The Seattle Symphony, under music director Gerard Schwarz, first gained national recognition as a champion of the American school of orchestral composers—those musical descendants of Aaron Copland who, like him, have a knack for making direct emotional contact with listeners and who seem to speak in their music of what it means to be American. Carrying on that tradition as expertly as anyone is Sam Jones, winding down his 14-season tenure as the orchestra's composer-in-residence. To celebrate Jones' legacy—and his 75th birthday—the SSO is filling this weekend with his music. Friday's recital includes chamber music, piano music, and songs; the three orchestral concerts will premiere his latest commission, Reflections: Songs of Fathers and Daughters. No doubt it'll exemplify Jones' particular strengths: adeptness at evoking a mood, and vibrantly colorful orchestration that shows off the talents of the SSO players in their fullest brilliance. (Also on the program: Liszt, Shostakovich, and another premiere, by Paul Schoenfield.)
Jones, left, with SSO trombonist Ko-ichiro Yamamoto.
Recital: Benaroya Recital Hall, Third Avenue and Union Street, 215-4747, seattlesymphony.org. $19–$31. 8 p.m. Fri., June 3. Concert: Benaroya Hall, $17–$107. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., June 2, 8 p.m. Sat., June 4, 2 p.m. Sun., June 5.