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! 

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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.

 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

New Music Concerts: May 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 - May 2016(updated) - 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

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Noise Yoga with John Teske
Noise Yoga is a series of yoga classes that combine the meditative intentionality of yoga with the sonic depth of live performance by local musicians
Sun, 5/1, 11:30am, Frye Art Museum | $10

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Josh Archibald-Seiffer + Ania Stachurska
UW composers Josh Archibald-Seiffer & Ania Stachurska present works with themes spanning political civil war, children’s lit, language, & the uncanny.
Thurs, 5/5, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

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Seattle Composers’ Salon
Composers, performers, & audience gather in a casual setting that allows for experimentation & discussion of finished works & works in progress.
Fri, 5/6, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

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The Esoterics: Milton Babbitt
A celebration of Babbitt’s centenary featuring his entire catalog of a cappella choruses, several of which have never been performed in live concert.
Fri, 5/6, 8pm, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Seattle | $15-$20
Sat, 5/7, 8pm, Holy Rosary Church, West Seattle | $15-$20
Sun, 5/8, 7pm, Christ Episcopal Church, Tacoma | $15-$20

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Seattle Wind Symphony: American Places
Donald K. Miller leads the SWS in a program of Donald Grantham, William Schuman, Eric Whitacre, Ron Nelson, and more.
Sat, 5/7, 7:30pm, Shorewood Performing Arts Center | $5-$20

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Seattle Rock Orchestra performs Neil Diamond
SRO celebrates the man, the myth, the legend: Neil Diamond. SRO will explore his entire catalogue, performing hidden gems and revered hits alike.
Sat, 5/7, 8pm, The Moore Theatre | $20-$37.50 (+ fees)
Sun, 5/8, 2pm, The Moore Theatre | $20-$37.50 (+ fees)

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Inverted Space: Long Piece Fest
A double-header concert featuring two commissions from Seattle composers Kevin Baldwin and Takemitsu prize-winner Yigit Kolat.
Tues, 5/10, 7:30pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

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Seattle Symphony: Sonic Evolution: This is Indie!
This concert features Michael Gordon, William Brittle, Tomoko Mukaiyama, Fly Moon Royalty & Filmmaker Bill Morrison. Co-Presented With SIFF.
Fri, 5/13, 8pm, Benaroya Hall | $25-$52

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Universal Language Project: The Elements
An interactive event featuring visual artist Scott Kolbo and iconoclast band TORCH.
Fri, 5/20, 8pm, Resonance at SOMA Towers, Bellevue | $10-$25
Sat, 5/21, 8pm, Velocity Dance Center | $15-$25

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Kirkland Choral Society: Luminous
KCS premieres a commission from Ola Gjeilo plus many Gjeilo favorites from previous concerts and will be joined by the Skyros Quartet.
Sat, 5/21, 7:30pm, Bastyr University Chapel | $15-$20

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SMCO Season Finale: Mozart, Carter, Ligeti, and Haydn
Seattle Met. Chamber Orchestra welcomes Cristina Valdes, Matthew Kocmieroski & Maria Mannisto – 3 soloists in high demand for contemporary music!
Sat, 5/21, 8pm, First Free Methodist Church | $15-$20

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Music of Remembrance: Jake Heggie’s Out of Darkness
This two-act opera and portrait of survival conveys the vastness of the Holocaust’s scope through emotionally rich depictions of those caught in its grasp.
Sun, 5/22, 4pm, Benaroya Hall | $30-$45 ($5 TeenTix)

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Town Music at Town Hall: Season Finale
Joshua Roman, Arnaud Sussman, Karen Gomyo, & Kyle Armbrust will perform Britten’s String Quartet No. 2 and a commissioned piece by Andrius Zlabys.
Tues, 5/24, 7:30pm, Town Hall | $5-$25

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Second Inversion Showcase at Folklife
Join us for Second Inversion’s 2nd annual showcase at Northwest Folklife! We’ll feature bi-coastal musicians and local favorites alike.
Fri, 5/27, 8pm, Center House Stage | FREE

 

“Migration Series”: Q&A with Derek Bermel

In anticipation of Seattle Symphony’s first Sonic Evolution series concert, “Under the Influence Of Jazz,” we had a chance to talk to Derek Bermel about his piece, “Migration Series,” which will be part of a star-studded program. The concert is tonight, Thursday, October 29 at 7:30pm at Benaroya Hall. Be sure to stop by the KING FM/Second Inversion table and grab some swag!

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Second Inversion: Do you think the fusion of genres in Seattle Symphony’s Sonic Evolution series is a good strategy to expand and diversify the audience?

Derek Bermel: Absolutely. I think when you can give audiences a hook to come see something they’re familiar with and then you hit them with something they’re not so familiar with, it’s a gentle way of exposing way them to music they might not know about.  I think it’s truly a groundbreaking series – I’ve been following what Seattle Symphony’s been doing for the last four or five years.  Ludovic Morlot and Simon Woods are looking at music and art holistically as it effects peoples’ lives and they’re looking at what’s going on locally and trying to build in pathways for people who are not normally familiar with symphonic music to get into the vibe.

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Roosevelt High School Jazz Band, who will perform “Migration Series” with Seattle Symphony

SI: The title of tonight’s show is “Under the Influence of Jazz.” How has jazz influenced your composition style as a whole? 

DB: I grew up listening to and playing a lot of jazz, so there was a lot of influence right from the start. I was and still am a huge fan of Thelonious Monk and I remember walking into the record store as a kid and seeing a bright red record in the bargain bin and spending my allowance on it.  That record, “It’s Monk’s Time,” really blew my mind and changed my life.  It coincided with the time in my life when my grandma bought me a small, “honky tonk” piano and I immediately started imitating Monk’s playing on this piano.  It really worked on this piano because it had some keys that didn’t go down all the way and it went out of tune quickly, but I really got that stride and feel by imitating Thelonious Monk.  I also played clarinet and saxophone in the jazz band and was listening to a lot of Bill Evans, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington.

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Jacob Lawrence

SI: And how about the visual artistic influence of Jacob Lawrence? Tell us about your experience with his set of paintings “The Migration Series,” and how it influenced this composition.

DB: I first encountered the paintings when I was young, going into the city (New York) with my mom and saw the exhibit.  There was something about them that struck me in such a deep way. I think it was my connection to African American music and my friends and I saw something in the paintings that felt like music and felt like dance. They jump off the page and they’re very evocative of gesture, shapes, colors, and movement.  I was very drawn to these pictures and they stayed in my mind for many years.  When I started to write this piece, there was something about the form and the way I was writing that had kind of a mosaic quality. I wanted musical themes, approaches, and rhythms to come back during the piece, and for the piece to ebb and flow with this mosaic quality.

I’ve been lucky enough that the Seattle Symphony and Maestro Morlot are interested in having the images displayed along with the show.  It’s an idea that’s been brought up before, but this time it’s actually going to happen!  I’m very excited see how the piece will play with the images.  For me, the thrill is to introduce more people to this artwork as well.  It feels very powerful as an artist to be able to make a tribute to another artist that you admire so much and to let people know about it. A lot of people have gotten to know Jacob Lawrence’s work through my piece, so that’s very gratifying for me as an artist.

And for a taste of the piece and Derek’s insights about the structure of the piece, take a listen!

2015-16 SEASON PREVIEW: Fresh music, from Britten to Bowie

by Jill Kimball

With Seattle’s ever-growing and ever-diversifying population, it’s easy to see why our city has become a top destination for up-and-coming composers, young musical talent, and adventurous concert formats. The 2015-16 season is so packed with new music concerts that, on most weekends, you’d need both hands (and maybe a few toes) to count them. From revitalized Britten to badass multimedia concerts to the classiest Bowie you’ve ever heard, there’s a little something for everyone. Read on for our top picks of the season.


The Town Music series at Town Hall Seattle, curated by our own Artistic Advisor Joshua Roman, is a bastion for cutting-edge music. The season kicks off with a young Russian violinist’s interpretations of Bach’s beautiful, complicated Sonatas and Partitas. And the rest of the season is anything but staid: it includes the premiere of a work composed over two continents, a dynamic performance of Britten’s second string quartet, and a new piece by Roman himself, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry by Tracy K. Smith and the up-and-coming soprano Jessica Rivera.


Another go-to destination for edgy music with global influences is the UW World Series, an arts season at Meany Hall featuring big names and even bigger ideas. This season is packed with exciting concerts that feature mainstays on the Second Inversion stream. In October, the ETHEL quartet teams up with Native American flutist Robert Mirabal for a concert focused on water’s essential role in all our lives. If drums and mallets are your thing, you must check out So Percussion’s set of modern classics by Reich, Cage, and more. For those who prefer concerts that combine edgy work with timeless pieces, go see the young, bearded Danish String Quartet (they take on music by Beethoven, Schnittke, and a composer from their homeland, Per Nørgaard), pianist Jeremy Denk (he’ll work in some Hindemith and Nancarrow between the Bach and Byrd), or the Daedalus String Quartet (a Huck Hodge world premiere is sandwiched between Beethoven chamber works). If you can’t make it to some of these much-anticipated concerts, don’t worry: we’ll have your back with a live broadcasts or a video from each one.


The UW World Series isn’t the only destination for new music on the University of Washington campus. The School of Music itself has an impressive lineup of concerts. On Halloween weekend, we’re excited to hear the Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente perform the works of Seattlites Huck Hodge, Joël-François Durand, and Marcin Pączkowski, among others. In late April, the Carnegie Hall resident ensemble Decoda caps off its weeklong UW residency with a Meany Hall concert of new and old music. And finally, some UW students pay homage to Harry Partch, who created new instruments along with new music, with performances of some of his work.

The UW isn’t the only higher education arts game in town, of course. Cornish College of the Arts is a wealth of compositional talent and its concert season, Cornish Presents, attracts world-class acts every year. Cornish teacher Wayne Horvitz starts off the new-music feast with his piece “Some Places are Forever Afternoon/11 Places for Richard Hugo,” performed with chamber groups Sweeter Than The Day and the Gravitas Quartet. A few days later, flutist Camilla Hoitenga teams up with composer and sound designer Jean-Baptiste Barrière for an electronic concert with video. In December, Paul D. Miller, better known as DJ Spooky, uses interviews from survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs to create a moving original composition. And for an ultimate exploration of music from both sides of the Pacific, stop by PONCHO Hall in November, when a famous gamelan ensemble joins four Seattle string players for a performance of new, local music.


Full-time locavores may not be satisfied until everything about the concert, from composer to performer to creator, is Northwest-based. If you want all local, all the time, your concert season destination should be the Universal Language Project. Founded by trumpeter and composer Brian Chin, the project draws on local talent to present a commissioned premiere in every concert. This season, we’ll hear music inspired by local landscapes written by Karen P. Thomas, Brian Cobb, and Tim Carey; music for strings performed by Seattle-based Scrape Ensemble; and an interactive concert with stunning visuals by Scott Kolbo.


And if that’s not enough to whet your new music appetite, the Seattle Modern Orchestra‘s upcoming season has even more new music. Each of its three main concerts features a premiere of some sort, from Orlando Jacinto Garcia’s From Darkness to Luminosity to an as-yet-unnamed work by Ewa Trębacz to the U.S. premiere of Anthony Cheung’s 2011 work Discrete Infinity.


In the last few years, Benaroya Hall has become an internationally recognized center for cutting-edge new music, from the avant garde to the crossover. If you’re into the former, you probably already know about the Seattle Symphony’s famed [untitled] series, which takes place in the Benaroya lobby fashionably late at night. This [untitled] season proves it means business with a season kickoff made up entirely of world premieres, then goes on to focus on New York City’s avant garde scene and an Arctic-themed piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams. If the latter is more your taste, check out the undefinable Sonic Evolution series, which this season focuses on the way different artists influence each other across genres and the phenomenon of indie music and film.


Finally, if you’re looking to get some culture but indulge in musical guilty pleasures at the same time, your go-to season should be the Seattle Rock Orchestra‘s. The ensemble that famously covers popular music on orchestral instruments has put together a killer 2015-16 series, which includes a David Bowie showcase, a collection of Mowtown music, and an evening devoted to Neil Diamond. A quintet from SRO also closes out Classical KING FM’s inaugural concert series with a very exciting Eastside concert featuring covers of Beck, Bjork, Radiohead, and more.

These are only a few highlights from an expansive, diverse, and exciting upcoming concert season. For a full listing of shows around the Northwest that’ll make you rethink classical, check our full event calendar.

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MORLOT, MIX-A-LOT AND MUSIC’S FUTURE

by Jill Kimball

A Seattle-born musician and composer caused quite a stir last week when he visited Benaroya Hall for a performance with the Seattle Symphony.

Sir Mix-A-Lot with the Seattle Symphohny

Photo: Ben VanHouten for The New York Times

The musician in question has a keen ear for rhythmic detail and often finds inspiration in electronic music. He in turn inspired a series of pieces by Gabriel Prokofiev, the talented and musically adventurous grandson of Sergei. The Seattle Symphony’s Artistic Director, Ludovic Morlot, took to the podium over the weekend to premiere Prokofiev’s latest work with the orchestra as part of its Sonic Evolution series.

The Seattle Symphony premieres new works by avant-garde composers at least a handful of times every year, so why the commotion? It’s because that as-yet-unnamed musician is actually hip-hop artist Sir Mix-A-Lot, whose 1992 breakout hit “Baby Got Back” is included in Prokofiev’s latest suite dedicated to Mix-A-Lot’s complex beats. In the weekend performance, the rapper invited several dozen female audience members onstage to dance along as he and the Symphony performed Prokofiev’s remix of the famous ode to derrières.

After watching the video, all of us at Second Inversion launched into a discussion about the Sonic Evolution series, about genres, about the future of music. We weren’t the only ones. I noticed conversations popping up all over my Facebook feed, on Twitter, even on the Metro bus during my commute. I heard a lot of the same questions posed: Does the Symphony need a video of women getting down to a popular song in Benaroya Hall to stay relevant? Does the association with Gabriel Prokofiev really turn this dyed in the wool hip-hop song into something classical? Is a group of world-class, classically-trained musicians “selling out” when it performs Top 40 music? The most scathing comment I saw: “This … is not music and does not belong in Benaroya.”

Take a look at the last three seasons under Ludovic Morlot’s baton and you’ll see that the Seattle Symphony has offered an increasingly wide variety of concert experiences to attract new audiences while still embracing traditional classical music. The day before Sir Mix-A-Lot’s performance, the Symphony played Ravel and Dutilleux before a silent, reverent, seated audience. A few weeks ago, the Symphony performed new and old music featuring a handful of SSO instrumentalists, a pair of turntables and a few other instrument oddities in the Benaroya lobby, where audience members took in the concert sitting on carpet squares, piling into small booths or milling around the walkways above. (That full concert, by the way, is available on demand below.)

When concerts of Mozart, Debussy and Rachmaninoff are still abundant–just flip through the Symphony’s 2014-15 brochure to find out how abundant–I have to wonder why those who enjoy the traditional Symphony experience are intent on keeping the music that doesn’t appeal to them out of the concert hall.

From where I sit, music does not, cannot exist in one dimension at a time. Many of the decades-trained musicians we see performing the classical canon onstage enjoy listening to non-classical music and often enjoy playing it, too. John Williams is a composer, but his well-rounded musical résumé includes more than just classical credits. Most of the composers we’ve met in our studios draw from a handful of musical genres to write their music. Sir Mix-A-Lot, then, is more than a rapper: he, like Wiliams and Prokofiev and so many others, is simply a musician who appreciates the work of other musicians.

I won’t attempt to answer the question we’ve all asked at some point–what is a musician?–except to say that musicians can still be musicians even if we don’t like them. A few here at Second Inversion admitted Sir Mix-A-Lot’s performance didn’t really “work” for them. But judging from the feedback on that YouTube video, it worked for more than a million others.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that this concert was purposefully scheduled to cap off the annual American League of Orchestras conference, hosted this year by the Seattle Symphony. That means Ludovic Morlot made a conscious decision to conduct his orchestra alongside a rapper and dozens of booty-shaking women for a room full of America’s most influential leaders in classical music. In doing so, he wasn’t just attracting young people in order to sell tickets: he was telling the guardians of classical music to rethink tradition. He demanded that they listen to something completely radical and asked them to do nothing more than consider it.