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In February, Seattle Symphony presents Mackey’s Memoir, a theatrical musical adaptation of his mother’s memoir.

On February 2, the Seattle Symphony presents Steven Mackey’s 2021 theatrical musical work, Memoir for percussion duo, string quartet, and narrator at Benaroya Hall. The performances (7pm and 9:30pm) feature arx duo alongside narrator Natalie Christa and a string quartet composed of Seattle Symphony musicians, directed by Mark DeChiazza. The 75-minute theatrical piece is based on the unpublished memoir written by Mackey’s mother, Elaine Mackey.

Memoir explores the tumultuous 20th century as told through the eyes of a first-generation American woman charting her own path in search of the American Dream. In his program note, Mackey describes the work:

The script is a series of short vignettes which trace Elaine Mackey’s life as a first-generation American, born in Steel Town USA, coming of age in the Great Depression, escaping an ill-fated Hollywood marriage to work for the Department of Defense in post-war Europe and raising a family in Northern California in the volatile ’60s. Against the backdrop of the events of the 20th century, a la Forrest Gump, there is a touching candor and vulnerability to my mom’s stories revealing the tension between her shy nature and her longing for adventure; her ‘nice-girl’ upbringing and her openness to experience. Familiar themes of love, loss, gender roles, and social mores are ensconced in her intense personal struggle with alcoholism and its stigma.

Memoir saw its world premiere in 2022 at the Walton Arts Center, performed by the arx duo, Dover Quartet, and narrator Natalie Christa.

In the spring, Mackey’s Aluminum Flowers for guitar and orchestra receives its world premiere with soloist JIJI, who performs the piece with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and Robert Spano on March 9, followed by a performance with the Utah Symphony and David Robertson on April 20.

Concert Info
Friday, February 2, 2024
7:00pm and 9:30pm
Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center, Benaroya Hall | Seattle, WA
Learn more

arx duo
Natalie Christa, narrator
Mark DeChiazza, director
Musicians of the Seattle Symphony:
Eduardo Rios, Violin
Andy Liang, Violin
Olivia Chew, Viola
Nathan Chan, Cello


>  Further information on Work: Memoir

Photo: Kah Poon

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