Executive Director’s Notes: Brief Fling, Sweet Fields, Waiting at the Station

Welcome to the final program of this historic season. Whether you are newly back to in-person performances with us of you’ve been along for the thrilling ride all season, it’s wonderful to see you. So much has transpired since our cautious return to the stage last September, and the concept of “normal” continues to feel a bit out of reach. But in all times of volatility we look for the anchors in our lives to ground us and offer solace, joy, and connection. The arts have always been one of those essential anchors in my own life, and I know that is true for many of you as well. When we engage with arts and culture offerings in our cities, we are actively investing in a sector that is good for us as individuals and excellent for our greater community–and those all-important outcomes around jobs, education, and social change. PNB is part of an incredible cultural community in King County that includes arts, science, and heritage organizations all designed to uplift, educate, and inspire. Together we are several months into a multi-year recovery from the pandemic, and to borrow a phrase, we are stronger together.


When searching for a way to show support to our Ukrainian colleagues at PNB as well as displaced Ukrainian artists, PNB Music Director Emil de Cou came up with the idea of a benefit concert featuring our brilliant PNB Orchestra in partnership with Seattle Opera. The opera’s general director, Christina Scheppelmann, found an organization in Poland providing residencies for artist refugees from Ukraine.


In about a week, the concert was planned, programmed, and on sale as a pay-what-you-will event. As of this writing, over $40,000 has been raised for those artist residencies. As part of a broader conversation about the role of the arts in humanitarian crises, this shared expression of compassion offers a measure of hope.


Next up for PNB is a return to touring, with an engagement at Lincoln Center’s Koch Theatre, presented by the Joyce Theater, followed by July performances at the LA Music Center. (Pretty normal, all things considered!) From there we begin to formally mark PNB’s 50th Anniversary Season. We can’t wait to celebrate with you.


Warm regards,


Ellen Walker
Executive Director



Featured photo: James Yoichi Moore in Twyla Tharp’s Waiting at the Station, photo © Angela Sterling.
Photo: McCaw Hall lit up in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, photo © Angela Sterling.