Music to Dream By: An Evening with Erin Jorgensen and Cristina Valdés

by Maggie Molloy

Photo by Dave Lichterman.

You’ll find Seattle artist Erin Jorgensen right on the corner of waking and dreaming life, floating above her five-octave marimba and whispering elusive melodies amidst a cloud of sleepy radio snippets and atmospheric static.

Or at least, that’s where you’ll find her this weekend. The Universal Language Project is proud to present Undertones: a concert experience that invites you to dream. The performances, which take place this Friday and Saturday, feature a rare collaboration between Jorgensen and pianist Cristina Valdés, one of today’s foremost interpreters of contemporary music.

Photo by James Holt.

Curated by Seattle new music luminary James Holt, the concert is based on Jorgensen’s weekly podcast series of the same name, which is perhaps best used as a soundtrack for dreaming, staring out the window, or receiving outer space transmissions. The music blends together marimba melodies, improvisation, spoken word, radio scraps, found sounds, and anything else that happens to float through Jorgensen’s dreaming or waking life that week.

“The podcast’s only specificity is its relation to what is happening in my life at the moment,” Jorgensen said. “I often use snippets of things I am obsessed with on the internet, or things I happen to hear on the radio, or musical improvisations I come up with that day or week or right in the moment of recording. It might sound like a slowly drifting change of radio stations or the randomly associated thoughts and patterns that drift through one’s mind as they stare out a window or are in a state between sleep and wakefulness.”

Photo by James Holt.

The atmospheric podcast, which Jorgensen began about a year and a half ago, caught hold of Holt’s ear—and when Common Tone Arts asked him to curate a performance on their Universal Language Project series, all of the pieces came together.

“Erin Jorgensen is one of the most inspiring musicians I know, a longtime friend, and someone with a wholly unique musical voice,” Holt said. “The mix of live performance, improvisation, spoken word, and creatively mixed sound design really blew me away—and when I saw that she could do all of this live, kind of like a one-woman-band, I wanted more people to experience it.”

Jorgensen and Holt worked together to integrate these nebulous musical musings with additional solo piano music by three other composers. The result is an evening of music which seamlessly drifts between (and beyond) Jorgensen’s surreal musical subconscious and Valdés’s ethereal piano performances.

“I love the atmosphere that Erin sets up in her podcasts,” Valdés said, “Where the listener feels almost as if they’re having an out of body experience and is able to see and hear things both close up and from afar.”

Photo by James Holt.

At this weekend’s concerts, Valdés will become a part of that musical atmosphere with her performances of Ryan Brown’s softly twinkling “Ceramics,” Madeleine Cocolas’s interstellar “Static” and “If You Hear Me, I Hear You Back,” and two piano miniatures from Whitney George’s somber Extinction Series, which is comprised of musical obituaries for extinct animals. Though wide-ranging in their musical inspirations, each work connects back with Jorgensen’s original podcasts through a larger musical stream of consciousness.

“Erin has a gift for creating musical worlds that encourage you to retreat into your mind and contemplate ideas, think about the world around you, and ponder why we do and say the things we do and say,” Holt said. “The audience can expect the opportunity to do that during these performances. It will be something beautiful and it will be something you surely haven’t experienced before, but will want to experience again.”

Of course, Jorgensen’s music presents an opportunity to not only look inward, but also far beyond ourselves—to quietly dream into distant galaxies and imagine the space between the stars.

Photo by James Holt.

“‘Outer space’ in this context is more of a poetic metaphor for me,” Jorgensen said. “I like the idea of floating in space or the idea of the undiscovered space around us—’us’ being individual humans or the entirety of planet earth.”

Though as Jorgensen points out, humans can’t actually hear anything in outer space, at least not in our traditional understanding of sound.

“I think the actual music of outer space would sound like something humans aren’t able to comprehend yet,” Jorgensen said. “For me personally, outer space music could be tuning in to all the different sounds and thoughts that are happening all over the universe, just for a second.”


Performances of Undertones are this Friday, March 31 at 8pm at Resonance at SOMA Towers and this Saturday, April 1 at 8pm at the Alhadeff Studio at the Cornish Playhouse. For tickets and more information, please click here.

New Composed Music: March 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.”


 

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
waywardmusic.org (check website for complete listings)

2
Utterances
James Falzone and Bonnie Whiting present a seamless evening of original, composed, and improvised music based on text, spoken word, and translation.
Thurs, 3/2, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15
waywardmusic.org

4
The Sound Ensemble: From Page to Stage
TSE melds the artistic mediums of art and literature in this concert in which each piece is inspired by texts from different authors.
Sat, 3/4, 7pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

5
sound|counterpoint: The Red Earth Project
Curated by Seattle composer Adam Haws, this program spans centuries and genres with a re-imagining of Bach, tunes from jazz and rock greats, & more.
Sun, 3/5, 4pm, Waterfront Park Community Center, Bainbridge Island | $10-$20

8
Second Inversion Presents: Gabriel Kahane
Kahane presents his song cycle Craigslistlieder, Schumann’s Dichterliebe, and songs from previous albums and brand new, unreleased material.
Weds, 3/8, 7:30pm, The Triple Door | $15-$18

11
On Stage with KING FM: Seattle Marimba Quartet
SMQ showcases classical favorites and modern marimba repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries plus drumming styles from around the world.
Sat, 3/11, 7:30pm, Resonance at SOMA Towers, Bellevue | $20

11
Seattle Modern Orchestra: Double Portrait
SMO celebrates the centennial of American composer Robert Erickson and the 80th birthday of legendary Seattle trombonist and composer Stuart Dempster.
Sat, 3/11, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10-$25

11
Sound of Late: 2000 Moving Parts
Harpist Jennifer Ellis invites the audience to experience the customarily inaudible elements of this grand instrument. Music by Ellis, Andrew Stiefel & more.
Sat, 3/11, 8pm, FLUTTER Studios | $15

17
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra: Hearing Nature
SMCO partners with Seattle Art Museum to trace the natural inspirations of composers of four different time periods, comparing their music to the visual art of their contemporaries.
Fri, 3/17, 8pm, First Free Methodist Church | $15-$20

23
Cursive: Tall Wind
Specializing in performing hidden gems of modern classical music, Cursive presents a unique program inspired by the passions and unease of changing seasons.
Thurs, 3/23, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

24-26
Choral Arts Northwest: A Kipling Passion
John Muehleisen uses the passion form to explore how we might find healing in the face of unspeakable tragedy, honoring and bringing voice to veterans and families.
Fri, 3/24, 8pm, Plymouth Church, Seattle | $24-$28
Sat, 3/25, 8pm, Everett First Presbyterian | $24-$28
Sun, 3/26, 2pm, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Bremerton | $24-$28

25
Philharmonia Northwest: An Afternoon of PDQ Bach
Philharmonia Northwest presents the West Coast premiere of PDQ Bach’s Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra with pianist Jeffrey Biegel.
Sat, 3/25, 2pm, Benaroya Hall | $20-$30

31
Universal Language Project: Undertones
Marimba sounds merge with intimate whispering, stream-of-consciousness thoughts, DIY life philosophy, and beautifully minimal music. Featuring Erin Jorgensen and curated by Jim Holt.
Fri, 3/31, Resonance at SOMA Towers, Bellevue | $15-$20
Sat, 4/1, Cornish Playhouse’s Alhadeff Studio | $15-$25

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/

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!

Universal Language Project Podcast: Revealing the Composer’s Artistic Process

by Maggie Stapleton

ulppodcast

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Universal Language Project’s brand new podcast! This is a co-production between Second Inversion and ULP, featuring interviews recorded in our studios and live concert recordings from our live concert recording archives.

Each episode features a 20-minute interview with a Northwest composer to gain insight into their creative intentions and artistic process followed by a recording of a brand new work – often from the premiere, live and unedited in all its glory.

Episode 1: Jovino Santos Neto

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Three-time Latin Grammy nominee Jovino Santos Neto, a master pianist, composer and arranger, is among the top Brazilian musicians working today. Currently based in Seattle, Washington, he has throughout his career been closely affiliated with the Brazilian master Hermeto Pascoal. He was an integral part of Pascoal’s group from 1977 to 1992, where he fine-tuned his artistry, performing around the world and co-producing several legendary records.

For this composition, SACI, the Universal Language Project commissioned Jovino to write a multi-movement piece designed to pair with Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat. This work is intended as commentary on Stravinsky’s work where, about 100 years later, we are also creating great shows in a time of limited financial means. This work is based on a mythical Brazilian folk character, the Saci, who simultaneously helps us out of tricky situations and mischievously keeps us humble. This work beautifully merges Jovino’s background in Brazilian jazz with contemporary classical composition to create a delightfully charming and important new piece.

Stephan Michael Newby, Baritone / Narrator
Eric Rynes, Violin
Eric Likkel, Clarinet
Brian Chin, Trumpet
Nathan Vetter, Trombone
Steve Morgan, Bassoon
Todd Gowers, Bass
Ben Thomas, Percussion

Recorded Live at the Velocity Dance Center in Seattle, WA
May 16th, 2015
Bill Levey: Audio Engineer

Episode 2: Wayne Horvitz

Wayne Horvitz is a composer, pianist and electronic musician who has performed extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. He is the leader of the Gravitas Quartet, Sweeter Than the Day, Zony Mash, The Four plus One Ensemble and co-founder of the New York Composers Orchestra.

Working primary in a jazz inspired large ensemble medium, Wayne’s music seems to naturally defied any one genre and offers a truly unique sound to the 21st century music collection. This piece, A Stammer for Tori, was inspired by the violinist Victoria Parker and is written for a small mixed chamber ensemble.
Victoria Parker, Violin
Susan Telford, Flute
Eric Likkel, Clarinet
Brian Chin, Trumpet
Nathan Vetter, Trombone
Rajan Krishnaswami, Cello
Kevin Johnson, Piano
Rob Tucker, Percussion

Recorded Live at the Velocity Dance Center in Seattle, WA
Jan. 9th 2015
Bill Levey: Audio Engineer

The Universal Language Project is a music-centric multi-arts concert series dedicated to generating new music for the 21st century. It is a program of Common Tone Arts, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to creating positive change for our diverse world through music and arts education.

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

1
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

5
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

6
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

6-8
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

7
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

7/8
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)

10
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

13
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

20/21
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

21
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

21
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

22
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)

24
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

27
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

 

CONCERT PREVIEW: Universal Language Project + SCRAPE: Q&A with Brian Chin

by Maggie Molloy

Seattle is no stranger to new music.

Whether it’s Seattle Symphony commissioning and recording new works, Wayward Music Series programming adventurous and avant-garde music concerts, or your good friends at Second Inversion providing a multimedia platform for all of it—Seattle prides itself on being one of America’s strongest cultural centers for new and unusual music.

IMG_2688-resized(Photo credit: Kimberly Chin)

But here are two of the newest Seattle new music groups you may not know about: the Universal Language Project and Scrape. You can catch both of them this weekend when they team up to present an innovative concert of new works by Seattle composers Brian Chin and Jim Knapp.

But first things first—who are these guys?

Brian Chin is the artistic director of the Universal Language Project: an innovative concert series rooted in the commissioning and performance of 21st century music and interdisciplinary collaboration. Jim Knapp is the artistic director and resident composer of Scrape: an original music string orchestra with harp and guitar.

The Universal Language Project recently commissioned Knapp and Chin to create a new sound for Scrape featuring soprano soloist Chérie Hughes—the results of which will be performed in two concerts this weekend: one at Soma Towers in Bellevue and the other at Velocity Dance Center on Capitol Hill.

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So what’s on the program? Well, let’s just say it’s a new music mashup featuring an imaginary letter, an Eckhart aphorism, an Obama song cycle, and a meditation on Ives. We sat down with Brian Chin to get all the details.

Second Inversion: In many ways contemporary music transcends specific timeframes and concrete qualifiers; the definition tends to be abstract and often subjective. What does “new music” mean to you?

Brian Chin: I actually don’t like the phrase classical because it is confusing. The classical era was over 200 years ago, yet most people think of anything with strings as classical.  I think that this is very confusing now, as instruments and genre lines are almost meaningless. I like the phrase “music” better—yet, I see the problems here too.  Perhaps we get more general with our use of “orchestral,” “acoustic string,” or “mixed chamber ensemble;” and we all know what “indie band” means.  But “contemporary classical” is, by definition, an oxymoron!

SI: Seattle is one of few major U.S. cities that is really blossoming in the contemporary classical music sphere—what do you think makes our music scene here so unique, and in what areas do you think there is potential to improve?

BC: Seattle is a geographic island. This makes for great music to grow, evolve, and emerge in relative isolation. This is great so long as we hit the tipping point of boiling over to the ‘mainland’—as grunge did.  The reality is that this is a double-edged sword: I think this is both why we have such great stuff here, but it is hard to find—gone once you do—and difficult to build a following, as you can’t just keep playing the same repertoire over and over. The growing community of practitioners and the “We’re all in this together” spirit is our key to growing Seattle New Music!

SI: What are you most looking forward to with this concert collaboration between Universal Language Project and Scrape?

BC: Scrape is a very diverse ensemble that walks the line between several genres.  The music of Jim Knapp is mature, smart, and flippin’ beautiful. As you know, the key aspect of the ULP series is that we strive to bring together diverse musicians and artists in order to create something generative and new. For this show, we added a soprano to Scrape, which brings in a whole new element of text and color. Both Jim and I have contributed pieces for this.

SI: Can you tell me a bit about your piece “The Obamatorio” being performed at this concert?

BC: “The Obamatorio: A Song Cycle for Soprano and Scrape” sets four quotes from Barak Obama to music. Rather than select text that are overtly political, I have chosen Obama words that speak to the universal truths of the human condition. I have brought in a multitude of tools to tell the story.

For example: one movement is set in Central Park and I merge the grinding obstinate of mechanical city music with the nature motives of birds. I used “Messiah’s” bird calls for this. In the moment “Strangers” referencing immigration, I use a smash up of world music styles form Irish jigs to African ostinatos and Middle Eastern vocal techniques to paint Obama’s words.

SI: What composers, artists, or styles of music most influence your work?

BC: Bach, Miles Davis, Stravinsky, John Hollenbeck, Bartók, and Charles Mingus.

SI: What do you hope audiences will take away from this concert?

BC: I hope they have a ton of fun are inspired to do great work!

Performances of this ULP and Scrape collaboration are this Friday, March 11 at 8 p.m. at Soma Towers in Bellevue and Saturday, March 12 at 8 p.m. at Velocity Dance Center on Capitol Hill. For additional information and tickets, click here.