Music of Mother Nature: 5 Works Inspired by the Great Outdoors

Photo by Erin Anderson.

by Maggie Molloy

The Emerald City is famously green—and not just in terms of plant life. Last year Seattle was rated among the top 15 most environmentally sustainable cities in the U.S., and by 2050 we aim to be completely carbon neutral.

This Saturday is Earth Day: a worldwide event dedicated to education and awareness around issues of environmental protection and sustainability. But here in Seattle, every day is Earth Day; every day, we strive to take care of our planet and work toward a sustainable future.

Photo by Erin Anderson.

So in celebration of our beautiful planet—both this weekend and every day—we’re sharing some of our favorite pieces inspired by plants, animals, and the overwhelming magnificence of Mother Nature:

Mamoru Fujieda: Patterns of Plants

We experience plant life through a variety of senses: sight, taste, touch, smell. But have you ever wondered what plants sound like? Japanese post-minimalist composer Mamoru Fujieda decided to find out.

He spent 15 years of his career creating music based on the electrical activity in living plants. Using a device called a “Plantron,” he measured electrical fluctuations on the surface of plant leaves and converted that data into sound. Fujieda then foraged through the resulting sonic forest for pleasing musical patterns, which he used as the basis for his magnum opus: a bouquet of piano miniatures blooming with ornamented melodies and delicate details.


Meredith Monk: On Behalf of Nature

Meredith Monk likes to think outside the box—the voice box, that is. Famous for her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument and a language in and of itself, her music speaks volumes without ever using words.

Monk’s multidisciplinary performance piece On Behalf of Nature is a wordless poetic meditation on the environment; an exploration of the delicate space where humans coexist with the natural and spiritual world. The result is an almost ritualistic soundscape of extended vocal techniques dancing above a hypnotic and at times eerie instrumental accompaniment.


John Luther Adams: Become Ocean

Just about everything in John Luther Adams’ musical oeuvre qualifies as organic Earth Day ear candy, but we Seattleites are partial to his Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Become Ocean, commissioned and premiered by our own Seattle Symphony in 2013.

Inspired by the spectacular waters of the Pacific Northwest and composed in reaction to the imminent threats of global warming, Become Ocean is a literal ocean of sound—a sparkling seascape that immerses the listener in beautiful washes of color. Harmonies ebb and flow with the fluidity of the tide, cresting into bold, climactic waves amid misty and melodic winds.

“As a composer, it’s my belief that music can contribute to the awakening of our ecological understanding,” Adams said. “By deepening our awareness of our connections to the earth, music can provide a sounding model for the renewal of human consciousness and culture.”


Nat Evans: Coyoteways

Seattle composer Nat Evans spent many a night listening to the lonely howl of the coyote as he hiked the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail. So many, in fact, that the animal became the inspiration (along with the writings of Beat poet Gary Snyder) for an album that explores the mythological role of the coyote as a cunning trickster and schemer.

Coyoteways evokes the vast and expansive landscapes of the American West by layering field recordings from Evans’ travels brushed with long, sweeping guitar lines and occasional whispers of saxophone and percussion. The result is an ambient soundscape that echoes with the simple splendor of the great outdoors and the stealthy gaze of the coyotes that watch over it.


Whitney George: Extinction Series

Our planet is currently in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals—the worst wave of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs over 65 million years ago. Composer Whitney George is fighting to change those numbers.

George’s Extinction Series is an ongoing collection of somber and introspective miniatures for various solo instruments, each one composed as a musical obituary to an extinct animal on the rapidly-growing list. The sheer volume of this indeterminate series serves as commentary on mankind’s careless destruction of our planet—and it also poses a direct challenge to Earth’s inhabitants: in order for the series to ever be completed, we must first fundamentally change how we interact with our environment.

New Music Concerts: January 2017 Seattle * Eastside * Tacoma

SI_button2Second Inversion and the Live Music Project create a monthly calendar featuring contemporary classical, cross-genre, and experimental performances in Seattle, the Eastside, Tacoma, and places in between! 

thvLYmNB

Keep an eye out for our this flyer in concert programs and coffee shops around town. Feel free to download, print, and distribute it yourself! If you’d like to be included on this list, submit your event to the Live Music Project at least 6 weeks prior to the event and be sure to tag it with “new music.”

Program Insert - January 2017 onesided

Racer Sessions
A weekly showcase of original music with a jam session based on the concepts in the opening presentation.
Every Sunday, 8-10pm, Cafe Racer | FREE
racersessions.com

Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electronic/electroacoustic music, & more.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15
waywardmusic.org (check website for complete listings)

6-8
The Esoterics: KAY: Ulysses Kay Centennial
The Esoterics will celebrate the centennial of African-American Neoclassic composer, conductor, and professor Ulysses Kay.
Fri, 1/6, 8pm, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church | $15-$25
Sat, 1/7, 8pm, Holy Rosary Catholic Church | $15-$25
Sun, 1/8, 7pm, Christ Episcopal Church, Tacoma | $15-$25
theesoterics.org

7
The Sound Ensemble: Life after Y2K
TSE shares 5 pieces written post-2000 from several different schools of composition, including a world premiere by Sarah Bassingthwaighte.
Sat, 1/7, 7pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10 student/senior; $15 general
thesoundensemble.com/tour-dates

10
Meany Center Presents JACK Quartet
JACK Quartet, deemed “superheroes of the new music world,” performs Morton Feldman, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Derek Bermel, Julia Wolfe, & Iannis Xenakis.
Tue, 1/10, 7:30pm, Meany Theatre | $37-$42
meanycenter.org/events-tickets

11
whateverandeveramen: Second Annual Burns Night
w&ea. sings settings of Robert Burns’s texts and traditional drinking songs with an exclusive batch of Naked City’s “Scotch Wha Hae” Ale.
Wed, 1/11, 8pm, Naked City Brewery | $15 (includes a free drink ticket)
whateverchoir.org/burns

14
Chorosynthesis: Empowering Silenced Voices 2.0
A concert of new choral works on issues of social consciousness: technology, the environment, human & women’s rights, universal love, and perspectives on war & terrorism.
Sat, 1/14, 7:30pm, Nickerson Studios | $10 student/senior; $25 general
chorosynthesis.org/events

14
State of Mind
Susan Maughlin Wood and Michaud Savage premiere works for string sextet with the Skyros Quartet, Rose Gear, and Michaud Savage.
Sat, 1/14, 7pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15
waywardmusic.org

20
Russian Music of the 1960s
Pianist Dr. Brendan Kinsella & violinist Luke Fitzpatrick showcase elements of serialism & quotations in sonatas of Denisov, Shostakovich, & Schnittke.
Fri, 1/20, 7:30pm, Meany Studio Theatre | $10 student/senior; $20 general
music.washington.edu/events

21
Sumiko Sato: Sakaya Uta
Composer/pianist Sumiko Sato premieres a series of pieces for sextet based on very old and historic recordings of Sakaya Uta (sake-brewing work songs).
Sat, 1/21, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15
waywardmusic.org

20/21
Universal Language Project: concrete-lines-fluid-curves
Inspired by a recent trip to Brazil, Chris Stover presents five new compositions for chamber jazz ensemble, spoken word, found sounds, and dancer.
Fri, 1/20, 8pm, Resonance at SOMA Towers | $20
Sat, 1/21, 8pm, Cornish Playhouse – Alhadeff Studio | $20
commontonearts.com/projects/

27
Seattle Symphony: [untitled] 2
An exploration of three Soviet era composers (Rabinovitch-Barakovsky, Ustvolskaya, Karanov) who chart opposing paths during and after the Cold War.
Fri, 1/27, 10pm, Benaroya Hall Grand Lobby | $16
seattlesymphony.org

28
NUMUS Northwest
A day-long event dedicated to the creation, performance, and experience of new music in Seattle featuring performances, panels, workshops.
Sat, 1/28, 9am-10pm, Kerry Hall (Cornish) | $20 (students free)
numusnw.org

20-29
Seattle Chamber Music Society: Winter Festival
SCMS presents iconic 20th century new works on each 2017 Winter Festival performance.
Fri, 1/20, 7:30pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $52 John Corigliano: Violin Sonata
Sat, 1/21, 7:30pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $52 Jennifer Higdon: Piano Trio
Sun, 1/22, 3pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $52 Aaron Jay Kernis: Perpetual Chaconne
Fri, 1/27, 7:30pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $52 Steve Reich: Different Trains
Paul Schoenfield: Café Music: Sat, 1/28, 7:30pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $52
John Adams: Hallelujah Junction: Sun, 1/29, 3pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $52
seattlechambermusic.org/concerts/

2017 New Music Grammy Nominees

Extra! Extra! The 2017 Grammy nominees have been announced and we’re here to celebrate the discs that have been featured as our Album of the Week or in regular rotation on our 24/7 stream. Congratulations to all of the nominees!

2016 Second Inversion Albums of the Week

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

Steve Reich — Third Coast Percussion (Cedille)
Second Inversion Album of the Week February 15-19

51moxudgtlIn their new album, the quartet surveys the composer’s works for percussion over a four-decade span, beginning with the most recent: his three-movement Mallet Quartet. Composed in 2009, the work is scored for two vibraphones and two five-octave marimbas. Third Coast Percussion twirls effortlessly through the circling motives and interlocking canons of the two outer movements, transitioning seamlessly both in and out of the central slow movement. A stark musical contrast between the thinly textured, almost transparent middle movement against the persistent pulse of the outer two brings color and narrative to the piece. – Maggie Molloy

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

Serious Business — Spektral Quartet (Sono Luminus)
Second Inversion Album of the Week February 8-12

dsl-92198-coverSpektral’s new album, titled “Serious Business,” is anything but serious. The album comprises four different perspectives on humor through the lens of classical music, featuring three new works by living composers and one classic from that late, great father of the string quartet, Joseph Haydn.

But don’t let the lighthearted humor fool you—these guys are no classical music newbies. Comprised of violinists Clara Lyon and Austin Wulliman, violist Doyle Armbrust, and cellist Russell Rolen, the Spektral Quartet performs music from across the classical music spectrum. The group is committed to creating connections across the centuries and providing a discourse between the traditional classical canon and the, well, not-so-traditional contemporary classical canon. – Maggie Molloy

Best Music Film

The Music Of Strangers — Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble (Sony)
Second Inversion Album of the Week July 25-29 (companion album to the film)

Sing Me HomeWe need music now more than ever—not as a distraction or an escape, but as a gateway toward experiencing our shared humanity. We need music to open our hearts, our ears, and our minds. We need music to connect us in ways which transcend language, religion, tradition, and geography.

That’s the idea behind Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, a global music collective comprised of performers and composers from over 20 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. – Maggie Molloy

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

Real Enemies — Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (New Amsterdam)
Second Inversion’s Album of the Week October 10-14

a2976727568_16Whether you’re a conspiracy theory junkie or a sideline skeptic, even the most patriotic of us loves a good old-fashioned conspiracy. Whether it’s the Watergate scandal or the inner-workings of the Illuminati, alien sightings or the mysterious murder of JonBenét Ramsey, we just can’t help but turn up our ears when we hear a juicy top-secret scheme.

And since we’re already listening, Brooklyn-based composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue decided to take our eavesdropping ears to the next level: his new album Real Enemies is a 13-chapter exploration into America’s unshakable fascination with conspiracy theories. Performed with his 18-piece big band Secret Society and released on New Amsterdam Records, the album traverses the full range of postwar paranoia, from the Red Scare to the surveillance state, mind control to fake moon landings, COINTELPRO to the CIA-contra cocaine trafficking ring—and everything in between. – Maggie Molloy


2016 albums in rotation on Second Inversion’s 24/7 stream

Best Surround Sound Album & Best Engineered Album, Classical

Dutilleux: Sur La Mêe Accord; Les Citations; Mystère De L’Instant & Timbres, Espace, Mouvement — Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, engineers (Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony) (Seattle Symphony Media)

mi0004097456

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

Winger: Conversations With Nijinsky — C. F. Kip Winger, composer (Martin West & San Francisco Ballet Orchestra) (VBI Classic Recordings)

winger-album-cover

New Music Concerts: November 2016 Seattle * Eastside * Tacoma

SI_button2Second Inversion and the Live Music Project create a monthly calendar featuring contemporary classical, cross-genre, and experimental performances in Seattle, the Eastside, Tacoma, and places in between! 

thvLYmNB

Keep an eye out for our this flyer in concert programs and coffee shops around town. Feel free to download, print, and distribute it yourself! If you’d like to be included on this list drop us a line at least 6 weeks prior to the event.

 

program-insert-november-2016-onesided

Racer Sessions
A weekly showcase of original music with a jam session based on the concepts in the opening presentation.
Every Sunday, 8-10pm, Cafe Racer | FREE

Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electronic/electroacoustic music, & more.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15
Check website for complete listings

3
patchtax at Vermillion
patchtax is a viola/saxophone duo based in Boston who explore unconventional performance practices within the realm of classical chamber music.
Thurs, 11/3, 8pm, Vermillion Art Gallery & Bar | Pay-what-you-can

3
Seattle Modern Orchestra: Reflections on Sound and Silence
SMO presents Andrew Waggoner’s Concerto for Piano featuring soloist Gloria Cheng along with works by Wolfgang Rihm & Vykintas Baltakas.
Thurs, 11/3, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10- $25

4
Cornish Presents: Bora Yoon
Korean-American composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Bora Yoon presents audiovisual storytelling through music, movement and sound.
Fri, 11/4, 8pm, Kerry Hall | $10-$20

4
Seattle Composers’ Salon
Composers, performers, & audience gather in a casual setting that allows for experimentation & discussion of finished works & works in progress.
Friday, 11/4, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

7
PLU Symphony Orchestra: Kracht, Copland, Youtz
Svend Rønning premieres a violin concerto by Jerry Kracht. Also on the program: Copland’s Appalachian Spring.
Mon, 11/7, 8pm, Lagerquist Concert Hall, Tacoma | $5-$8 (PLU Students/18 and under free)

11
Seattle Symphony: Sonic Evolution Co-Presented with Earshot Jazz
The Garfield High School Jazz Band & singer Grace Love join SSO in celebrating Quincy Jones & Ernestine Anderson with a world premiere by Kenji Bunch.
Fri, 11/11, 8pm, Benaroya Hall | $21-30

12
Cornish Presents: Inverted Space
Seattle’s Inverted Space Ensemble presents two continuous sets of music from Anthony Braxton and Morton Feldman.
Sat, 11/12, 8pm, Kerry Hall | $10-$20

12
On Stage with Classical KING FM: Multimedia/Art Mashup
Art leaves the gallery and becomes an interactive and musical experience led by artists from Gage Academy and the Skyros Quartet.
Sat, 11/12, 7:30pm, Resonance at SOMA Towers | $25

15
Meany Center for the Performing Arts: Imani Winds
Joined by pianist Fabio Bidini, Imani Winds presents a program of Piazzolla, D’Rivera, Mozart, Valerie Coleman (Imani Winds flutist), and more!
Tue, 11/15, 7:30pm, Meany Hall | $40-$45

17
Music of Today: DXARTS Fall Concert
The Cuong Vu Trio collaborates with UW faculty composers Richard Karpen and Juan Pampin and Vietnamese master musician Nguyễn Thanh Thủy (Six Tones Ensemble).
Thurs, 11/17, 7:30pm, Jones Playhouse | $10-$15

19
John Cage Musicircus
Music & lectures written and influenced by John Cage. Dance inspired by Cage & Cunningham. Live art inspired by the I Ching & chance operations.
Sat, 11/19, 7pm, Town Hall | $5-15 (youth free)

19
Tacoma Symphony Orchestra: Copland and Glass
Saxophonist Amy Dickson presents her transcription of Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No.1. Barber, Copland, and Bernstein round out this all-American program.
Sat, 11/19, 7:30pm, Pantages Theater, Tacoma | $19-80

20
Second City Chamber Series: Looking Back – Looking Forward
A program exploring the great chamber music of the past AND present composed by former SCCS Artistic Directors William Doppmann & Jerry Kracht.
Sun, 11/20, 7:30pm, Great Hall at Annie Wright School, Tacoma | $10-$25 (18 and under free)

New Music Concerts: October 2016 Seattle * Eastside * Tacoma

SI_button2Second Inversion and the Live Music Project create a monthly calendar featuring contemporary classical, cross-genre, and experimental performances in Seattle, the Eastside, Tacoma, and places in between! 

thvLYmNB

Keep an eye out for our this flyer in concert programs and coffee shops around town. Feel free to download, print, and distribute it yourself! If you’d like to be included on this list drop us a line at least 6 weeks prior to the event.

program-insert-october-2016-onesided

 

Racer Sessions
A weekly showcase of original music with a jam session based on the concepts in the opening presentation.
Every Sunday, 8-10pm, Cafe Racer | FREE

Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electronic/electroacoustic music, & more.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15
Check website for complete listings

2
Chorosynthesis: New Choral Music Reading Session & Happy Hour
A 3-hour reading session of “hot-off-the-press” choral works from Chorosynthesis’ call for scores, centered on themes of social justice. Happy Hour to follow.
Sun, 10/2, 1pm, UW School Music Room 213 | Free

5
Town Music at Town Hall: Duos
Musical wunderkinds Caroline Goulding, violin & Joshua Roman, cello present a program of duos by Handel-Halvorsen, Kodály, & Ravel.
Wed, 10/5, 7:30pm, Town Hall | $10-20

6
Cursive Presents: Imagist Alchemy
Rarely heard American works inspired by the Imagist poetry movement, a world premiere by Peter Nelson-King, and the first performance in 80+ years of George William Thomas’s In a Garden.
Thu, 10/6, 7:30pm, Kenyon Hall | $5-$14

7-9
The Esoterics: WILDE: Like silhouettes against the sky
New music set to Oscar Wilde poems by Kenji Oh, Casey Rule, & Gordon Williamson (2016 POLYPHONOS competition winners) plus new works by Dominick DiOrio & Eric Banks.
Fri, 10/7, 8pm, St Stephen’s Episcopal Church | $15-25
Sat, 10/8, 8pm, Holy Rosary Catholic Church | $15-25
Sun, 10/9, 7pm, Christ Episcopal Church, Tacoma | $15-25

8-9
Early Music Guild Presents Chanticleer
Chanticleer offers an evening of hope through compelling acapella works ranging from Renaissance master Thomas Morley to contemporary Paul Simon.
Sat, 10/8, 7:30pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $26 under 35; $46 general
Sun, 10/9, 2:30pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $26 under 35; $46 general

11/13
Loop 2.4.3 Percussion
Hear the Northwest premiere of Time-Machine_music by Thomas Kozumplik featuring the chamber ensemble Loop 2.4.3, with original video projections.
Tue, 10/11, 7pm, Old Town Slavonian Hall, Tacoma | Free
Thurs, 10/13, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-15

15
Seattle Rock Orchestra performs Pink Floyd
SRO pays tribute to psychedelic rock pioneers Pink Floyd with a retrospective that features The Piper At the Gates of Dawn, The Wall, & The Dark Side of the Moon.
Sat, 10/15, 7pm, Auburn Performing Arts Center | $22 student/senior; $25 general

22
Seattle Rock Orchestra performs David Bowie
SRO pays honor to David Bowie with a program that explores his early glam years as Ziggy Stardust and culminates with a string of dance hits from his middle and late career.
Sat, 10/22, 7:30pm, Kirkland Performance Center | $40

23
Frequency: Debut Concert
This dynamic new chamber ensemble (Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, Melia Watras, & Michael Jinsoo Lim) presents interconnected works by Beethoven, Janacek & Watras.
Sun, 10/23, 7:30pm, Meany Hall | $10 student/senior; $20 general

26
Music of Today: Eighty and Ninety: Stuart Dempster and Bill Smith
UW Music celebrates 50 years of collaborative music-making by two beloved faculty all-stars: Stuart Dempster & William O. Smith, turning 80 and 90 in 2016.
Wed, 10/26, 7:30pm, Meany Hall | $10 student; $15 general

28
Seattle Symphony: [untitled] 1
Captivating and remarkable worlds of sound: Two landmark works by Lutosławski (Chantefleurs et Chantefables & Chain 1) alongside Polish composer/singer Agata Zubel’s Chapter 13.
Fri, 10/28, 10pm, Benaroya Hall Lobby | $16

28-29
Universal Language Project: Crowning Day
A new work by Marcus Oldham work focusing on racial reconciliation through the eyes of a NC plantation through the centuries. Featuring Skyros Quartet.
Fri, 10/28, 8pm, Resonance at SOMA Towers | $20
Sat, 10/29, 8pm, Velocity Dance Center | $20

29
The Sound Ensemble: In Nature’s Realm
A program full of music inspired by nature, including susurrus by John Teske, songbirdsongs by John Luther Adams, Hrim by Anna Thorvaldsdottir & more.
Sat, 10/29, 7pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10 student/senior; $15 general

30
Live Music Project presents: Dead Music Project
A Halloween benefit concert featuring new works that channel long-dead composers.Enjoy music by (very much alive) Seattle composers Spencer Arias, Kaley Lane Eaton, Aaron Grad, and Michaud Savage.
Sun, 10/30, 7pm, Steinway Piano Gallery of Seattle | $10-$25 suggested donation

From John Cage to Afro-Cuban Jazz: Concerts You Do NOT Want to Miss This Season

by Maggie Molloy

Ahh, fall. The leaves are changing, the rain is sprinkling, the sky is cloudy, and the pumpkin spice marketing is in full swing. Those hot summer days are finally behind us and we’re back to our familiar, cozy, flannel-covered fall in Seattle. After all, October is a time for new beginnings, new adventures, and—most importantly—new music.

bridget-kibbey

Seattle’s 2016-2017 concert season is jam-packed with fresh new music of every shape, style, and structure (or lack thereof). From John Cage to Afro-Cuban jazz,  Astor Piazzolla to Andy Warhol, Benjamin Britten to Brazilian poetry—there is something for everyone. Here are some of our top picks for the season:

On Stage with KING FM: Second Inversion is thrilled to host two concerts this year as part of the second season of On Stage with Classical KING FM! In March, we’ll present the Seattle Marimba Quartet with an eclectic program of classical favorites, modern marimba repertoire, and interactive drumming rhythms drawing from Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and African musical traditions.

Then in May, back by popular demand, we present the Seattle Rock Orchestra Quintet with the mesmerizing Tamara Power-Drutis for a program that transforms pop songs into art songs, reimagining both classic and modern tunes as intimate chamber works for the recital hall. Check out our videos from last season for a sneak-peek of what you can expect.

seattle-rock-orchestra-quintet

Seattle Symphony: Ditch the conventional concert-going experience of strict seating, fancy attire, and three-hour long performances with Seattle Symphony’s [Untitled] concert series. This season you can catch landmark works by Witold Lutosławski (arguably Poland’s most innovative composer since Chopin), drench yourself in the dramatic soundscapes of Polish composer and singer Agata Zubel, explore the wide-ranging musical styles of Soviet era composers, and even enter into the twisted worlds of two of America’s most confounding cultural icons: pop artist Andy Warhol and jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.

And speaking of jazz: Seattle Symphony will also co-present their annual Sonic Evolution concert with Earshot Jazz this November. Grace Love and the Garfield High School Jazz Band join the symphony for an evening celebrating two extraordinary Seattle musicians: the incomparable composer and record producer Quincy Jones and the legendary blues singer Ernestine Anderson, both of whom attended Garfield High School.

Untitled Concert

Meany Center for the Performing Arts: Formerly known as the UW World Series, Meany Center is still just as committed as ever to bringing music from around the world to their Seattle stage. In November, they’ll feature the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds quintet, known around the globe for their dynamic playing, culturally conscious programming, and adventurous collaborations. Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla, Cuban-born jazz saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, and Palestinian-American oud and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen are just a few of the composers listed on this program.

In January, the New York-based Jack Quartet presents an evening of composed and improvised music along with visiting artists from the internationally acclaimed Six Tones Ensemble and UW School of Music faculty members Richard Karpen, Juan Pampin, Cuong Vu, and Ted Poor. And if you can’t make it to these concerts, don’t sweat—Second Inversion will be broadcasting them live on our online stream.

imani-winds

John Cage Musicircus: Come one, come all to the John Cage Musicircus this November 19! This multimedia concert “happening” features over over 60 musicians, dancers, performance artists, and poets simultaneously performing pieces from Cage’s expansive body of work, including the Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano, In a Landscape for (unprepared) piano, Child of Tree for amplified cactus, Third Construction for unorthodox percussion instruments, Cartridge Music for amplified small sounds, 45’ For A Speaker for spoken voice, and much more!

Performers will be stationed all over Town Hall, with audience members encouraged to explore how the sonic and visual experience shifts as they wander freely throughout the building. Plus, Second Inversion’s own Maggie Molloy will present the pre-concert lecture, perform two piano works, and distribute free copies of her John Cage Diary series as a zine for audience members to take home!

john-cage-musicircusNorth Corner Chamber Orchestra: Celebrate those cozy winter nights with NOCCO’s annual Solstice Celebration, this year featuring the music of Stravinsky, Respighi, Bach, and Seattle composer Angelique Poteat. Then in February for Black History Month, NOCCO performs a program featuring a newly commissioned work by local composer Hanna Brenn and performance artist C. Davida Ingram alongside classics by two Pulitzer Prize-winning African American composers: Scott Joplin and George Walker. And in April, their season wraps up with a brand new world premiere by NOCCO’s principal clarinetist and composer, Sean Osborn, along with well-loved works by Rossini and Haydn.

noccoSeattle Modern Orchestra: These guys are starting their season off with a bang: three new premieres by living composers. First, a U.S. premiere by Lithuanian composer Vykintas Baltakas, then a West Coast premiere by German composer Wolfgang Rihm, followed by a world premiere by American composer Andrew Waggoner featuring Grammy-winning guest pianist Gloria Cheng.

The rest of the season features cutting-edge collaborations with University of Washington’s Solaris Vocal Ensemble and the Paris-based clarinetist Carol Robinson, a world premiere by SMO co-artistic director Jérémy Jolley, the 80th birthday of legendary Seattle trombonist Stuart Dempster, the 90th birthday of renowned Seattle clarinetist and composer William O. “Bill” Smith, and the centennial celebration of American composer Robert Erickson.

gloria-chengUniversal Language Project: ULP is back for another season of interdisciplinary and out-of-the-box collaborations between 21st century musicians and artists of all disciplines. In October: a multi-media work by Marcus Oldham about racial reconciliation (featuring Second Inversion regulars the Skyros Quartet). In January, composer Chris Stover showcases his works for chamber jazz ensemble featuring spoken word, found sounds, and dance inspired by Brazilian poets. Then in March, the season wraps up with a surreal, outer space-inspired performance featuring artist Erin Jorgensen with local musicians, the overtones of her 5-octave marimba merging with intimate whispering and beautifully minimal music in a small stab towards enlightenment.

erin-jorgensenEmerald City Music: Now in its inaugural season, Emerald City Music is on a mission to make classical chamber music accessible to broader audiences in Seattle and Olympia. And they’re not wasting any time: their inaugural season features 45 renowned guest artists from around the world. Each of the concerts offers a uniquely thematic glimpse into the chamber music repertory, featuring classical masterworks and newly composed music alike. Bookended by concerts featuring familiar works by Bach and Beethoven, this year you can also expand your classical music palette with cutting-edge performances of works by the likes of Henri Dutilleux, Thomas Adès, Benjamin Britten, Bohuslav Martinů, Percy Grainger, David Schiff, Per Nørgård, Ryan Francis, Thomas Koppel, and more.

dover-quartetTown Music Series: Curated by Second Inversion Artistic Advisor Joshua Roman, the Town Music Series programs cutting-edge and virtuosic chamber works which bring together the best of old and new classical traditions. Their 2016-2017 season kicks off with cellist Joshua Roman joined by violinist Caroline Goulding for an evening of dynamic duets by Halvorsen, Kodály, and Ravel. Stay tuned for details on the rest of the season!

joshua-romanWayward Music Series: If you’ve got wayward or otherwise unconventional music taste, the Wayward Music Series will keep you satiated all year long. Check their online calendar or subscribe to their newsletter for specifics on upcoming events, which span the new music gamut from contemporary classical to the outer limits of jazz, electroacoustic experiments to explorations of the avant-garde, eccentric instruments to unorthodox sound art, multimedia collaborations and much more.

wayward-music-seriesThese are just a handful of the new music happenings we’re most looking forward to this season—for more up-to-the-minute details on experimental, avant-garde, and otherwise unconventional music events around the Northwest, check out Second Inversion’s full event calendar!

Seattle Symphony’s Tuning Up! Festival

by Maggie Molloy

The Fourth of July is almost upon us, and you know what that means: parades, picnics, and barbeques abound! And while hot dogs, fireworks, and flag-covered clothing are a (somewhat) relevant expression of American independence, our county has a whole lot more than just cured meats and corny t-shirts to be proud of.

Tuning Up!Which is why this summer, the Seattle Symphony is turning off the barbeque and turning up the music with Tuning Up!: a two-week festival celebrating American musical creativity in the 20th and 21st century. This star-spangled celebration features nine concerts which traverse America’s vast musical landscape, from jazz to Broadway, avant-garde to minimalism, classics to Hollywood, and much more.

So whether you crave the jazzy grooves of George Gershwin or the swinging blues of Duke Ellington, you can hear it all during the Tuning Up! Festival. Maybe you prefer the massive soundscapes of John Luther Adams, the hypnotic minimalism of Philip Glass, or the movie magic of John Williams—the festival has all that too!

Suffice it to say, Second Inversion is all over this festival. Come visit us at the KING FM table in the lobby at the following events for music, magnets, and other free swag!


Stage & Screen: From Appalachian Spring to the Red Violin
Thursday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m.

From stage to screen to concert hall, these giants of American music transcended borders and paved the way for generations to come. Among them is Florence Beatrice Price: the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer. The Seattle Symphony pays tribute with a rousing orchestral rendition of her ragtime classic, Dances in the Canebrakes. Plus, dancers take to the stage alongside the Symphony for a performance of Aaron Copland’s famous folk-inspired and Pulitzer Prize-winning Appalachian Spring.

The program also features Leonard Bernstein’s elegant Divertimento for Orchestra, poignant movie music from Schindler’s List and The Red Violin, and a heartwarming tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch who, among his many accomplishments in music, served as the Principal Pops Conductor at the Seattle Symphony from 2008 until his death in 2012.


The Light that Fills the World: A Meditation in Sound & Light
Thursday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m.

In the face of trauma and political turmoil around the world, Seattle Symphony offers an intimate meditation in sound and silence, light and dark. Julia Wolfe’s My Beautiful Scream, written after the events of 9/11, opens the program with a slow-building and softly illuminating agony. What follows is utter silence: John Cage’s famous 4’33”.

The program also features Pulitzer Prize-winner John Luther Adams’ immersive, Arctic-inspired soundscape The Light That Fills the World, the delicate breath of Morton Feldman’s Piano and Orchestra, and Philip Glass’ scientific salute, The Light.

Plus, the Symphony invites you to submit your own Glass-inspired photographs to be featured during the performance. Deadline for submissions is this Friday, June 24.


In the White Silence: John Luther Adams’ Alaskan Landscapes
Friday, July 1 at 10 p.m.

To say that composer and environmentalist John Luther Adams is inspired by nature would be a bit of an understatement. He spent much of his life composing from a 16×20 ft. one-room cabin in the Alaskan woods, creating large-scale soundscapes which blur the line between nature and man-made instruments.

In 2013, the Seattle Symphony commissioned and premiered John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean, a 42-minute meditation for large orchestra which went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy Award.John Luther Adams

And now, during this special late-night concert, the Symphony revisits one of Adams’ earlier explorations into sonic geography: the 75-minute soundscape In the White Silence. The piece unfolds slowly and patiently, translating the vast horizons of the frozen far north into a musical landscape of clean, radiant harmony and subtle transformation.


Looking for more in American music? Check out the Seattle Symphony’s Tuning Up! Festival Map below:

Tuning Up! Visual Guide