VIDEO PREMIERE: Emerald City Music Plays Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’

by Peter Tracy

Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians is not only a classic work of minimalism, but of contemporary music as a whole: its energetic and infectious grooves made it an instant success when it premiered, and it remains a favorite of both audiences and performers.

It’s not often, though, that so many musicians can find the time and space to put together this roughly hour-long work, which is scored for an expansive roster including four pianos, four female vocalists, and a myriad of percussion, strings, and clarinets.

Last year Emerald City Music was able to overcome these logistical hurdles and assemble a dream team of local and visiting artists to perform the piece right here in Seattle. The performance included ambient lighting displays coordinated to the music, and audience members at the two sold-out Seattle shows were free to roam around the space, making for a laid-back and immersive listening experience.

Check out our exclusive video premieres featuring excerpts from the performance in the playlist below.

New Second Inversion Show Launches Feb. 8 on KING FM

Some say classical music is dead—or at least dominated by the music of dead composers. We beg to differ.

Second Inversion is proud to launch a new weekly radio show highlighting all the ways classical music has expanded and evolved in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The new show, hosted by Maggie Molloy, will air Saturday nights from 10-11pm PT beginning February 8 on Classical KING FM 98.1. Listeners can tune in at 98.1 or stream it online from anywhere in the world.

The new show highlights the diversity and innovation of classical music today, with sounds ranging from the quiet iconoclasm of John Cage to the electroacoustic sound collages of Pamela Z, the wordless revelations of Meredith Monk, and the vibrant musical mosaics of Gabriela Lena Frank.

Second Inversion host Maggie Molloy. Photo by Alyssa Brandt.

Each week’s episode features a different theme or trend in new music, allowing listeners a chance to hear contemporary and experimental music from a new perspective. Each piece is hand-picked by the host to draw connections between classical music of the past, wide-ranging musical genres of the present, and cutting-edge sounds of the future.

Our first episode (airing February 8) examines unusual instruments ranging from toy pianos to turntables and even 2×4 planks of wood. Episode two explores the trend of 21st century troubadours, highlighting the unique intersections of classical music and modern-day singer-songwriters. In episode three, listeners hear the dissolution of borders, boundaries, and genres through a selection of works that merge traditional Western classical idioms with the music and instruments of other cultures.

In a landscape where many classical music programs are still dominated by the narrow histories of a select few, Second Inversion showcases the incredible breadth, depth, and diversity of classical music today.


Want an exclusive first listen? Join us Thursday, Feb. 6 from 6-9pm at the Rendezvous for a Second Inversion Listening Party!

VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘In the Mornin’ by The Westerlies

by Maggie Molloy

From jazzy tunes to folk and blues, the Westerlies can reimagine just about any style of music for brass quartet. In our latest Second Inversion in-studio session, they performed their own rendition Charles Ives’ “In the Mornin’,” a setting of the traditional spiritual “Give Me Jesus.”

Ives first heard the bittersweet melody in 1929, sung unaccompanied by Mary Evelyn Stiles, and was inspired to arrange the song for voice and piano. The Westerlies took Ives’ tune one step further, rearranging the music for the warm, brassy tones of two trumpets and two trombones.

“As Ives lent his own harmonic sensibility to the original melody, we took some harmonic liberties of our own in this arrangement,” they said. In keeping with the spirit of the music, they also added moments of improvisation, including a radiant trumpet solo by Chloe Rowlands.

We’re thrilled to premiere our video of the Westerlies performing their rendition of “In the Mornin’.”


Want more music from the Westerlies? Click here for another video from this session.

Cellist Seth Parker Woods: New Sounds, New Formats, New Faces

by Dave Beck

Performing on an instrument made of ice, introducing a high-tech concert hall, and taking musical inspiration from the worlds of dance and martial arts are all in a day’s work for cellist Seth Parker Woods.

He’s the first ever Seattle Symphony Artist in Residence at the new Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center in Benaroya Hall. A dedicated advocate of new music, Seth is also passionate about creating new opportunities for fellow African-American and Latinx musicians, woefully underrepresented in the world of “classical” music. Learn more in his interview with Classical KING FM’s Dave Beck on the Seattle Symphony Spotlight.


Seth Parker Woods performs a program titled That Which is Fundamental at Octave 9 on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7:30pm. He will be collaborating with percussionist Bonnie Whiting.

Seattle New Music Happy Hour: Dec. 4 on Capitol Hill

We’re hosting New Music Happy Hour in a new neighborhood! Join us for casual drinks and conversation at Hillside Bar on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Dec. 4 from 5-7pm.

Hosted in collaboration with Live Music Project, our monthly happy hours are open to all curious listeners, casual music-makers, and professional musicians alike. Bring a friend, make a friend, and discover connections with music lovers from all over Seattle!

Click here to RSVP and invite your friends. Plus, sign up for alerts for future happy hour dates and day-before reminders so you’ll never miss a beer—er, beat.