Tonight's the night when many people are out frolicking, and the classical world has some fine options for those who want to make music a part of their festivities. The Seattle Symphony has...

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Tonight’s the night when many people are out frolicking, and the classical world has some fine options for those who want to make music a part of their festivities. The Seattle Symphony has something quite new this year on offer: an all-Gershwin New Year’s Eve, with the famed bass-baritone Sir Willard White and pianist Stewart Goodyear participating in a program that hits most of Gershwin’s most popular high notes.

The program includes “An American in Paris” and “Rhapsody in Blue.” Other soloists: soprano Indra Thomas and tenor Russell Thomas, who will join White in selections from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” You’ll also hear the Seattle Choral Company (Fred Coleman, director).

The Jamaican-born White, who lives in London, recently was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II. His credits include opera and concert performances with the New York City Opera, English National Opera, London Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic, among many others. Gerard Schwarz will be on the podium for the 8 p.m. event in Benaroya Hall, and he will lead a countdown to midnight later on for the revelers who’ll be dancing in the Stroum Grand Lobby.

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At St. James


The annual New Year’s Eve Gala at St. James Cathedral is billed as “Seattle’s oldest classical New Year’s tradition,” and this year the festivities also will ring in the Cathedral’s centennial year. There’s baroque music by the chamber choir (the Cantorei), the Cathedral Soloists, Chamber Orchestra and organists, and of course the tower bells will ring in the New Year. Plus they’re promising a “midnight surprise.”

The program officially starts at 11 p.m., but doors open at 10 p.m.; it’s not a bad idea to go for the reserved seating option. They’ll hold your reserved seats until 10:50 p.m. before giving them up for general admission. And a Happy New Year to all!



Concert previews




New Year’s Eve performances: Seattle Symphony, 8 tonight Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $65-$150 (206-215-4747 or www.seattlesymphony.org). Gala at St. James Cathedral, 11 tonight (doors open at 10), Ninth Avenue and Marion Street, Seattle; $22 suggested donation (206-382-4874 or www.stjames-cathedral.org).


Melinda Bargreen: mbargreen@seattletimes.com