Classical, Stage, Music, and More




Part Jesse Owens and part Greta Garbo, pianist Van Cliburn leapt to household-word status after winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958a rangy Texas boy who bested the Ruskies at their own game at the height of the Cold War. One could carp at his conservative repertoryand I believe I will, thank youbut his imperial wrought-iron piano style perfectly suits the romantic concertos he does play. Yet (here's the Garbo part) in recent decades, he's gingerly rationed his performances; Cliburn's appearance this week with the Seattle Symphony, playing the Grieg concerto, will be a rare chance to hear one of the last century's greatest pianists. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., June 26. $26-$96. (Sold out!) Benaroya Hall, Third Avenue and Union Street, 206- 215-4747. GAVIN BORCHERT




Drag your fulminating "jazz-is-dead" friends to this show and let them hear how brilliantly glittering and alive the real music is. No one's going to mistake this band of New York avant-gardists for the Nat King Cole Trio, but the connection is there, and the spirit of open form, passion and calculation, and outline and improv that animates them is both pure jazz tradition and utterly new. Ibarra's leadership offers painterly shapes and subtle nods; she's as much a conductor as a drummer and creates an exotic yet subdued palette for the intense, spectacularly virtuosic play of classical violinist Jennifer Choi and inverted lines of pianist Craig Taborn. Kind of a laugh to think of anyone worrying about the future of jazz when you hear this much creativity and intelligence still at work. 8 p.m. Fri., June 27. $12. Seattle Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park. 206-547-9787. MARK D. FEFER




Composer Herbert Bergel usually has a mischievous glint in his eye, but his playful work shows serious talent. His last rock opera, the Norwegian-nurses-on-a-sea-voyage lark Voyage of the Beagle, showed so much musical craft that it made the production's intentional scrappiness a bit trying I wanted Bergel to recognize his own potential. His new late-night effort promises a cheery rotating cast in Bergel's typically random tale-in-song about, among other things, some homeowners awaiting the arrival of you-know-who. 11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Runs Fri., June 27-Sat., July 19. $10. Empty Space Theatre, 3509 Fremont Ave. N. 206-860-7163. STEVE WIECKING




This weekend they untie the construction tape and wrap up the chain-link fence for a pair of events celebrating the renovation of the Opera House, now christened for the McCaw family matron, Marion Oliver McCaw. Saturday night is swanky, with a short program by Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Opera favorites including Patricia Barker, Stanko Milov, Jane Eaglen, and Vinson Cole; mini-performances throughout the hall; and dancing to big-band music onstage. Sunday is a community open house, featuring lectures on the design and construction of the hall, self-guided tours, and performers from the ballet, opera, and Seattle Center Festal groups. It's your chance to stand on the new stage before the professionals take over. 7 p.m. Sat., June 28, $300; 11 a.m. Sun., June 29, free. McCaw Hall, 363 Mercer St., 206-292-ARTS. SANDRA KURTZ




Most of the time, Seattle's Scandinavian heritage is confined to "Uff Da" bumper stickers and some old Stan Boreson recordings, but the Skandia Folkdance Society has been dancing like they do in the old country for 44 years. Every summer they put on a traditional midsummer festival, so after you feast on meatballs and herring and make yourself a crown of flowers, you can watch them raise the Midsommar pole and dance around it in a langdans. 11 a.m. Sun., June 29. $8 (under 18 free). St. Edward State Park, 14445 Juanita Dr., Kenmore. 206-784-7470. SANDRA KURTZ

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