Artists You Didn’t Know Composed: Saturday, April 11 | 10pm

by Maggie Molloy
Yoko Ono is among the featured composers in this week’s episode.

Some of the most exciting classical music of today is being written by artists you might least expect.

On this week’s episode of Second Inversion, we’re exploring music from artists you didn’t know composed, including rock stars, performance artists, peace activists, and more. We’ll hear music inspired by the chaos of a rock ‘n’ roll concert tour, music capturing the stillness of one activist’s meditation practice, and music written from the heart and played with a stethoscope.

To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, April 11 at 10pm PT.

Expanding the Piano: Saturday, April 4 | 10pm

by Maggie Molloy

It’s an instrument that’s been around for over 300 years—and composers are still discovering new ways to play it.

Throughout history, the piano has captured the imaginations of composers ranging from Beethoven to Chopin, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff. On this week’s episode of Second Inversion, we’ll take a look at how composers today are expanding the piano keyboard.

Tune in to hear modern and creative approaches to this familiar instrument, including music from composers who play inside the piano, a performer who can play three pianos at once, and a man who threw a wrench in the classical piano tradition.

To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, April 4 at 10pm PT.

Big Ears Festival Playlist: Saturday, March 28 | 10pm

by Maggie Molloy

Every year new music lovers make the pilgrimage to Knoxville, Tennessee for the annual Big Ears Festival: a celebration of ear-expanding music across genres and geographic borders.

For the past decade this annual festival has brought together artists from all around the globe and all corners of the musical universe, inviting musicians and music lovers to spend a long weekend immersed in unexpected collaborations and explosive live performances. It’s basically like new music Christmas.

This year’s Big Ears Festival was unfortunately cancelled due to community health concerns, so on Second Inversion this weekend we’re bringing you the next best thing: an eclectic mix of recordings from artists who were slated to perform in this year’s fest. Tune in for Haitian folk songs, sci-fi operas, sound collages, and even music from outer space.

To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, March 28 at 10pm PT.

Our Second Inversion in-studio recording of So Percussion performing Jason Treuting’s Life is [ ] is among the featured pieces on this week’s playlist.

21st Century Percussion: Saturday, March 21 | 10pm

by Maggie Molloy
Evelyn Glennie, Andy Akiho, Bonnie Whiting, and Third Coast Percussion are among the featured artists in this week’s episode.

If you want to be a percussionist in the 21st century, you’ve got to play a lot more than just drums.

The percussion toolkit is constantly expanding, and nowadays percussionists have to be prepared to play just about anything. Sure, there are some of the more familiar percussion instruments like gongs, marimbas, or the triangle—but there are also flower pots, kitchen pans, water glasses, and so much more. If you can hit, shake, or strike it, it’s a percussion instrument.

On this week’s episode of Second Inversion, we’re exploring the vast and vibrant world of 21st century percussion. We’ll hear music written for pails of water, planks of wood, an orchestra of gongs, and more—plus, we’ll talk with Seattle percussionist Bonnie Whiting about the revolutionary spirit of percussion.

To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, March 21 at 10pm PT.

Our field trip to the percussion studio of Bonnie Whiting is available for on-demand listening below as part of an earlier episode of NW Focus Stories.

Minimalism Past and Present: Saturday, March 14 | 10pm

by Maggie Molloy
Philip Glass, Julius Eastman, and Steve Reich are among the minimalists featured in this episode.

Truth, order, and simplicity—those are some of the major hallmarks of the minimalist art movement. It flourished in America during the 1960s and ’70s, primarily as a visual arts movement at first but eventually expanding into design, fashion, architecture, and even a lifestyle aesthetic.

Minimalism also found its counterpart in music. Instead of telling a story or taking the audience on a journey from point A to point B, minimalist music calls attention to the actual activity of listening itself—it’s about being present in the moment. Composers do this in a variety of ways: through repetition, circling melodies, pulsing rhythms, steady drones, or simple harmonies. When performed well, minimalism can feel almost trancelike or hypnotic for the listener.

On this week’s episode of Second Inversion, we’re exploring masterworks of minimalism—plus we’ll hear how some of these iconic pieces are still influencing artists today. We’ll also talk about some of the non-Western musical traditions that helped shape American minimalism.

To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, March 14 at 10pm PT.

This week’s episode features excerpts from Emerald City Music‘s performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. Watch more videos from this performance on-demand in the playlist below: