Seattle Symphony

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

You may not know his name, but you've probably heard his music.

Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony contains some of the catchiest tunes in the classical music repertoire. The Czech-born composer was best known for synthesizing European folk melodies into his music. After an extended stay in New York in the late 1800s, Dvorak incorporated traditional American and African American tunes as well.

Seattle Symphony YouTube Video

Critics are squabbling over Seattle Symphony's latest program: teaming up with Sir Mix-A-Lot and some dancing women at Benaroya Hall in a performance of "Baby Got Back."

You don't associate orchestral music with liking big butts and not lying, but the video of the performance is a hit — more than two million views on YouTube so far. (Scroll down to watch the video.)

photo by Ben Van Houten, courtesy SSO

Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky's career spanned most of the 20th century, but chances are you know him best for a piece of music he wrote when he was just starting out: "Rite of Spring."

KUOW Photo/Tonya Mosley

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot about his upcoming performance with the Seattle Symphony.

Update: The performance was a hit, with women from the audience getting on stage and dancing to Mix's classic, "Baby Got Back."  

Flickr Photo/@HyeonsikMoon (CC-BY-NC-ND)

When the League of American Orchestras' annual meeting kicks off in Seattle on June 6, the almost 1,000 conventioneers will have more than classical music on their minds. American symphony orchestras are thinking about survival in an era where potential audiences have the world available at the tap of a smart phone.

Classical musician and radio host Dave Beck of Seattle's KING-FM jokes "there are lots of people in classical music audiences whose hair is even grayer than mine."

The only people inhaling at Seattle Symphony concerts will be the wind-instrument players. The Symphony says it has no plans to follow the lead of the Colorado Symphony and hold marijuana-friendly concerts.

The great outdoors is a perennial theme in classical music, usually expressed through bucolic or picturesque works. But the Seattle Symphony knew that to appear on Spring for Music — an annual festival of adventurous programming by North American orchestras — it required a more unusual, daring take on this theme.

Flickr Photo/Derrick Coetzee (CC BY-NC-ND)

Composer John Luther Adams was as surprised as anybody when the Pulitzer Prize committee called him Monday, April 14, to let him know he'd won the prize for his composition "Become Ocean."

Flickr Photo/kmaschke (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The Seattle Symphony is joining the ranks of other major orchestras across the country with the creation of an in-house production company called Seattle Symphony Media.

The venture launches with the release of three new recordings, one of which was made during a live performance.

Members of the Seattle Symphony and Opera Players' Organization (SSOPO) voted October 15 to authorize a strike.  In a statement on its website, SSOPO representatives say the latest contract offers from both organizations call for 15 percent reductions in pay and benefits for the 2012-2013 season.  That's on top of concessions the musicians have already made.  The union says its membership can't take further cuts.