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Originally published September 12, 2012 at 5:31 AM | Page modified September 14, 2012 at 11:47 AM

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Fall Arts: Classical Music

Fall 2012 classical-music highlights: a new "Listen boldly" motto for music director Ludovic Morlot's second season at Seattle Symphony; French pianist Hélène Grimaud at Meany Theater; and a farewell recital by baroque violinist Ingrid Matthews, in her last season as Seattle Baroque Orchestra co-director.

Special to The Seattle Times

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Big changes are afoot at the Seattle Symphony, where music director Ludovic Morlot starts his second season exemplifying the orchestra's new motto: "Listen boldly."

Launched by an all-American "Opening Night Concert and Gala" (featuring stellar violinist Joshua Bell with Morlot conducting) on Sept. 15, the orchestra's 2012-13 season proceeds with a colorful spectacular Sept. 20-22 offering Respighi's "Pines of Rome." Cello fans won't want to miss brilliant principal cellist Efe Baltacigil in Tchaikovsky's "Rococo Variations" Oct. 4-7, and then there's thought-provoking pianist András Schiff in an all-Bach recital Oct. 15 and the incomparable Emanuel Ax playing the Brahms Second Piano Concerto with the orchestra Nov. 15-18. (And 2012-13 also says farewell to two well-loved SSO series, the Visiting Orchestras and Symphony Specials.)

Also for ivory fanciers: Hélène Grimaud, the French pianist known for her musical intelligence and crystalline technique, returns to Meany Theater for a Nov. 1 President's Piano Series recital spanning Mozart and Alban Berg.

A farewell recital by baroque violinist Ingrid Matthews (in her last season as Seattle Baroque Orchestra co-director) on Oct. 6 features Bach violin concertos by a player whose Bach recording was cited by the American Record Guide as the "top recommendation for this music ... on either modern or period instrument."

Beethoven's only opera, the sublime "Fidelio," is the star of Seattle Opera's fall season — with German soprano Christiane Libor making her U.S. debut as a fearless wife working to free her political-prisoner husband (tenor Clifton Forbis). Asher Fisch conducts (Oct. 13-27).

Melinda Bargreen also reviews concerts for 98.1 Classical KING FM. She can be reached at mbargreen@aol.com.

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