LIVE CONCERT SPOTLIGHT: October 25, 28, 30

by Maggie Molloy

From percussion concertos to Kaki King, this week is packed with exciting contemporary music performances!

Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s Season Opener Featuring Evelyn Glennie


This concert is now SOLD OUT, but worth highlighting nonetheless!

Evelyn Glennie is not your average percussionist. The triple-Grammy winning musician was the first person in musical history to create and maintain a career as a solo percussionist, all while being profoundly deaf.

This Saturday, she will perform the world premiere of Sean O’Boyle’s new percussion concerto, “Portraits of Immortal Love,” with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. The piece, which is inspired by the 100-year anniversary of World War I, features percussion instruments ranging from waterphones to hand bells to singing bowls and shell wind chimes. The percussive instruments are meant to illustrate the aching beauty and desperate hope of long-distance love in a time when written word was the only means of communication.

In keeping with the organic, colorful rhythmic quality of percussion instruments, the Symphony will also perform Ravel’s “Bolero,” Debussy’s “Nocturnes,” and Respighi’s “Pines of Rome.” The performance also doubles as the inaugural concert welcoming Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s new Music Director, Sarah Ioannides.

The performance will take place at the Pantages Theatre in Tacoma this Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Cornish’s Contemporary Piano Series Featuring Jonathan Powell


Jonathan Powell is bringing some contemporary colors to the classical piano keyboard next Tuesday. As part of Cornish College of the Arts’ Contemporary Piano series, Powell will be performing a program rich in color with Romantic and lesser-known contemporary works by early 20th century composers.

The program includes solo piano works composed by Nikolai Medtner, Alexander Scriabin, Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, and Karol Szymanowski. The pieces showcase Powell’s musical talents as an international touring soloist with a wide range of colorful repertoire and a specialty in late-Romantic music. In particular, Powell is often associated with Sorabji, a prolific piano composer who’s demanding piano compositions Powell has performed and premiered at several concerts internationally.

The Contemporary Piano performance will take place at Cornish’s PONCHO Hall next Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m.

Kaki King and ETHEL String Quartet


The inimitable, uncategorizable Kaki King is joining forces with ETHEL, an experimental New York based string quartet, to create an evening of truly imaginative, totally indescribable music.

King is a guitarist and composer with an impressively diverse musical career. Aside from releasing six incredibly distinct LP records over the course of 10 years, she has also toured extensively and contributed to a variety of film and TV soundtracks. Though she’s impossible to pin down, King is known for her percussive, often jazzy melodies and her use of multiple tunings on acoustic and lap steel guitars.

ETHEL shares a similar interest in pushing musical boundaries. Unlike your typical string quartets, ETHEL plays with amplification and regularly incorporates improvisation into their performances. The group frequently performs original works as well as works by contemporary composers.

Kaki King and ETHEL will perform at the Edmonds Center for the Arts next Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

NOW Ensemble: Live Broadcast on Wednesday, November 5!


Our next live broadcast on Second Inversion’s 24/7 stream is Wednesday, November 5 at 7:30pm, featuring the NYC-based NOW Ensemble presented by Town Music at Town Hall performing:

Derek Bermel: Interval Training (World Premiere!)
Judd Greenstein: Folk Music
Missy Mazzoli: Magic with Everyday Objects
Patrick Burke: All Together NOW
Mark Dancigers: Dreamfall

Join the Facebook event and invite your friends.  Big thanks to the Office of Arts & Culture for their support of this recording and broadcast.


Stay tuned for news on more live broadcasts from Town Hall, in-studio recordings, and broadcasts of pre-recorded concerts throughout the year!

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Gabriel Prokofiev: Selected Classical Works 2003-2012

By Maggie Molloy


Classical music buffs are typically familiar with the works of 20th century Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev; but are they familiar with the works of his grandson?

Gabriel Prokofiev is a London-based composer, producer, and founder of the Nonclassical record label. Created in 2004, Nonclassical is an independent record label which is dedicated to the discovery and promotion of new, innovative, forward-thinking classical music. The label’s albums often feature collaborations between classical musicians and producers who typically work in different genres.

The label also hosts club-nights: contemporary classical performances presented in London pubs, rock venues, and nightclubs, with DJs performing between acts. The idea behind club-nights is that they make contemporary classical music more accessible, particularly to a younger audience.

In honor of Nonclassical’s 10th anniversary, this past August Prokofiev released an album titled “Gabriel Prokofiev: Selected Classical Works 2003-2012.” In keeping with Nonclassical’s mission, the selected compositions feature elements of the Western classical music tradition while also experimenting with innovative new sounds and instrumentation.

Buy it here!

The album begins with the complete recordings of Prokofiev’s String Quartet No. 1 and String Quartet No. 2 performed by the Elysian Quartet. Both pieces utilize rich, percussive rhythms, visceral bow strokes, dense musical textures, and dynamic interplay between voices. Prokofiev tends to favor swelling violin melodies layered over very rhythmic, typically pizzicato backdrops. With each movement, he utilizes the full pitch range of every instrument (as well as every possible style of playing) in order to fully immerse the listener in a unique musical atmosphere.

The quartets are followed by two movements of Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra, performed by the Heritage Orchestra and featuring DJ Yoda. If anyone was going to combine the two seemingly separate worlds of hip hop and classical music, Prokofiev is probably the most qualified to do so: the unique concept for this piece is informed by his background as a producer of hip hop, grime, and electro records. The concerto’s dynamic rhythms and dramatic punches are at times reminiscent of Stravinsky—except for, you know, with turntables.

Since his turntable concerto, Prokofiev has further fused hip hop and classical music in a number of other projects. Earlier this year, the Seattle Symphony performed Prokofiev’s orchestral arrangements of Seattle hip hop pioneer Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Posse on Broadway” and “Baby Got Back.” The Symphony also premiered Prokofiev’s own original Sir Mix-A-Lot-inspired orchestral composition, “Dial 1-900 Mix-A-Lot.”

Though these compositions did not make it onto his compilation album, Prokofiev does feature plenty of other imaginative works. Four selections from his Piano Book No. 1, performed by GéNIA, give the album a slightly softer edge. The pieces seem to explore every pitch of every octave on the piano, ranging from growling bass backdrops to light, whimsical melodies.

The piano pieces are followed by all four movements of Prokofiev’s Cello Multitracks, performed by Peter Gregson. This piece is certainly not your typical cello repertoire: it was written for nine layered cello parts, all of which are intended to be recorded by a single cellist. The piece truly highlights the cello’s unbelievable range, combining even the toughest, grittiest sounds with the most vocal, melodic qualities of the instrument. Plus, hearing numerous layers of the same instrument interweaving with itself also creates a truly unique aural experience.

Prokofiev’s compilation album ends with an excerpt from “Import/Export: Suite for Global Junk” performed by Powerplant. The piece is inspired by musicians and composers from around the globe who use unconventional objects as percussion instruments. The result is a rich array of percussive sounds and echoing rhythms.

From his turntable concerto to his nine-cello suite to his found-objects percussion piece, Prokofiev’s compilation album showcases his ear for experimentation and musical innovation. Regardless of his musical lineage, Gabriel Prokofiev has certainly secured a name for himself as one of London’s most imaginative contemporary composers.

Second Inversion Mobile App!

We are thrilled to launch the Second Inversion mobile app for iPhone and Android!

Choose your device and automatically connect to the app store or simply search “Second Inversion” in the iPhone, Android, or Windows (coming soon!) stores.



The app makes listening to Second Inversion’s 24/7 stream of new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre easier than ever.

You can also enjoy a variety of special features within the app:

  • On-Demand Audio – live concert recordings, in-studio recordings, podcasts
  • Video Archive
  • Event Calendar
  • Easy access to our blog and social media outlets
  • Photo Uploads – send us your photos!
  • Alarm Clock

2014-10-15 11.05.14

2014-10-15 11.33.02








Download it today and let us know what you think!


by Maggie Molloy

Looking to expand your musical horizons? Here are some exciting and experimental Seattle music events taking place this weekend.

Inverted Space Featuring UW Student Compositions


Young 20-somethings are often at the forefront of new music ventures, constantly pushing the boundaries of familiar music genres and creating new ways of experimenting with sound. Seattle’s vibrant young musician scene is no exception. This Friday, music students from the University of Washington are presenting a colorful concert full of contemporary musical compositions written by their peers.

Inverted Space, UW’s contemporary music ensemble, will be performing small ensemble works written by fellow UW music students. The compositions include a solo work for violin and electronics, a duo for saxophone and cello, and many other unique musical compositions with imaginative instrumentation.

The concert is part of Nonsequitur’s Wayward Music Series, and will take place in the gorgeous Chapel Performance Space at the historic Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.​ The concert is this Friday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m.


Seattle Symphony’s [untitled] Season Opener

SSO Musicians at LPR (c) Brandon Patoc

(photo credit: Brandon Patoc)

This Friday, the Seattle Symphony is taking their music outside of Benaroya Hall and into…the lobby.

That’s right; Seattle Symphony is opening their 2014-2015 [untitled] series with a late-night concert presented in Benaroya Hall’s beautiful Samuel and Althea Stroum Grand Lobby. The performance will feature compositions by the influential 20th century Hungarian composer György Ligeti as well as contemporary composers Djuro Zivkovic and Andrew Norman.

Symphony musicians will perform Gyorgy Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 1, “Métamorphoses nocturnes.” One of his more daring early works, the quartet is written in one continuous movement which can be divided into 17 contrasting sections. The concert program also features Serbian-Swedish composer and violinist Djuro Zivkovic’s “On the Guarding of the Heart” as well as American composer Andrew Norman’s “Try.”

If you’d like to hear some insightful interviews with Andrew Norman, Djuro Zivkovic, and Mikhail Schmidt, one of the violinists, check out this great feature from Seattle Symphony!

The performance will take place in Benaroya Hall’s grand lobby this Friday, Oct. 17 at 10 p.m.  Be sure to stop by the KING FM table and say hi to Second Inversion’s Maggie Stapleton!


William O. Smith’s Jazz Clarinet


This Saturday night, William O. Smith is jazzing up classical clarinet music with a performance of his own imaginative compositions and creative improvisations. The classically-trained jazz clarinetist has devoted much of his career to studying and cataloguing an impressive range of extended clarinet techniques, all of which have informed his own original compositions.

Smith will be joined by trombonist Stuart Dempster and clarinetist Jesse Canterbury. The captivating program includes a piece written for clarinet and improvising computer, a piece written for clarinet and computer-transformed sounds, as well as artful improvisations in duo and trio combinations.

The event, which is co-presented by the Earshot Jazz Festival and Nonsequitur, will take place at the Good Shepherd Center’s Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford this Saturday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m.