From Max Richter to Roomful of Teeth: Early Access to New Music at STG

by Maggie Molloy

From the pulsing minimalism of Max Richter to the visceral bite of Roomful of Teeth, the theatricality of modern music comes alive onstage during Seattle Theatre Group’s 2019-2020 season. We’re thrilled to partner with STG to offer Second Inversion listeners early access and a 15% discount on tickets to three of our favorite STG shows this season.

Click here to grab your tickets before they go on sale to the general public, and use the code SECONDINVERSION at checkout for 15% off and reduced service fees.

Bryce Dessner’s Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)
ft. Roomful of Teeth and photography of Robert Mapplethorpe

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 8pm | The Moore Theatre

Thirty years after Robert Mapplethorpe’s death, his controversial photographs remain radical and subversive. Working in New York City in the 70s and 80s, his portraiture was provocative in its classical, even statuesque portrayals of nudity, eroticism, queer identity, and BDSM. 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.


Max Richter ft. ACME and Grace Davidson
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 7:30pm | The Moore Theatre

Max Richter is one of those very few classical composers whose fan base is comprised largely of non-classical concertgoers. Equal parts composer, performer, and producer, his music combines the sensitivity and nuance of classical music with the shimmering serenity of ambient and electronic. Hovering above a collection of keyboards and synthesizers, he 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.


Kronos Quartet: A Thousand Thoughts
Live Documentary by Sam Green and Joe Bini

Thursday, April 23, 7:30pm | The Moore Theatre

Over the past five decades the Kronos Quartet has explored just about every corner of contemporary music—from minimalism to microtonality, film scores to folk songs, and musical traditions from around the globe. They’ve also played a major role in championing new music, commissioning over 1,000 new works and arrangements to date. Their new live documentary A Thousand Thoughts, created by filmmaker Sam Green and writer Joe Bini, tells the story of the quartet’s groundbreaking career, featuring archival footage and interviews with collaborators like Philip Glass, Terry Riley, and Laurie Anderson—all while the Kronos Quartet performs the live score.

NW Focus LIVE: Inside Second Inversion’s Music Library

Sean MacLean, Host of NW Focus LIVE.

Step inside our Second Inversion music library with this special episode of Classical KING FM’s NW Focus LIVE—now available for on-demand listening!

Maggie Molloy, Second Inversion Editor.

Second Inversion Editor Maggie Molloy joins KING FM’s Sean MacLean on his weekly show to share a handful of live and local musical performances recorded right here in Seattle.

So, what’s on the playlist? We don’t want to give too much away, but suffice to say it features music from Seattle’s favorite brass quartet, a vocal ensemble with some serious bite, an ocean of percussion, and a whole lot more—including a brand new, unreleased recording captured in our studios just last month.

Plus: Maggie talks with Sean about the thrill of discovering new sounds, the surprising intersections of old and new music, and what makes Seattle’s new music scene so vibrant. Listen to the episode on-demand below!


This special Second Inversion episode of NW Focus LIVE originally aired on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 at 8pm PT on Classical KING FM 98.1.

For a detailed playlist, please click here.

Phil Kline’s ‘Unsilent Night’ Rings Twice this Season in Puget Sound

by Maggie Molloy

Whether you’re the world’s biggest Santa-fan, a grouchy Ebenezer Scrooge, or even just an avant-garde enthusiast looking to expand your holiday music horizons, Phil Kline’s got just the carol for you—and you’ve got two chances to experience it this year in the Puget Sound region.

Kline’s Unsilent Night is a contemporary twist on holiday caroling that is celebrated annually around the globe. But don’t worry, there’s no singing involved. In true 21st century fashion, all you have to do is download an app.

This nontraditional holiday carol is an electronic composition written specifically for outdoor performance in December. Audience members each download one of four tracks of music which, when played together, comprise the ethereal Unsilent Night.

Countless participants meet up with boomboxes, speakers, or any other type of portable amplifiers and each hit “play” at the same time. Then they walk through the city streets creating an ambient, aleatoric sound sculpture that is unlike any Christmas carol you have ever heard.


Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night takes place in Seattle this Friday, Dec. 14 starting at 6pm at Cornish College of the Arts’ Kerry Hall. Click here for more information.

The Tacoma rendition is Friday, Dec. 21 starting at 6:30pm at Mason United Methodist Church. Click here for more information.

Joep Beving’s Philosophy of Music

by Gabriela Tedeschi

Photo by © Rahi Rezvani, courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon.

Solipsism refers to the philosophical idea that only the individual’s mind exists because nothing outside of it—others’ minds or the world—can truly be known. In other words, solipsism holds that there is no universal reality.

Dutch pianist and composer Joep Beving disagrees—his debut album Solipsism is meant more as a challenge to that philosophy than a statement in support of it. The up-and-coming artist, who has gained international acclaim through Solipsism, two follow-up albums, and several singles, uses music to challenge the notion that no shared reality exists. By distilling music to its aesthetic essence, Beving strives to create a universal language, something that disproves solipsism and speaks to everyone.

This week, Seattleites have the chance to experience Beving’s universal musical reality. Beving is performing pieces from his anti-solipsist solo piano albums in the Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall on Friday, Oct. 26 at 8pm.

But it’s not just about allowing audiences to experience a universal reality; it’s also about improving the way we experience the world outside of the concert hall. Beving believes in using his universal language as a way to provide comfort and solace in a chaotic world. Though generally soft and slow, there’s a gentle, rhythmic flow to his music that makes it majestic in an understated way. The warmth of his harmonies portray an underlying sense of hope even while the pieces traverse haunting, melancholy paths.

Beving’s music also stands out because of his gentle touch on the keys. After his grandmother’s death in 2009, he inherited her German piano and discovered that it required a lighter touch, ultimately leading him to adopt a more tender, classical style of playing. By working with a smaller range of dynamics and articulations, Beving is able to make a dramatic impact with the slightest changes in touch.

Though Beving’s music is dark and ruminative, its underlying tenderness leaves you with a sense of inner peace. You’ll leave the concert hall with a newfound connection to those around you, too, knowing that you’ve felt the same things and experienced the same reality.

Find out more about Beving’s musical philosophy in our interview below.

Second Inversion: In your work, music is the universal form of communication. How did you develop this philosophy as a composer?

Joep Beving: When I started to write music behind my piano at home, it was at a time that I myself was feeling more and more alienated from the people around me and the reality we live in. I lost track of the human scale of things and everything seemed to be more and more grotesque and unreal. The piano helped me to look for something essential, something to find trust and comfort in.

I stripped down the music to a very minimalist essence, to the point that it started to affect me. I had a hope that the music would resonate with people in general, and for this I strived to capture beauty in the hopeful belief that there is some form of universal truth in there. My only indicator of coming close to this were my own goosebumps, and I remember seeing it as an experiment in communication in the sense that if there was some sort of absolute aesthetic it could mean that my goosebumps should be yours too.

With music you can make a very personal connection to people you don’t know; they will find some form of recognition in the music and this creates a connection—a human connection that I feel is so needed in these times.

SI: You’ve mentioned that inheriting a German piano from your grandmother has influenced your style, leading you to adopt a more classical approach. How would you describe the way your music and playing have evolved over time?

JB: In my younger years I played a bit of jazz and the struggle was always to play as many notes as possible. I was very impatient and my technical skills didn’t allow for me to play what I was hearing in my head. When I grew older I started to dislike the way I was (trying) to play and looked at other ways to improvise, getting inspired by minimalists and pianists like Keith Jarrett who would create these magnificent atmospheres and tell what I experienced as more profound stories. I didn’t play that much piano but when I did, I looked for these type of stories.

It was only four years ago that all of sudden almost from one day to another my playing style turned into what it is now, and a lot of that has to do with the sound of my grandmother’s piano. It is the space between the notes played that contains the most magic, and with this instrument this empty space sounded so good that I didn’t want to contaminate it with too many notes.

SI: Your music can be mournful and haunting, but it also strives to be a soothing antidote to a chaotic world. Do sad and soothing work together easily or is it difficult to strike a balance?

JB: Absolutely. I believe that melancholy is like the default human condition or emotion. There is the element of sadness about the unfairness of life and many other things, but there’s also the hope that today or one day it will be better. Making music to that basic emotion feels honest and truthful or perhaps soothing, since it so well reflects how we really feel deep down. Music has the power to communicate on a level beyond the rational and establish this connection on a deeper level of understanding; it reminds us that we all more or less feel the same as humans.


Joep Beving is performing this Friday, Oct. 26 at 8pm at Nordstrom Recital Hall. For tickets and more information, click here.

Improvisation is Life, and Other True Stories from James Falzone

by Dacia Clay

James Falzone’s musical career began with Peter and the Wolf and has since expanded into the far-reaching realms of classical, jazz, Arabic music, and beyond. These days he is the Chair of Music at Cornish College of the Arts and clarinetist of the Allos Musica ensemble. The group features oud (an ancient Arabic lute), voice, accordion, and a wide array of wind and percussion instruments from around the world—and you can hear them in action on October 25 when they perform as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival.

In this interview, Falzone talks about how his eclectic taste in music came to be (it started with a 5th grade teacher), and what Allos does. He also talks about the importance of improvisation for musicians, and about what audiences can expect to hear at their upcoming performance.


Allos Musica performs as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7pm and 9:30pm at the Royal Room. Click here for more information.