Seattle cellist to join Symphony’s Chamber Orchestra for Sequim, PA concerts

Two concerts welcoming the new year — one in Sequim and one in Port Angeles — will be presented by the Port Angeles Symphony’s Chamber Orchestra this week.

Cellist Michael Center of Seattle steps up as featured soloist with the 23-piece ensemble at a pair of venues: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 Lopez Ave., Port Angeles, on Friday, Jan. 17, and Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave., Sequim, on Saturday, Jan. 18.

Both performances start at 7 p.m.

Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major is the centerpiece of each evening. This is music Center knows like a close friend, having learned it when he was a youth. Yet he’s only performed a reduced version accompanied by a pianist.

These two nights mark the first time he’ll play the concerto with an orchestra surrounding him.

“I’m really looking forward to this collaboration,” Center said, adding that as he practices for these two dates, he realizes anew that the Haydn is just “a fantastic piece.”

Also on the evenings’ program are a little-known work by Frank Bridge, his Suite for Strings, plus the Sinfonia in F minor by Alessandro Scarlatti. This piece features Sequim musicians Nancy Reis, an oboist, violist Tyrone Beatty and violinist Kate Southard-Dean.

Port Angeles Symphony conductor and music director Jonathan Pasternack invited Center, who plays with the Lake Union Civic Orchestra in Seattle, to come over to Clallam County a few years ago. He performs with the Port Angeles Symphony from time to time, and Pasternack, impressed by his style, wanted to bring him into the spotlight in a chamber concert.

“He’s had a distinguished career,” said Pasternack. It’s been a diverse one. After earning his master’s in music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and performing with the Sacramento, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz., symphonies, Center returned to college, moved back to his hometown of Seattle and became a project manager at the Boeing Co. He is still in that position today, while continuing to play with the Lake Union and Port Angeles orchestras.

For this weekend’s concerts, Center and Pasternack chose the Haydn concerto together; both men love it for its colors, melodies and charm.

Tickets to all of the Symphony’s Chamber Orchestra concerts are $15 for general admission. And as ever, youngsters 16 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.

Outlets include Port Book and News in Port Angeles, and the Symphony office at 360-457-5579.

Get more information about the orchestra and its forthcoming concerts through this winter and spring at