Floating Through ‘Triadic Memories’: Jesse Myers on the Music of Morton Feldman

by Maggie Molloy

It’s easy to lose track of time amid the sparse tones of Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories. The 90-minute solo piano work lends itself well to meditation—which is exactly the idea behind pianist Jesse Myers’ October 25 performance at the Good Shepherd Chapel. He invites audience members to slow down, grab a pillow and get lost in its softly sprawling sounds.

In this in-studio interview, Myers talks with us about the music of Morton Feldman, the magic of sensory amplification, and what it feels like to float in sound.


Audio engineering by Nikhil Sarma. Music in this interview is from Feldman’s Triadic Memories, performed and recorded by Jesse Myers.
For more information on his October 25 performance, click here.

Seattle Symphony Spotlight: Flutist Claire Chase

by Dave Beck

Claire Chase is a flutist with a flair for the new, the adventurous, and the unexpected. She’s given the premieres of hundreds of new works for her instrument in performances throughout the world. In 2012, she was awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant for her work not only fostering the creation of new music, but also building organizations, forming community alliances, and supporting educational programs.

That work is on display in Seattle this week when she performs as the soloist with the Seattle Symphony and Music Director Thomas Dausgaard in Aello: Ballet Mecanomorphe by Olga Neuwirth. It’s scored for flute, bass flute, and an ensemble that includes tuned water glasses and a typewriter. Chase gave the world premiere of the piece, an homage to the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, last year at the BBC Proms with Dausgaard leading the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

This week in Seattle, Chase also presents a solo recital of music by Marcos Balter as part of her innovative Density 2036 project. Chase explains more about this effort to generate new flute music, a project unfolding over a 23-year time span.


Claire Chase performs selections from Density 2036 on Friday, Oct. 11 at 7:30pm at Octave 9. She performs Olga Neuwirth’s Aello with the Seattle Symphony on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8pm at Benaroya Hall. For tickets and more information, click here.

PREVIEW: Roomful of Teeth Performs Bryce Dessner’s ‘Triptych’

Interview by Dacia Clay; Text by Maggie Molloy

Thirty years after Robert Mapplethorpe’s death, his controversial photographs remain radical and subversive. In a new multimedia tribute called Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), composer Bryce Dessner explores Mapplethorpe’s legacy—his unique merging of classical forms and erotic imagery, his masterful balance of light and dark, and the issues of objectification and censorship that surround his work even today.

Performed by the inimitable Roomful of Teeth, Triptych features Mapplethorpe’s visceral images projected onstage in unprecedented drama and scale. The work’s libretto by Korde Arrington Tuttle draws from the writings of two influential poets: Mapplethorpe’s close friend Patti Smith and one of his critics, Essex Hemphill.

Ahead of Roomful of Teeth’s performance of Triptych on October 9 at the Moore Theatre, we talked with the ensemble’s Artistic Director Brad Wells about how this piece came to be and what audiences can expect.


Roomful of Teeth performs Triptych on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 8pm at the Moore Theatre. Click here for tickets and more information.

Triptych, Triadic Memories, and Other Can’t-Miss October Concerts

by Maggie Molloy

Second 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! 

If you’d like to be included on this list, please submit your event to the Live Music Project at least six weeks prior to the event and tag it with “new music.”

New-Music-Flyer-October-2019


Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electroacoustic music, and sonic experiments. Coming up: minimalism, meditation, and sound mosaics.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Pacific Northwest Ballet performs Carmina Burana. Photo by Angela Sterling.

PNB: ‘Carmina Burana’
A 2,500-pound golden wheel spins above 100 dancers, musicians, and singers in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (with choreography by Kent Stowell). It’s paired with the equally epic Agon, a legendary collaboration between George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky.
10/3-10/6, Various times, McCaw Hall | $37-$190

Philharmonia Northwest: Songs of Life
An ensemble of Tibetan singing bowls and strings accompany Sheila Silver’s new concerto for French horn and Alpenhorn, performed by Ann Ellsworth with Philharmonia Northwest. Amy Beach’s magnificent “Gaelic” Symphony and Emily Doolittle’s majestic “Reedbird” complete the program.
Sun, 10/6, 2:30pm, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (Seattle) | $15-$25

Earshot Jazz Festival: The Westerlies
The Seattle-bred, New York-based brass quartet returns home to perform original tunes and eclectic arrangements in the Earshot Jazz Festival, opening for the Gerald Clayton Quartet.
Tues, 10/8, 7pm, The Triple Door | $10-$37

Roomful of Teeth performs Bryce Dessner’s Triptych.

Bryce Dessner: ‘Triptych’ ft. Roomful of Teeth
Thirty years after Robert Mapplethorpe’s death, his controversial photographs remain radical and subversive. In this multimedia tribute featuring music by Bryce Dessner, poetry by Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, and performances by the inimitable Roomful of Teeth, Mapplethorpe’s visceral images are displayed in unprecedented drama and scale. Click here for 15% off tickets.
Wed, 10/9, 8pm, The Moore Theatre | $42-$72

Seattle Symphony: Olga Neuwirth Premiere
Clattering typewriters and muted trumpets add texture to the backdrop of Olga Neuwirth’s kaleidoscopic new flute concerto Aello. It’s performed by Claire Chase with the Seattle Symphony alongside music of Mozart and Bach.
Thurs, 10/10, 7:30pm, Benaroya Hall | $24-$134
Sat, 10/12, 8pm, Benaroya Hall | $24-$134

Seattle Symphony: Density 2036
Claire Chase is working on a new body of repertoire for solo flute. In fact, she’s commissioning one new piece for her instrument every year until 2036, which marks the centennial of Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking flute composition Density 21.5. Hear her perform selections from the project in the immersive new Octave 9 space.
Fri, 10/11, 7:30pm, Octave 9 | $25

Amy Denio: ‘Truth is Up for Grabs’
Current events, the politics of war, and the poetry of Pablo Neruda are among the inspirations behind composer and multi-instrumentalist Amy Denio’s chamber suite Truth is Up for Grabs. See it performed live alongside an expansive video production by James Drage.
Fri-Sat, 10/11-10/12, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$25

Ladies Musical Club: Contemporary Korean Composers
Two Korean artists, soprano Ki-Jung Jun and pianist Hannah Cho, breathe life into songs and piano solos celebrating the vibrant and diverse voices of contemporary Korean composers.
Mon, 10/14, 7:30pm, University House (Wallingford) | Free

Earshot Jazz Festival: Seattle Modern Orchestra
This ear-expanding collaboration brings together a cast of all-stars from Seattle’s jazz and classical scenes to perform sprawling works by Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, and more. Plus, new premieres by saxophonist Darius Jones and pianist Wayne Horvitz.
Tues, 10/15, 7:30pm, Town Hall | $10-$23

Max Richter. Photo by Wolfgang Borrs.

Max Richter ft. Grace Davidson and ACME
Hovering above a collection of keyboards and synthesizers, Max Richter builds electroacoustic sound worlds that are as introspective as they are immersive. For this concert, he performs them with soprano Grace Davidson and musicians of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. Click here for 15% off tickets.
Wed, 10/16, 7:30pm, The Moore Theatre | $26-$76

Earshot Jazz Festival: Clarice Assad
Drawing inspiration from classical, jazz, and Brazilian music, Clarice Assad performs original solo works for piano and voice, plus wide-ranging works for string quartet featuring local musicians.
Fri, 10/18, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$20

The Esoterics: Honesty
Truth, lies, and unanswered questions are among the themes tying together this concert of wide-ranging works by Ted Hearne, Julia Wolfe, and more. Four world premiere commissions by this year’s POLYPHONOS Competition winners round out the program.
10/18-10/20, Various times and locations | $15-$22

Seattle Symphony: [untitled] 1
Brass instruments sparkle and shine in this late-night concert featuring old and new works for french horn, trumpet, tuba, and timpani.
Fri, 10/18, 10pm, Benaroya Hall Lobby | $15

Pianist Jesse Myers performs Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories.

Jesse Myers: Feldman’s ‘Triadic Memories’
It’s easy to lose track of time amid the sparse tones of Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories. The 90-minute work lends itself well to meditation—which is exactly the idea behind pianist Jesse Myers’ upcoming performance. Grab a pillow and get lost in its softly sprawling sounds.
Fri, 10/25, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10-$15

Summer Vibes (and Marimbas!) with Erin Jorgensen and Friends

by Peter Tracy

Rebekah Ko is part of an all-star cast of local percussionists featured in Good Vibes Only.
Photos by Kelly O.

For vacationers, beachgoers, and students fresh out of class, summertime is all about good vibes. But what about musicians and concertgoers? If the seasonal concert slump has put a damper on your summer, cheer up with Good Vibes Only: a one-night-only concert event featuring music for marimbas and vibraphones that’s sure to lift your end-of-summer spirits.

For Seattle-based marimbist Erin Jorgensen, the mastermind behind the concert, Good Vibes Only came about rather organically as a way to showcase local percussionists. Set for August 30 in the historic Washington Hall, the concert presents minimalist works in a laid-back atmosphere, with immersive visuals designed to enhance the music.

“Basically, I was thinking ‘summertime’: there are a lot of good players here, mallet music sounds very summery,” Jorgensen said. “And along those same lines, I love minimalism, so I wanted it all to be in that kind of vein.”

These things in mind, Jorgensen pulled together an all-star lineup—including local musicians Storm Benjamin, Rebekah Ko, Kerry O’Brien, Kay Reilly, and Melanie Sehman—to put together a program of minimalist and post-minimalist grooves for marimba and vibraphone. From the phasing patterns of Steve Reich to the bouncy, rhythmic melodies of Ivan Trevino and the funk-inspired energy of Marc Mellits, the concert showcases many different interpretations of minimalism.

Erin Jorgensen, Storm Benjamin, and Rebekah Ko.

And if the label of “minimalism” sounds too academic, Jorgensen certainly doesn’t want it to be. She has ambitious plans to create a one-of-a-kind concert experience for Good Vibes Only, complete with original lighting design and other DIY visuals. She’s working to tailor these visuals to the program, whether that be the colorful neon of Mellit’s “Gravity” or the more sprightly and summery marimba duet “2+1” by Ivan Trevino.

“I’ll just listen to a piece and get an idea or visual, and then think about how I can execute that myself without a big crew,” Jorgensen said.

The resulting concert environment envelops the audience in sound and color, transforming the way they experience the music. It also allows both the performers and the audience to connect with the music in a different way, free from the prescriptions of classical concert etiquette. For this performance Jorgensen and the rest of the musicians are forgoing the formal concert attire—and the stage.

“There’s something about that [formal] environment that makes you expect a certain thing,” she said. “You definitely are in a certain headspace, you’re dressed a certain way, you’re listening a certain way, so I think if you can kind of circumvent that a little bit people can enjoy it more.”

This ethos is behind the decision to eschew the hall’s raised stage for this concert, but it also guides a lot of Jorgensen’s other projects, whether that be her ambient Undertones Podcast or her Bach and Pancakes series, in which she performs Bach’s cello suites on marimba while the audience eats pancakes. What these all have in common is a more immersive, contemplative experience of the music—something that Jorgensen feels drawn to. Rather than taking the audience on a journey, she encourages a more laid-back, audience-guided listening experience where you’re welcome to close your eyes or daydream along with the music.

“I like being in those kinds of environments,” Jorgensen said. “I’ve done a lot of art shows with DIY lighting and things like that, and I think you can make that really magical. It’s also a product of being tired of people thinking that there’s only one way to do a concert, when really you can do it however you want.”

With its relaxed atmosphere and groove-driven tunes, the concert will provide something many of us might be in need of as the summer winds to a close: good music, good friends, and good vibes.


Good Vibes Only is Friday, Aug. 30 at 8pm at Washington Hall. For tickets and more information, click here.