 S. 144th St., Tukwila
Prokofiev – "Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 2"
Rachmaninoff – "Symphony No. 2"
Friday, Dec. 13 - 7:30 p.m., Foster Performing Arts Center
Classical Concert Two
Feb. 8 - 7:30 p.m., Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center
Feb. 9 - 3 p.m., Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center
Featuring Strauss - "Don Quixote"
Classical Concert Three
April 12 - 7:30 p.m., Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center
April 13 - 3 p.m., Foster Performing Arts Center
Featuring Tchaikovsky - "Symphony No. 6"
Classical Concert Four
May 17 - 7:30 p.m., Lagerquist Concert Hall at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma
May 18 - 3:00 p.m., Foster Performing Arts Center
Brahms - "German Requiem"
with the Northwest Repertory Singers
Conductors: David Waltman and Paul Schultz
Where to buy tickets