Mark O'ConnorWelcome to Seattle Symphony’s SummerFest! It is a great pleasure to be the Festival Director and to return to my hometown of Seattle, a place where I was born and spent my formative years. I have had the great fortune of performing my compositions with Seattle Symphony in years past, and of adding my performances to each season at the fabulous Benaroya Hall since its opening.

Over the years, I’ve mulled over how great it would be to help create a music series that combined the best of classical, jazz and folk music in a summer festival setting hosted by the great Seattle Symphony. We have accomplished just that at SummerFest. I have invited some of the greatest musicians in the world, known for their boundary-crossing musical imagination and innovation, to join us. I invite all of you to take one incredible musical journey for a few weeks, exploring new music projects, celebrating the great music traditions, and enjoying some performances by some of the best musicians in the world.

Our festival features an extraordinary lineup. Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Earl Scruggs with family and friends, and Maestro Schwarz conducting Wagner and Mahler are just a few of our festival’s highlights. Regarding my own festival performances, I am looking forward to the Northwest premiere of my Double Concerto for violin and cello, For the Heroes, with the dynamic cellist Maya Beiser and Seattle Symphony. I am also bringing my “Hot Swing,” too, along with mandolin wizard Chris Thile for an evening of some hot picking!

We want to make some music history with this festival, a music model that is brand new and cutting edge. I, for one, am glad that it is happening right here in my hometown of Seattle. Enjoy!

Mark O’Connor