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.

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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.”

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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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