The Seattle Symphony Orchestra will launch Benaroya Hall's 10th-anniversary season Sept. 13 with an opening-night gala featuring opera stars...

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The Seattle Symphony Orchestra will launch Benaroya Hall’s 10th-anniversary season Sept. 13 with an opening-night gala featuring opera stars Frederica von Stade and Samuel Ramey, with Gerard Schwarz conducting. It’s the first of more than 220 performances the orchestra will present in 2008-09.

Schwarz will be followed by a roster of American guest conductors such as David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, Dennis Russell Davies, Sir André Previn, JoAnn Falletta and James DePreist.

The popular Visiting Orchestras series will present the San Francisco Symphony with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with conductor/violinist Julia Fischer and Academy of Ancient Music with conductor Richard Egarr (that orchestra visited Seattle last week under Early Music Guild auspices).

Other events likely to attract eager audiences include the return of such guest conductors as Vassily Sinaisky, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Nicholas McGegan, Douglas Boyd and Rossen Milanov. The season lineup will also offer five stellar duo recitals: violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky with his pianist mother, Bella Davidovich; the piano duo of Emanuel Ax with Yefim Bronfman; Polish opera star Ewa Podle{oelig} with pianist Garrick Ohlsson; violinist Leonidas Kavakos with pianist Enrico Pace; and violinist Hilary Hahn with pianist Valentina Lisitsa.

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Symphony audiences will get their first look (and listen) in Benaroya Hall at guest violinists Tianwa Yang (U.S. debut) and Tasmin Little; pianists Maki Namekawa, Yevgeny Sudbin (who appeared last November in Meany Theater) and Marc-André Hamelin; and cellist Johannes Moser. They’ll join such returning stars as pianists Lang Lang, Garrick Ohlsson, John Lill, Barry Douglas, Nikolai Lugansky and André Watts; violinists Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Leila Josefowicz, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin and Midori; cellists Lynn Harrell and Joshua Roman; and soprano Jane Eaglen.

A chamber series in the 540-seat Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya will offer the complete Beethoven String Quartets, performed by the American String Quartet, Borealis String Quartet, Ebène Quartet, Pacifica Quartet, Talich Quartet and Ying Quartet.

Promising multimedia presentations will include the return of glass artist Dale Chihuly — whose dazzling sets for the 2007 “Bluebeard’s Castle” presentation contributed to one of that season’s most memorable programs. Chihuly will design visuals for a June 2009 production of Scriabin’s “The Poem of Ecstasy.” (Chihuly also was previously announced as the designer for a Seattle Symphony “Genesis Suite” production this May and June.)

The Symphony has scheduled another collaboration with the Mark Morris Dance Group and Seattle Theatre Group, presenting Morris’ “Mozart Dances” at The Paramount Theatre in May 2009. The new work is set to two Mozart Piano Concertos, Nos. 11 and 27, and the Sonata in D for Two Pianos, with visuals by artist Howard Hodgkin. Pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Yoko Nazaki will perform, and Jane Glover will conduct.

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