Music of the Sun, Moon, and Stars: Saturday, Feb. 29 | 10pm

by Maggie Molloy

Anna Thorvaldsdottir is among the composers featured in this week’s episode. Photo by Saga Sigurdardottir.

Every four years we add an extra day to our February calendars—have you ever wondered why that is?

Earth’s revolution around the Sun actually takes about six hours longer than our standard 365-day yearly calendar. Adding a Leap Day every four years realigns our calendar with Earth’s position in the Solar System, keeping our seasons on track.

So in honor of this special day that happens only once every four years, we’re celebrating on Second Inversion with an episode of music made for stargazing. Tune in for astronaut anthems, atmospheric meditations, and the shimmering sounds of outer space.

To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 10pm PT.

Music Around the Globe: Saturday, Feb. 22 | 10pm

Ballaké Sissoko, Vincent Segal, Kayhan Kalhor, and Nathalie Joachim are just a few of the featured artists this week on Second Inversion.

by Maggie Molloy

When we use the phrase “classical music,” it’s usually assumed we’re talking about Western classical music: music that is rooted in the traditions of Europe. But other countries all over the globe have their own traditions of classical or art music⁠—and something pretty incredible happens when there is a dialogue between them.

On this week’s episode of Second Inversion, we’re exploring music that crosses genres and geographical boundaries alike, discovering new sounds and new definitions of what “classical music” means in the 21st century. Tune in for music from Peru, Haiti, West Africa, Iran, Vietnam, and beyond.

To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 10pm PT.

21st Century Troubadours: Saturday, Feb. 15 | 10pm

Shara Nova’s chamber pop opera You Us We All is featured in this week’s episode.

by Maggie Molloy

Love is in the air and on the airwaves this weekend. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re devoting this week’s episode of Second Inversion to the music of 21st century troubadours.

In medieval times, troubadours were poets and musicians who wrote songs about chivalry and courtly love—they were kind of like the singer-songwriters of the Middle Ages. But of course, love and heartbreak are pretty timeless themes, and composers today are still writing love ballads for the modern romantic.

On this week’s episode of Second Inversion, we’re going to hear songs about love, songs about heartbreak, and at least two songs about online dating nightmares.

To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 10pm PT.

Orquesta Northwest Reexamines the Conquest of Mexico—500 Years Later

Text and interview by Maggie Molloy
Audio production by Dacia Clay

Orquesta Northwest Music Director Paula Nava Madrigal and poet Raúl Sánchez.

New music is in dialogue with music of the past at a pair of concerts presented this weekend by Early Music Seattle and Orquesta Northwest.

Written in 1733, Vivaldi’s Motezuma opera offers a fictionalized, Eurocentric account of the Spanish conquest of Mexico; in response, composer Héctor Armienta and poet Raúl Sánchez offer a new telling of the story from the viewpoint of contemporary Mexican-Americans. The Other Conquest is a concert program that challenges the assumptions of colonialism displayed in Vivaldi’s work, inviting listeners to consider other perspectives in the telling of this 500-year-old story.

Armienta and Sánchez’s new work, La Conquista, receives its world premiere this Saturday, Feb. 8 by Orquesta Northwest’s Ballard Civic Orchestra, an ensemble committed to showcasing the work of Latinx artists in the Seattle community. It is paired with selections from Vivaldi’s original opera performed by Ensemble Caprice. Audience members can hear Ensemble Caprice perform a full, semi-staged production of Vivaldi’s Motezuma on Sunday, Feb. 9.

To learn more about both of these concerts and the connections between them, we talked with Orquesta Northwest Music Director Paula Nava Madrigal and poet and librettist Raúl Sánchez.

Orquesta Northwest’s Ballard Civic Orchestra performs The Other Conquest on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 7:30pm at Broadway Performance Hall.

Ensemble Caprice performs Vivaldi’s Motezuma on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2:30pm at Town Hall, presented by Early Music Seattle.

Westerlies Fest: Four Days of Ear-Expanding Brass Music

by Peter Tracy

This February Seattle audiences will have more than a few chances to see the genre-bending, virtuosic, and undeniably charismatic brass quartet known as the Westerlies live in concert.

In recent years the members of this Seattle-bred, New York-based ensemble—comprised of Riley Mulherkar and Chloe Rowlands on trumpet and Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch on trombone—have made a name for themselves across the country performing original compositions and arrangements that blur the lines between chamber music, jazz, folk, and anything in between.

Following the release their new album Wherein Lies the Good, the band is headed to venues across Seattle for what is quickly becoming a tradition in the Seattle music scene: Westerlies Fest. This four-day festival will feature three evenings of performances by the Westerlies in collaboration with poets and musicians from Seattle and around the country.

The weekend culminates in a day-long Westerlies Fest Jamboree which will include listening sessions, open rehearsals, and free workshops for musicians of all skill levels. Finally, the Westerlies will perform a concert of original compositions at the end of the Jamboree, sending off this year’s festival in style.

But for the Westerlies, the festival is about more than just performing: it’s a chance to give back to their community, make an impact in local schools through daytime workshops and residencies, and highlight artists they admire. This spirit of community and collaboration is at the heart of the festival and the many exciting performances happening throughout.

Celisse. Photo by Christopher Boudewyns.

Celisse | The Westerlies
Thursday, Feb. 6, 7:30pm, The Royal Room

The Westerlies will kick things off with singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Celisse, who has collaborated with the likes of Lizzo and Mariah Carey and performed in settings ranging from Broadway to Carnegie Hall. Having recently contributed horn lines to her upcoming solo album, the Westerlies will perform alongside Celisse in an evening of cutting-edge original music that blends jazz, rock, blues, and more.

Robin Holcomb.

Robin Holcomb | The Westerlies
Friday, Feb. 7, 7:30pm, The Royal Room

On Friday, the Westerlies will be joined by Seattle-based pianist, composer, librettist, and singer-songwriter Robin Holcomb, whose genre-defying body of work includes four albums of songs and instrumental compositions. She has also founded numerous ensembles, performed at the United Nations, and, most recently, contributed the title track “Wherein Lies the Good” to the Westerlies’ new album, which they’ll perform alongside a variety of other wide-ranging music.

Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye.

Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye | Troy Osaki | The Westerlies
Saturday, Feb. 8, 7:30pm, Town Hall Seattle

The worlds of poetry and music collide in the third evening of Westerlies Fest, which features poetry duo Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye, who have toured the world giving workshops and performing their poetry live. This unique performance will include the Westerlies providing musical accompaniment to spoken word performances by these internationally-recognized artists, and will also feature performances by local poet and three-time Seattle Grand Slam Champion Troy Osaki.

The Westerlies.

The Westerlies JAM-Boree
Sunday, Feb. 9, All Day, Nickerson Studios @ SPU

The Westerlies will close out the festival with a performance of their own music, including pieces from their new album Wherein Lies The Good and their trademark mix of folk tunes, jazz arrangements, and original compositions. Plus, throughout the day audience members are invited to attend free listening sessions, open rehearsals, and music workshops.

Westerlies Fest is Feb. 6-9 in Seattle. For tickets and more information, please click here.