NW Focus Stories: Tales from Seattle’s Classical Music Luminaries

In addition to being a performer and commissioner of new music, Bonnie Whiting is the Chair of Percussion at the University of Washington School of Music.

Not all classical music unfolds onstage. Behind the scenes, there is an entire ecosystem of artists, audiences, administrators, educators, and innovators who bring classical music to life in the Pacific Northwest.

Second Inversion is thrilled to be a part of KING FM’s Northwest Focus Stories, a new show airing select Friday evenings at 8pm on KING FM. Join host Dacia Clay and your favorite KING FM announcers as we highlight the vibrant classical music community of the Pacific Northwest through in-depth interviews and audio stories built around people who create, curate, or contribute to classical music in a meaningful way.

Our first episode, which aired on October 18, highlights women leaders in Seattle’s music community, with special guests ranging from experimental percussionist Bonnie Whiting to Seattle Opera General Director Christina Scheppelmann, arts advocate Leslie Chihuly, music historian Melinda Bargreen, KING FM CEO Brenda Barnes, and Seattle Rock Orchestra Music Director Kim Roy.

Listen to the episode on-demand below:


Host and Executive Producer: Dacia Clay; segment producers and interviewers: Dacia Clay, Maggie Molloy, Nikhil Sarma, Marta Zekan, Mike Brooks, Dave Beck; audio engineering: Mike Brooks and Nikhil Sarma; theme music: “a storm of our own making,” by Daniel Webbon.


Music in Bonnie Whiting Segment:

Annea Lockwood: Amazonia Dreaming
Bonnie Whiting, percussion (recorded in studio)

James MacMillan: Veni, Veni Emmanuel (RCA Red Seal Records)
Evelyn Glennie, percussion; Scottish Chamber Orchestra

John Cage: 51’15.657” for a Speaking Percussionist (Mode Records)
Bonnie Whiting, voice and percussion

Yiheng Yvonne Wu: Violent Tender
UW Percussion Studio (recorded by Gary Louie; mixed by Mason Lynass)

Additional music performed by Bonnie Whiting in her studio and recorded by Nikhil Sarma.

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.

John Lunn on Pop Music, Minimalism, and Composing for Downton Abbey

by Dacia Clay

The long-awaited Downton Abbey movie has just been released, as has its fantastic score by John Lunn. Lunn is the Emmy Award-winning composer of the soundtrack for the Downton Abbey TV show as well.

In this interview, he talks about his surprising musical roots in pop and minimalism, how you can hear those influences in the music for Downton, what it’s like to write for the show and the movie, and he even reveals (gasp!) a movie spoiler.