In celebration of Pride Month, Cornish College of the Arts musicologist Kerry O’Brien and early music specialist Byron Schenkman tell stories of LGBTQ+ classical artists from very different periods of music history. How do we talk about queer artists of the distant past when there was no such thing as being “out” yet? Is it possible (or useful) to identify what unique qualities LGBTQ+ artists have brought to classical music? And why is it important to talk about the stories of minority populations anyway?
Hear all of this—plus stories you may never have heard before about famous classical artists—in our audio interview with Kerry and Byron.
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.
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.
As Composer-in-Residence with the Seattle Symphony this
year, Derek Bermel kept pretty busy. Putting together multimedia performances
in the brand new Octave 9 space, collaborating with local veterans through the
Compass Housing Alliance, and nurturing the voices of young composers were just
a few of his weekly activities.
He also wrote an immersive new piece about the Mars rover Curiosity, was featured as part of a 24-hour contemporary music marathon, and found an innovative new way to fit the full Seattle Symphony Orchestra within the intimate walls of Octave 9.
Learn about all this and more in our interview with the composer below.
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.