‘Become Desert’ Concert Broadcast: June 7, 9pm PT

by Maggie Molloy

John Luther Adams is known for crafting vast sonic landscapes that echo with the textures and timbres of the natural world. Most famous among them is Become Ocean, his Pulitzer Prize and Grammy-winning orchestral work commissioned and recorded by the Seattle Symphony in 2013.

Last year, our orchestra premiered the highly-anticipated sequel, Become Desert—and you can hear it this weekend on Classical KING FM.

Tune in on Friday, June 7 at 9pm to hear Adams’ expansive desert sound world in its original concert performance by the Seattle Symphony and Chorale, conducted by Ludovic Morlot. (And as if an immersive new John Luther Adams premiere wasn’t enough on its own, the piece is paired with another musical mammoth: Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto featuring pianist Jeremy Denk.)

Written specifically for Benaroya Hall, Adam’s Become Desert features members of the Seattle Symphony and Chorale divided into five different ensembles which surround the audience, immersing them in sound, space, and “the singing of the light” (a quote Adams borrows from the great Mexican poet Octavio Paz). The piece was composed at a pivotal moment in Adams’ life: after living for most of his career in Alaska, he moved to the Mexican desert.

In this interview conducted before the piece’s world premiere, John Luther Adams speaks with KING FM’s Dave Beck about moving from tundra to desert, his fascination with immense spaces, and the importance of using the right tools—in his case, the perfect number 2 pencil.



Want to hear it again?

A studio recording of Become Desert will be released on June 14 as an album available on Cantaloupe Music. The two-disc set includes a DVD featuring a surround sound mix of the recording, as well as a slideshow of desert images shot by Adams himself.

Click here for more information, and here for NPR Music’s First Listen.

Local Composers and Vocal Wonders: New Music for June

by Maggie Molloy

Seattle Symphony’s [untitled] series takes place in the lobby of Benaroya Hall.

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! 

Keep an eye out for our 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, please submit your event to the Live Music Project at least six weeks prior to the event and tag it with “new music.”

June-2019-New-Music-Flyer


Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electroacoustic music, and sonic experiments. This month: soaring voices, shamanic rituals, and music from beyond the margins.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Kin of the Moon: Wander and Wail
Taiko drums and Chinese tea ceremonies are among the inspirations behind two innovative new compositions by Leanna Keith. Kin of the Moon performs them both alongside Kaley Lane Eaton’s new work, which features ultra-soprano Emily Thorner in an exploration of the voice as a conduit for expressing ancestral trauma. Learn more in our interview with the composers.
Sat, 6/1, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Seattle Girls Choir: Unsung Voices
Women composers across history are celebrated in this concert ranging from the hymns of Hildegard von Bingen to the art songs of Clara Schumann. Plus: hear music from contemporary Pacific Northwest composers like Joan Szymko, Karen P. Thomas, Jessica French, and Carol Sams.
Sat, 6/1, 8pm, Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University | $5-$15

Seattle Symphony: Gabrielli & Clarke
Two recently uncovered chamber works by Rebecca Clarke (only made available to the public in the last decade) are highlighted on this program alongside mesmerizing works by Domenico Gabrielli, Einojuhani Rautavaara, and more.
Sun, 6/2, 5pm, Octave 9 | $35

Seattle Symphony: [untitled] 3
The elegant art songs of Schubert and Schumann are reimagined with the rawness of early 20th century cabaret in Reinbert de Leeuw’s pastiche song cycle Im wunderschönen Monat Mai. Sarah Ioannides conducts this riveting melodrama starring soprano Maria Männistö.
Fri, 6/7, 10pm, Benaroya Hall | $16

Seattle Modern Orchestra: Britten War Requiem
Benjamin Britten’s harrowing War Requiem is brought to life in this concert collaboration between the Seattle Modern Orchestra and the UW Symphony Orchestra and Choirs. Members of the Seattle Girls’ Choir, Seattle Chamber Singers, and guest soloists also perform.
Fri, 6/7, 7:30pm, Meany Hall | $10-$15

Seattle Peace Chorus: ‘Canto General’
Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s epic hymn to South America, Canto General, is set to music by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis and brought to life by the Seattle Peace Chorus, accompanied by flutes, plucked strings, and a wide array of percussion.
Sat, 6/8, 7:30pm, Town Hall Seattle | $20-$27

Northwest Chamber Chorus: ‘Lux Aeterna’
A Pacific Northwest native, Morten Lauridsen’s choral works are often inspired by the radiant natural landscapes of our region. His Lux Aeterna explores another type of light: it was written in honor of his late mother, who first introduced him to music.
Sat, 6/8, 7:30pm, University Congregational United Church of Christ | $20
Sun, 6/9, 2pm, University Congregational United Church of Christ | $20

Seattle Symphony: Bolcom, Jolley, Poteat, & Hausmann
Seattle’s innovative new music scene is showcased in this concert featuring Seattle Symphony musicians performing music of local composers. Immersive new works by Angelique Poteat and  Jérémy Jolley explore the possibilities of timbre while William Bolcom’s Afternoon Cakewalk harkens back to an earlier musical time.
Tues, 6/11, 7:30pm, Octave 9 | $20

Ancora Choir: In Her Own Words
Celebrating the legacy of writers and thinkers ranging from Emily Dickinson to Anne Frank and Susan B. Anthony, this choral concert serves not only to raise women’s voices but also to share their visions for a world of peace, equality, and justice.
Sat, 6/15, 4pm, Green Lake Church of Seventh Day Adventists | $5-$20

Seattle Modern Orchestra: ‘Mouthpieces’
The line between human voice and man-made instrument starts to blur in Erin Gee’s ongoing collection Mouthpieces. Instruments mirror, mimic, and expand upon her extended vocal sounds to form a kind of “super-mouth” that moves far beyond the physical limitations of a single voice.
Sat, 6/15, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10-$25

Town Music: Bach to Bates
From the hallowed music of J.S. Bach to the modern electronic masterworks of Mason Bates, Town Music ends its season with an exploration of what connects old and new classical music.
Fri, 6/21, 7:30pm, Town Hall Seattle | $20

Sound of Late: Let the Light Enter
The intersections of poetry and music are explored in this concert of rarely-performed chamber works by Eve Beglarian, Tina Davidson, Shawn E. Okpebholo, Evan Williams, and Anthony R. Green.
Sat, 6/29, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Wandering, Wailing, and World Premiering with Kin of the Moon

by Dacia Clay

Ultra-soprano Emily Thorner performs this weekend with Kin of the Moon.

Three world premieres make up the concert program for Kin of the Moon’s next performance this Saturday at the Good Shepherd Chapel.

Kaley Lane Eaton’s FUNERAL SENTENCES FOR DAMAGED CELLS, written for and performed by ultra-soprano Emily Thorner, explores the voice as a conduit for expressing transgenerational trauma. It’s paired with two new works by Leanna Keith inspired by taiko drumming and Chinese tea ceremonies, respectively.

In this audio interview, Kaley and Leanna talk about their new premieres, about how Kin of the Moon came to be, and—most importantly—about crows.

Audio production by Dacia Clay. Audio engineer: Nikhil Sarma.


Kin of the Moon and Emily Thorner perform this Saturday, June 1 at 8pm at the Good Shepherd Chapel. For more information, click here.

Soprano Estelí Gomez Soars with Seattle Pro Musica

by Dacia Clay

Soprano Estelí Gomez performs with Seattle Pro Musica on May 18 and 19.

You may know Estelí Gomez as the soaring soprano of the Grammy-winning vocal troupe Roomful of Teeth. She’s also a globe-trotting soloist, performing alongside collaborators ranging from the Seattle Symphony to Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble.

This weekend, she’s in town as a soloist performing alongside the singers of Seattle Pro Musica. The concert is Passion and Resurrection, titled after the program’s centerpiece by Ēriks Ešenvalds. A dramatic masterwork for choir, soprano soloist, and string orchestra, the piece is unique in highlighting the voice of Mary Magdalene as the female soloist and narrator. The program also includes Frank Martin’s luminous Mass for Double Choir and the world premiere of Panta rhei, a new work by Seattle Pro Musica’s conductor, Karen P. Thomas.

In this interview, we talk with Gomez about her study of wide-ranging vocal traditions, the musical intricacies of Ēriks Ešenvalds, and the value of the human voice.

Music in this interview from Karen P. Thomas’s Panta rhei.
Audio production by Dacia Clay.


Estelí Gomez and Seattle Pro Musica perform Passion and Resurrection on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 at 8pm at St. James Cathedral. For tickets and more information, please click here.

Brainy Music: Getting Cerebral with the JACK Quartet

Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman of the JACK Quartet.

by Dacia Clay

Ever wonder what’s happening in our brains when we make or hear music? Composers and researchers from the University of Washington teamed up with the JACK Quartet to find out.

Over the course of a three-year residency at UW, the team studied the integration of brain and body signals in artistic performance. They outfitted the JACK Quartet with portable brain helmets and muscle sensors that detected brain activity while listening to, seeing, and performing music. Then, they harnessed these neuroscientific discoveries to create new art.

The culmination of this extended residency is a concert this Saturday night titled Human Subjects. Featuring original music by Richard Karpen and Juan Pampin (from the UW DXARTS Faculty), the concert combines the JACK Quartet’s sonified brain waves and neural sensors with music played live on their actual string instruments.

In this interview, we talk with violinist Christopher Otto and violist John Pickford Richards about new music, neuroscience, and what it’s like to be a human subject.


The JACK Quartet performs Human Subjects this Saturday, May 18 at 7:30pm at Meany Hall. For tickets and more information, click here.