VIDEO PREMIERE: Emerald City Music Plays Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’

by Peter Tracy

Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians is not only a classic work of minimalism, but of contemporary music as a whole: its energetic and infectious grooves made it an instant success when it premiered, and it remains a favorite of both audiences and performers.

It’s not often, though, that so many musicians can find the time and space to put together this roughly hour-long work, which is scored for an expansive roster including four pianos, four female vocalists, and a myriad of percussion, strings, and clarinets.

Last year Emerald City Music was able to overcome these logistical hurdles and assemble a dream team of local and visiting artists to perform the piece right here in Seattle. The performance included ambient lighting displays coordinated to the music, and audience members at the two sold-out Seattle shows were free to roam around the space, making for a laid-back and immersive listening experience.

Check out our exclusive video premieres featuring excerpts from the performance in the playlist below.

VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘In the Mornin’ by The Westerlies

by Maggie Molloy

From jazzy tunes to folk and blues, the Westerlies can reimagine just about any style of music for brass quartet. In our latest Second Inversion in-studio session, they performed their own rendition Charles Ives’ “In the Mornin’,” a setting of the traditional spiritual “Give Me Jesus.”

Ives first heard the bittersweet melody in 1929, sung unaccompanied by Mary Evelyn Stiles, and was inspired to arrange the song for voice and piano. The Westerlies took Ives’ tune one step further, rearranging the music for the warm, brassy tones of two trumpets and two trombones.

“As Ives lent his own harmonic sensibility to the original melody, we took some harmonic liberties of our own in this arrangement,” they said. In keeping with the spirit of the music, they also added moments of improvisation, including a radiant trumpet solo by Chloe Rowlands.

We’re thrilled to premiere our video of the Westerlies performing their rendition of “In the Mornin’.”


Want more music from the Westerlies? Click here for another video from this session.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Annika Socolofsky’s ‘Turadh’

by Peter Tracy

With fall now fully underway, it can often feel like there’s nothing but gray clouds on the horizon. Every once in a while, though, the sky clears up for a moment or an afternoon, reminding us that the sun keeps shining just beyond the clouds.

The simple pleasure of these moments is part of the impulse behind composer and vocalist Annika Socolofsky’s piece Turadh, which is titled after a Scottish word for a “break in the clouds.” A collaboration with the New York-based Parhelion Trio, the piece features the ensemble of flute, clarinet, and piano accompanying recordings of Socolofsky playing her 10-stringed Norwegian hardanger d’amore fiddle, an instrument she used to play for her grandmother at her home in rural Kansas. These evenings spent in the warmth of her grandmother’s home inspired a piece that provides its own unique warmth and resonance.

For their new video, Socolofsky and the Parhelion Trio draw on the talents of media artist and filmmaker XUAN, whose ambient lighting and experimental video editing present the piece in an elegant new light.

We’re thrilled to premiere the new video for Socolofsky’s Turadh.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Michael Gordon’s ‘To the West’

by Maggie Molloy

The vast landscapes and rich histories of Big Sky, Montana are the inspiration behind a new large-scale collaboration between composer Michael Gordon, filmmaker Bill Morrison, and the chamber choir The Crossing.

Montaña is a project unfolding over the course of four years, with the artists meeting each summer in Big Sky to invest in chapters of what will ultimately become a long-form spatial work for a cappella choir and film. Drawing on frontier ballads, cowboy songs, and historical texts, the piece explores not only the expansive geography of Montana but also sounds and stories from the American frontier. The ongoing project invites the public into the artistic process through performances at the end of each summer at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.

But you don’t have to be in Montana to hear it. We’re thrilled to premiere a new video from Four/Ten Media featuring a section from Montaña titled “To the West,” which sets words from Chief Tecumseh and Thomas Jefferson.


For more information on Montaña, including interviews with the creators, click here.

VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘Trozo’ by Tristan Eckerson

by Peter Tracy

Composer and pianist Tristan Eckerson.

Brazilian dancer Saan Queiroz spins and glides his way through a forest in the new video for Tristan Eckerson’s “Trozo.”

The piece, which is the title track from Eckerson’s 2016 debut full length album, is a melancholy work for solo piano featuring continuous arpeggios and sparse melodies. Recently, Eckerson completely re-recorded, re-mixed, and re-mastered the album, which he will re-release as Trozo Revisited on October 18.

In this video created by Caio Nogueira (Pupilla) and directed by Emily Naitê, Queiroz gives a fluid and animated dance performance in a sunlit forest, giving a new dimension to Eckerson’s atmospheric work.


Tristan Eckerson’s Trozo Revisited is out Friday, Oct. 18. For more information, click here.