NW Focus LIVE: Jesse Myers | Friday, Oct. 11, 8pm

by Peter Tracy

Photo by James Holt. Jesse Myers performs LIVE on KING FM on Friday, Oct. 11 at 8pm.

Whether he’s playing the prepared piano music of John Cage or creating immersive audio-visual experiences at the Good Shepherd Center, Jesse Myers is a pianist who is always up for a challenge.

As a performer with wide-ranging interests, Myers frequently performs music that expands the piano in some way—sometimes through live electronics or even lighting design. He is equally interested in performing more traditional repertoire in unusual contexts, such as pairing the music of Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, and Cage. Later this month, you can catch him tackling Morton Feldman’s sparse yet monumental Triadic Memories, a performance that continues his project of exploring new repertoire and pushing the boundaries of his instrument.

And this weekend, you can hear him perform LIVE on Classical KING FM. Tune in for NW Focus LIVE on Friday, Oct. 11 at 8pm as Myers performs a characteristically broad range of music, including Beat Furrer’s mysterious and atmospheric “Voicelessness: The Snow Has No Voice,” Christopher Cerrone’s tribute to the New York nightscape titled “Hoyt-Schemerhorn,” and more familiar works by Rachmaninoff, Philip Glass, and John Adams.


Jesse Myers performs LIVE on Classical KING FM on Friday, Oct. 11 at 8pm. Click here to tune in.

Triptych, Triadic Memories, and Other Can’t-Miss October Concerts

by Maggie Molloy

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! 

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.”

New-Music-Flyer-October-2019


Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electroacoustic music, and sonic experiments. Coming up: minimalism, meditation, and sound mosaics.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Pacific Northwest Ballet performs Carmina Burana. Photo by Angela Sterling.

PNB: ‘Carmina Burana’
A 2,500-pound golden wheel spins above 100 dancers, musicians, and singers in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (with choreography by Kent Stowell). It’s paired with the equally epic Agon, a legendary collaboration between George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky.
10/3-10/6, Various times, McCaw Hall | $37-$190

Philharmonia Northwest: Songs of Life
An ensemble of Tibetan singing bowls and strings accompany Sheila Silver’s new concerto for French horn and Alpenhorn, performed by Ann Ellsworth with Philharmonia Northwest. Amy Beach’s magnificent “Gaelic” Symphony and Emily Doolittle’s majestic “Reedbird” complete the program.
Sun, 10/6, 2:30pm, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (Seattle) | $15-$25

Earshot Jazz Festival: The Westerlies
The Seattle-bred, New York-based brass quartet returns home to perform original tunes and eclectic arrangements in the Earshot Jazz Festival, opening for the Gerald Clayton Quartet.
Tues, 10/8, 7pm, The Triple Door | $10-$37

Roomful of Teeth performs Bryce Dessner’s Triptych.

Bryce Dessner: ‘Triptych’ ft. Roomful of Teeth
Thirty years after Robert Mapplethorpe’s death, his controversial photographs remain radical and subversive. 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. Click here for 15% off tickets.
Wed, 10/9, 8pm, The Moore Theatre | $42-$72

Seattle Symphony: Olga Neuwirth Premiere
Clattering typewriters and muted trumpets add texture to the backdrop of Olga Neuwirth’s kaleidoscopic new flute concerto Aello. It’s performed by Claire Chase with the Seattle Symphony alongside music of Mozart and Bach.
Thurs, 10/10, 7:30pm, Benaroya Hall | $24-$134
Sat, 10/12, 8pm, Benaroya Hall | $24-$134

Seattle Symphony: Density 2036
Claire Chase is working on a new body of repertoire for solo flute. In fact, she’s commissioning one new piece for her instrument every year until 2036, which marks the centennial of Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking flute composition Density 21.5. Hear her perform selections from the project in the immersive new Octave 9 space.
Fri, 10/11, 7:30pm, Octave 9 | $25

Amy Denio: ‘Truth is Up for Grabs’
Current events, the politics of war, and the poetry of Pablo Neruda are among the inspirations behind composer and multi-instrumentalist Amy Denio’s chamber suite Truth is Up for Grabs. See it performed live alongside an expansive video production by James Drage.
Fri-Sat, 10/11-10/12, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$25

Ladies Musical Club: Contemporary Korean Composers
Two Korean artists, soprano Ki-Jung Jun and pianist Hannah Cho, breathe life into songs and piano solos celebrating the vibrant and diverse voices of contemporary Korean composers.
Mon, 10/14, 7:30pm, University House (Wallingford) | Free

Earshot Jazz Festival: Seattle Modern Orchestra
This ear-expanding collaboration brings together a cast of all-stars from Seattle’s jazz and classical scenes to perform sprawling works by Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, and more. Plus, new premieres by saxophonist Darius Jones and pianist Wayne Horvitz.
Tues, 10/15, 7:30pm, Town Hall | $10-$23

Max Richter. Photo by Wolfgang Borrs.

Max Richter ft. Grace Davidson and ACME
Hovering above a collection of keyboards and synthesizers, Max Richter 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. Click here for 15% off tickets.
Wed, 10/16, 7:30pm, The Moore Theatre | $26-$76

Earshot Jazz Festival: Clarice Assad
Drawing inspiration from classical, jazz, and Brazilian music, Clarice Assad performs original solo works for piano and voice, plus wide-ranging works for string quartet featuring local musicians.
Fri, 10/18, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$20

The Esoterics: Honesty
Truth, lies, and unanswered questions are among the themes tying together this concert of wide-ranging works by Ted Hearne, Julia Wolfe, and more. Four world premiere commissions by this year’s POLYPHONOS Competition winners round out the program.
10/18-10/20, Various times and locations | $15-$22

Seattle Symphony: [untitled] 1
Brass instruments sparkle and shine in this late-night concert featuring old and new works for french horn, trumpet, tuba, and timpani.
Fri, 10/18, 10pm, Benaroya Hall Lobby | $15

Pianist Jesse Myers performs Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories.

Jesse Myers: Feldman’s ‘Triadic Memories’
It’s easy to lose track of time amid the sparse tones of Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories. The 90-minute work lends itself well to meditation—which is exactly the idea behind pianist Jesse Myers’ upcoming performance. Grab a pillow and get lost in its softly sprawling sounds.
Fri, 10/25, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10-$15

VIDEO PREMIERE: Derek Hunter Wilson’s ‘Catalogue of Trying’

by Maggie Molloy

Derek Hunter Wilson. Photo by Nika States.

Expansive panoramas of Willamette Falls form the basis of a new music video for Derek Hunter Wilson’s “Catalogue of Trying.” Shot by Portland photographer and filmmaker Chloé Jarnac, the images reflect the inherent tension between nature and industry.

It’s a theme echoed throughout Wilson’s new album Steel, Wood, & Air (named after the instruments it features: piano, strings, and bass clarinet). In it, the pianist and composer focuses on the elemental aspects of music, exploring color, texture, and timbre through introspective works that highlight the essence of the instruments themselves. Recorded live in the studio with minimal overdubbing, the resulting works highlight the organic nature of music-making, even amid a technology-driven world.

We’re thrilled to premiere the music video for Wilson’s “Catalogue of Trying.”


Derek Hunter Wilson’s new album Steel, Wood, & Air is out now on Beacon Sound. Click here for more information.

ALBUM REVIEW: Ashley Bathgate’s ‘ASH’

by Peter Tracy

Photo by Bill Wadman.

The Bach Cello Suites are unavoidable: cellists from around the world grow up playing them, audiences revere them, and they keep finding their way into movies, TV shows, and pop culture. Even for cellists like new music superstar and Bang on A Can All-Star Ashley Bathgate, the Bach suites remain a staple of the repertoire, and after over 200 years they continue to inspire not just performers, but composers as well.

In fact, Bathgate recently commissioned the composers of the New York-based collective Sleeping Giant to write a Bach-inspired six movement suite for her newest album ASH, continuing the long-standing tradition of bringing Bach’s influence into the present day.

Bathgate gave Sleeping Giant composers Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman rather simple instructions: take any inspiration you find from Bach’s music and write one movement each to form a collaborative suite. With movements from some of today’s most innovative and stylistically diverse composers, these simple instructions have resulted in a bold and imaginative new work.

The album begins with a contribution from Andrew Norman titled “For Ashley”: a fast-paced, upbeat introduction inspired by the repetitive arpeggiation of the Fourth Suite Prelude. Repeated staccato patterns morph and transform to include rhythmic variation, chords, and harmonics, resulting in a piece that is always in motion. Christopher Cerrone’s “On Being Wrong” takes us in a totally different direction: reverb and pre-recorded cello merge together with Bathgate’s live performance to create a layered and resonant piece including both driving rhythms and meditative, open harmonic passages.

Described by the composer as a “madcap gigue,” Timo Andres’ “Small Wonder” continues the suite with some more chaotic energy. Small, eclectic musical cells build on each other, Baroque dance rhythms continually surfacing along with cheeky quotes from Bach’s gigues. The fourth piece in the suite, Jacob Cooper’s “Ley Line,” takes similarly direct inspiration: a moment from the end of the Fifth Suite Prelude featuring an open string drone is stretched out and reimagined to be over ten minutes long. Bathgate’s playing becomes frantic and raspy as the harmonies grow more and more dissonant over the drone, making for a continuous sense of tension that rises and falls throughout.

Perhaps the most unique moment on the album comes in the form of Ted Hearne’s “DaVZ23BzMHo,” whose title references a Youtube video the piece samples. Hearne manipulates music from a 90s-era commercial into a wash of reverb and atmosphere, placing Bathgate’s resonant chords and harmonics on top. The hazy and slowed down music seems to have a mind of its own, stopping and starting to leave Bathgate alone in meditative silence or sliding unpredictably in and out of tune. The cello vies for attention over the chaotic backdrop, playing increasingly dissonant harmonies until the two come together again and Bathgate is left droning off into silence.

Robert Honstein’s “Orison” takes things in an even more atmospheric direction. Inspired by the resonance of the cello in huge cathedral spaces, Honstein’s piece is built around reverb, with each successive note playing a duet of sorts with the continued ringing of the previous ones. “Orison” is a Middle English word for prayer, and if Hearne’s piece was tenuously meditative, Honstein’s is calm and reflective: single tones and chords ring out in regular succession, leaving plenty of space in between to end the suite with the equivalent of a contemplative Sarabande.

While ASH is something of a showcase for Sleeping Giant, it’s Bathgate’s vibrant energy as a performer that unites the album and amplifies the composers’ voices. From Norman’s sharp rhythms to Hearne’s slow-motion dreamscapes and Honstein’s reverb-soaked sense of calm, Bathgate showcases an ability to adapt to any stylistic challenge and bring her own voice to the mix.

On ASH, the composers of Sleeping Giant draw wildly different inspiration from Bach’s music and filter these inspirations through their own distinctive styles, which is a testament to the diversity and lasting impact of Bach’s music. While each piece grew out of Bach’s Cello Suites, the pieces that make up this collaboration present a wide range of musical ideas and techniques that continue to explore, much as Bach did, the possibilities of the cello as a solo instrument.

VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘Robert Henry’ by The Westerlies

by Peter Tracy

The Westerlies take us on an upbeat journey through early childhood with their performance of “Robert Henry,” an original composition by the ensemble’s trombonist Andy Clausen.

“Written shortly after the birth of my first nephew, ‘Robert Henry’ aims to lovingly capture the vibrant energy that a new member of the family contributes,” Clausen says. At times groovy and melodic, at other times rhythmically complex and jazzy, the Westerlies capture the excitement and hopeful energy of early childhood—as well as some of its unexpected turns.

We’re proud to premiere our in-studio video of the Westerlies performing “Robert Henry.”


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