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Win big with Cirque and Seattle Symphony!

In honor of the Symphony’s upcoming presentation of Cirque de la Symphonie on July 11 and 12, we’ve pulled together a set of circus trivia. The first five people who respond with the correct answers via email will win a pair of tickets to the July 12 performance of Cirque de la Symphonie. Ready? Set? Cirque!

The standard size of a circus ring was determined as the arc which a horse could navigate at a full gallop. What is the diameter of that arc?

  1. 36 feet
  2. 42 feet
  3. 49 feet
  4. 59 feet

Which of the following tokens is considered good luck by many circus performers?

  1. A tiger’s whisker, attached to their costume
  2. Dirt or sand from inside the ring, sprinkled in their shoes
  3. A ticket stub from that day’s show, rubbed for luck before entering the ring
  4. An elephant’s tail hair, worn as a ring or bracelet

Who put on the first circus in the United States?

  1. John Bill Ricketts in 1783
  2. Joshuah Purdy Brown in 1825
  3. P.T. Barnum in 1842
  4. James Anthony Bailey in 1881

How many brothers founded the Ringling Brothers Greatest Show on Earth?

  1. Two
  2. Three
  3. Five
  4. Seven

What is the name of this famous circus theme song?

  1. Three Ring March
  2. Entrance of the Gladiators
  3. Pachyderms on Parade
  4. March of the Clowns

To Enter: Email your full name, telephone number, and answers to, with “Cirque Quiz” in the subject line, by 5 p.m. on Monday, July 7. You will be contacted via telephone by Tuesday, July 8, if you have won.


Cirque de la Symphonie is coming! Aerial artists, contortionists, strongmen — what’s not to like? Check out the video below for a sneak preview:

July 11 and 12 ONLY. Tickets from $17.

Video courtesy Cirque de la Symphonie. Featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performing Khachaturian’s Waltz from Masquerade Suite.

Tom PhilionHello, everyone! I’m Tom Philion, Seattle Symphony’s Executive Director, and I’d like to welcome you to Seattle Symphony’s new SummerFest 2008 blog, where you can get an inside look at the Symphony’s new summer festival. Encompassing some 14 concerts between June 26 and July 14, SummerFest 2008 features an eclectic mix of artists, musical styles and programming, under the collaborative guidance of Grammy-winning American composer and performer Mark O’Connor.

Many know Mark best for his incredible genius as a performer — from old-time fiddle tunes to jazz — through such collaborative projects as Appalachia Waltz with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and appearances on countless recordings with the world’s top artists. But he is also known for his brilliant composition work: from television and film to the concert hall, O’Connor has made incredible contributions to the world of symphonic music, including his double concerto, For the Heroes, which celebrates the heroic efforts of so many following the tragic events of 9/11, and which will feature cellist Maya Beiser and O’Connor himself at SummerFest 2008.

For jazz lovers, Wynton Marsalis and his remarkable musicians from Jazz at Lincoln Center perform on July 1, while Mark O’Connor’s own Hot Swing group appears on July 2 with special guest vocalist Sophie Milman and an opening act, the much-heralded Punch Brothers, featuring Chris Thile.

We have the BBC’s Blue Planet Live!, which will include the series’ brilliant footage with full orchestra accompaniment conducted by the film composer George Fenton, along with narration by local actor and the voice of KPLU’s BirdNote, Frank Corrado.

Cirque de la Symphonie, a new touring program making waves across the nation, stars extraordinary cirque artists performing jaw-dropping feats to the classics of the symphonic repertoire. Our festival concludes with banjo icon Earl Scruggs, joined by Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet, featuring Béla Fleck with Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee.

We hope you’ll agree that the festival lineup is fantastic. We’ll see you at SummerFest!