The upcoming season is the 66th for Olympia Symphony Orchestra. Last year, the  focus was on grand, celebratory symphonies. “The season after a big anniversary year is always tough, when the hoopla is over and bunting taken down,” says music director and conductor Huw Edwards, “but these are great years to really take stock, work the orchestra and hone some expressive subtleties.” Since this is OSO’s 66th season, Route 66 inspired the theme “Highways & Byways.” This season promises a wide range of shorter pieces by a variety of lesser-known and more-famous composers, inspired by explorations off well-traveled roads.

The season opens in October, with pieces by Bernstein, Debussy and Glazunov, and features Route 66 by Daugherty. Many American composers are highlighted throughout the year, and, according to Edwards, more French composers than usual. These selections allow the symphony to elevate its technical game and highlight the music’s expressive qualities. Each concert will offer something different, conceptually and musically, to its audience. “You can’t really have favorites,” Edwards says. “You must focus a hundred percent on the pieces and program in hand. November is also special, a concert commemorating the centenary of the end of World War I.” Edwards also highlights Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5 in the March concert and, in April, the ballet score Mother Goose by Ravel.

Composers from over 10 countries will be featured this year, paired with popular, American classics. The diversity in musical selection parallels the season’s exploratory theme. “We just keep working hard to get better every year,” Edwards notes, adding, in true artistic fashion, “[We] raise the bar a little higher.”



“By Land and Sea”: Works by Bernstein, Copland, Daugherty, Debussy, Glazuhov (Glazunov – spelling) and guest artist Felicity James, violin


7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14


Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA 98501


$10 – $63