For my grand finale, I will have the honor of sharing the podium with our Music Director Designate Nikolas Caoile, who chose a wonderful opener with Nicolai's Merry Wives of Windsor overture. Few musical partnerships have provided me with more satisfaction than my work with cellist extraordinaire Julian Schwarz. I first featured Julian as a soloist when he still was a teenager, and witnessed over the years his irresistible rise to becoming a great artist and wonderful man. Julian was also the Assistant Conductor to LUCO for two seasons and proved a virtuoso of the baton. Northwest composer Samuel Jones is a dear friend of Julian and mine, and choosing his Cello Concerto for our last adventure is most befitting. For my final symphonic hurrah, I chose Shostakovich's epic 10th, a monumental journey through the human condition so deeply felt by the composer following the death of Stalin in 1953. I hold Shostakovich as the last great symphonist, and his 10th as his finest opus and a great way to bid my farewell.