Working in Soviet Russia, Shostakovich walked a dangerous artistic path that could have cost him his livelihood or even his life at any moment. A master chameleon, he cloaked his most soulful and subversive statements just under the surface of music that, at face value, toed the party line. One avenue that proved most fruitful for him was to revisit the old classical forms that had fallen out of favor. Like his 15 symphonies and 15 string quartets, Shostakovich's six concertos — two each for violin, cello and piano — reveal a composite portrait of this enigmatic genius.
The Seattle Symphony has gathered the Shostakovich concertos into two powerful concerts featuring three rising stars of the international stage, including Kevin Ahfat, winner of the 2015 Seattle Symphony Piano Competition. This compact festival demonstrates the enormous range of six works spread across more than 40 years, and it testifies to the singular vision of a 20th-century icon.