Feast Your Ears on New Music: Our November Concert Guide

by Maggie Molloy

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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! 

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Keep an eye out for our this flyer in concert programs and coffee shops around town. Feel free to download, print, and distribute it yourself! If you’d like to be included on this list, submit your event to the Live Music Project at least 6 weeks prior to the event and tag it with “new music.”

November 2018 New Music Flyer

 

Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electroacoustic music, and sonic experiments. This month: spatial explorations, dramatic incantations, sonic meditations, and a whole lot of drummers.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Creativity in Hard Times: The Federal Music Project of the 1930s
Pianist Leslie Amper presents a multimedia lecture-recital telling the story of President Roosevelt’s Arts Initiative. The performance includes images, historic recordings, and piano performances of music by William Grant Still, Ernest Bloch, Henry Cowell, Roger Sessions, Ruth Crawford, and Aaron Copland.
Thurs, 11/1, 7:30pm, UW Brechemin Auditorium | FREE

Seattle Modern Orchestra: The Invisible
The depths of the unknown are explored in this program of sobering works ranging from George Crumb’s Eleven Echoes of Autumn to Chinary Ung’s Still Life After Death. Music by Yigit Kolat and Rebecca Saunders complete the program.
Thurs, 11/1, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10-$25

Pacific Northwest Ballet: All Premiere
Haunting sounds from Dustin Hamman, King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Ólafur Arnalds, and Nils Frahm form the basis of Silent Ghost, a new PNB premiere with choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo. It’s presented alongside performances featuring the music of Michael Giacchino, Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert.
11/2-11/11, Various times, McCaw Hall | $37-$189

Hanna Benn. Photo by Mallory Talty.

Seattle Collaborative Orchestra: Sankofa
In the Twi language of Ghana, ‘Sankofa’ translates to “Go back and get it.” It’s also the title of Hanna Benn’s musical meditation on the ways in which our heritage shapes our future. Seattle Collaborative Orchestra performs the piece alongside world premieres by Northwest composers Julian Garvue and Makenna Carrico.
Fri, 11/2, 7:30pm, Roosevelt High School Theatre | $10-$20

Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir with the UW Symphony
Schelomo (Hebraic Rhapsody) was the final work in Ernest Bloch’s “Jewish Cycle,” a series of compositions exploring his musical and religious identity. The fiercely lyrical cello solo, performed here by Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, was envisioned as the incarnation of King Solomon, with the orchestra representing the world around him. Music of Hindemith and Brahms complete the program.
Fri, 11/2, 7:30pm, Meany Theater | $10-$15

Cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir.

Music of Remembrance: 20th Birthday Celebration
For the past two decades, Music of Remembrance has honored victims of the Holocaust through music. In this special anniversary performance, they are joined by guests from Spectrum Dance Theater and the Northwest Boy Choir for an evening of opera, dance, choral, and chamber works.
Sun, 11/4, 4pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $55

Cornish Presents: Gamelan Pacifica
The sacred echoes of gongs, chimes, and wide-ranging percussion make up the traditional gamelan ensembles of Indonesia. Gamelan Pacifica honors and expands upon that history with a unique blend of traditional and contemporary musical forms.
Sun, 11/4, 7pm, PONCHO Concert Hall | FREE

Bremerton Symphony Orchestra: From the Silver Screen
Sci-fi fans rejoice! This concert of classical music from the movies features a triad of pieces  from 2001: A Space Odyssey, including György Ligeti’s haunting Lux Aeterna, Johann Strauss’s The Blue Danube, and the opening of Richard Strauss’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Plus, music from The Godfather, ET, and more!
Sat, 11/10, 7:30pm, Bremerton Performing Arts Center | $10-$28

Meany Center Presents: Brooklyn Rider
A string quartet for the 21st century, Brooklyn Rider explores the healing properties of music in this concert of brand commissions from four of today’s top composers (all of whom happen to be women): Reena Esmail, Gabriela Lena Frank, Matana Roberts, and Caroline Shaw.
Tues, 11/13, 7:30pm, Meany Hall | $40-$48

Brooklyn Rider.

Black Violin.

STG Presents: Black Violin
It’s not everyday you see a hip-hop duo playing classical instrumentsbut violinist Kev Marcus and violist Wil B. are redefining both genres. They bring their unique brand of “classical boom” to the Paramount Theatre.
Thurs, 11/15, 7:30pm, Paramount Theatre | $31-$61

Philharmonia Northwest: Seattle Sounds
The sounds of the Pacific Northwest take center stage in this concert of music by contemporary Seattle composers. Hear William Bolcom’s jazzy Seattle Slew Suite, Ken Benshoof’s lyrical Concerto for Cello and String Orchestra, and the world premiere of Sarah Bassingthwaighte’s enchanting Sleeping in the Forest.
Sun, 11/18, 2:30pm, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (Seattle) | $15-$20

UW Percussion Ensemble: Percussion Music as Revolution
The visceral energy and powerful sounds of percussion ensemble are on full display in the U.S. premiere of Yiheng Yvonne Wu’s Violent Tender, performed alongside Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking Ionisation and Philip Schuessler’s The Glass Abattoir for speaking percussion ensemble, among other works.
Fri, 11/30, 7:30pm, Meany Theater | $10

Emerald City Music: The Daedalus Quartet
Beethoven’s infamous Kreutzer Sonata (and the dramatic tale behind it) form the basis of this concert exploring how the Kreutzer theme inspired future composers. String quartets by Leoš Janáček, Sergei Taneyev, and Tchaikovsky are performed alongside a quartet arrangement of Beethoven’s original Kreutzer Sonata.
Fri, 11/30, 8pm, 415 Westlake | $45

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Gabriel Kahane at the Triple Door

We are giving away a pair of tickets to see Gabriel Kahane at the Triple Door on Wednesday, March 8 at 7:30pm!

gabrielkeventTo enter, click here to send an e-mail to the Second Inversion team and fill in the blank in the subject line (“New Music is ________”). Deadline is Sunday, March 5 at 11:59pm.

More about the show and Gabriel Kahane:

Wednesday, March 8, join us at The Triple Door as we co-present Gabriel Kahane for a journey of art songs through the ages, from Schumann’s Dichterliebe to Kahane’s Craigslistlieder as well as other original works from this composer, song-writer, and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire. Tickets are on sale now!

A Brooklyn-based pianist, and composer; singer/songwriter, Gabriel Kahane is a musical polymath equally at home in classical, theater, jazz, and indie pop settings. He has written large-scale orchestral works, piano sonatas, string quartets, and song cycles. He has collaborated with everyone from Elvis Costello and Rufus Wainwright to the Kronos Quartet, and Los Angeles Philharmonic.

A trip down memory lane…live in our studios, from Kahane’s last visit to Seattle with Brooklyn Rider:

See you there!

Second Inversion’s Top 5 Moments of 2016

2016 was filled with lots of fun on our 24/7 stream, video production studios, & blog, but this year we really focused on getting out in the community. While these digital offerings reach people world-wide, we are grateful to connect with our Seattle-area fans and like-minded folks! Here are our top 5 moments/events/milestones/projects/good times listed in chronological order.

This is the final post in a series of Top 5 of 2016 lists (check out our Top 5 Videos,Top 5 Albums, and Top 5 Blog Features).

February 1, 2016: Co-presenting Brooklyn Rider and Gabriel Kahane at the Tractor Tavern

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When we had the opportunity to team up with Tractor Tavern to co-present Gabriel Kahane and Brooklyn Rider, we jumped for joy and hopped aboard. The honky-tonkin’ venue was filled with people from all walks of musical life and a great showcase of how to – as we like to say around here – Rethink Classical. Click here for a review of the performance.


April 9, 2016: Second Inversion Presents: Seattle Rock Orchestra Quintet with Tamara Power-Drutis

Second Inversion moved up and over to the Eastside to close Classical KING FM’s inaugural concert series On Stage with Classical KING FM at Bellevue’s newest concert hall, RESONANCE at SOMA Towers. The Seattle Rock Orchestra Quintet with the inimitable, versatile vocalist Tamara Power-Drutis, transformed popular song into art song, in a program that re-imagined the work of artists such as Radiohead, Beck, Bjork and others as intimate and emotional chamber works born for the recital hall. 

Best of all? Back by popular demand, they’ll be performing again next year on April 15, 2017! Tickets are on sale now.

All photos by Jason Tang.


May 26, 2016: Second Inversion Showcase at the 2016 Northwest Folklife Festival

This spring, we came together to celebrate the sounds of the Pacific Northwest in our 2nd annual Second Inversion Showcase at the Northwest Folklife Festival, which featured performances by the bi-coastal brass quartet The Westerlies, the innovative and always-interactive Skyros Quartet, and the boundary-bursting Sound of Late.

All photos by Maggie Molloy.


July-November: New Music Happy Hours hosted by Second Inversion and the Live Music Project

Second Inversion and the Live Music Project host monthly(ish) Happy Hours at the Queen Anne Beerhall for anyone and everyone with an open mind and a willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue about music and art in Seattle and beyond. Sign up for e-mail alerts to find out when the next one is occurring!

All photos by Maggie Molloy.

October 3, 2016: Steve Reich at 80

reichat80Second Inversion celebrated Steve Reich’s birthday in huge style with a 24 hour marathon of his music on our stream. Our staff and over a dozen community members joined in the fun by contributing recorded introductions to their favorite Reich pieces and by writing mini-reviews. We have more 24 hour marathons planned for 2017, birthday and non-birthday related!

Second Inversion’s Top 5 Videos of 2016

Second Inversion is proud to produce video sessions in our studios and in beautiful venues around Seattle. You can peruse them all on our video page, but here are the top 5 viewed in 2016!

#5: Andy Akiho: in/exchange for string quartet and steel pan (featuring Friction Quartet)

#4: John Cage: Living Room Music (featuring So Percussion)

#3: Steve Reich: Cello Counterpoint (featuring Rose Bellini, cello)

#2: Gabriel Kahane: Bradbury (304 Broadway) from “The Ambassador” (featuring Gabriel Kahane and Brooklyn Rider)

#1: Steve Reich: New York Counterpoint (featuring Rachel Yoder, clarinet)

Stay tuned for more great videos to come in 2017!

NEW VIDEOS: Gabriel Kahane and Brooklyn Rider

by Maggie Stapleton

Prior to their performance at the Tractor Tavern last week, Gabriel Kahane and Brooklyn Rider stopped by our studios to film a few pieces from their new collaborative album, The Fiction Issue!

If you missed them while they were out on tour recently, keep an eye on their schedules for a performance near you: Gabriel Kahane and Brooklyn Rider

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CONCERT REVIEW: Brooklyn Rider and Gabriel Kahane at the Tractor Tavern

by Christophe Chagnard

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Last night, I went to the Second Inversion’s presentation of Gabriel Kahane and Brooklyn Rider in concert. It was a stunning display of boundless creativity, artistic commitment, freedom and virtuosity that was deeply inspiring. Kahane’s singular melodic style is captivating, always taking unexpected turns, colored by sophisticated and beautiful harmonies. Just when you think that you have grasped his musical intentions, he takes you to a whole different sonic universe. In the end, you feel that you have been on a fantastic journey with a purpose that reveals itself once you’ve arrived. His voice is always soulful and completely committed to the true meaning of each word. I don’t use the word lightly but those were the creations of a natural and honest musical genius. His sense of pitch was astounding and “Ambassador Hotel” is a perfect song in my book.

Brooklyn Rider, with Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen on violin, Nicholas Cords on viola and Eric Jacobsen on cello, was a wonder of refinement, precision, with a huge expressive range and more colors than I have ever heard from a string quartet. The quality and care of each attack, the complete mastery of the many “sound-effects,” the vibrato matching, the rhythmic drive and transcendence of the bar lines, the intelligence of the rubato were all in full display. It was obvious that their understanding of Kahane’s compositions was very personal, like the expression of a deep friendship. The drama and poetry in Schubert’s “Rosamunde” quartet provided a delightful anachronism but it’s in Kahane’s own Quartet that Brooklyn Rider displayed the full range of its musical might. The symbiosis between Kahane’s relentless creative assault and the quartet’s sheer virtuosity and passion was a wonder to behold and the highlight of the concert. The Tractor Tavern was packed with many young and fewer old, and a great assortment of personalities from professional colleagues to fans. It was exactly the sort of musical evening that we need a lot more of and a tribute to Second Inversion’s leading role and impact. It was one of those rare treats when great art unfolds before us as the unapologetic and intelligent reflection of our time.

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Stay tuned for a couple of in-studio videos of music by Gabriel Kahane, filmed yesterday afternoon in our studios!

ALBUM REVIEW: “The Fiction Issue” by Gabriel Kahane

by Maggie Molloy

Editor’s Note: Classical KING FM and Second Inversion present Gabriel Kahane and Brooklyn Rider at Seattle’s Tractor Tavern Monday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. For tickets and more information, click here.
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Singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane’s got a new set of strings—an entire string quartet, actually. He recently joined forces with ever-eclectic string quartet Brooklyn Rider to record a new album titled “The Fiction Issue.”

Over the course of the past decade, Kahane has crafted quite a resume. He’s toured, performed, and collaborated with some of the biggest names in contemporary classical. He’s served academic and artistic residencies around the country, received commissions from the likes of Carnegie Hall, composed for chamber ensemble, orchestra, musical theatre—heck, the man once made music out of Craigslist ads, for heaven’s sake.

He’s a pianist, a composer, a singer-songwriter, a poet—the list goes on and on. But one thing Kahane had not done yet was compose a full-length album of chamber music—that is, until now.

“The Fiction Issue” is Kahane’s first chamber album, but it’s not your standard collection of string quartets and piano trios. Featuring the inimitable talents of Brooklyn Rider and vocalist/composer/songstress-extraordinaire Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond), the album is something of a mashup between classical chamber music, creative musings, pop music, and poetry.

How it all came about is a bit of a long story—or rather, it’s really more of a series of short stories. The album features two modern-day song cycles and a single-movement string quartet.

(full album is released on Friday, February 5)

“I’ve often thought of a three minute song as a close relative of the short story, as far as narrative economy is concerned,” Kahane said. “In both cases, the writer has to be judicious about what details to include or exclude, because there simply isn’t enough real estate to include everything.”

Kahane explores this challenge in the album’s title track, which was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for his recital debut there in 2012. Written in six parts, the 25-minute piece features both Kahane and Worden singing above Brooklyn Rider’s gorgeously textured string backdrop. Piano, electric guitar, and reed organ (naturally) add both timbral and narrative interest.

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“While the title is a bit of a cheeky nod to The New Yorker’s annual collection of short stories,” Kahane said, “It’s more earnestly a reference to the challenges of narrativity in music: the issue of fiction.”

The piece is equal parts nostalgia, whimsy, word painting, and poetry—with just a dash of humor and satire for good measure. Worden’s crystalline vocals dance effortlessly through the work’s pop, folk, hymnal, and operatic threads, with Kahane’s warm, velvety vocals adding a bit of an art-rock aesthetic. Together the two very different vocalists craft a fascinating and, at times, dissonant dreamscape, each one drifting through their own abstracted story. And while the musical and poetic lines between the two often blur, mysteriously enough the two characters never directly interact.

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“Because the narrative of ‘The Fiction Issue’ is perhaps willfully ambiguous, the music itself does more of the heavy lifting in creating architectural rigor for the piece, as opposed to say, a clearly etched plot,” Kahane said. “For the most part, the entire piece is derived in one way or another from the first three notes that Shara [Worden] sings—a leitmotif that is continually transformed over the course of the work. I hope that this formal discipline, whether or not it’s perceived by the listener, creates license for the more stream-of-consciousness approach to the text.”

The work is followed by a chamber deconstruction of Kahane’s brooding, cinematic pop song “Bradbury (304 Broadway)” off his 2014 album, “The Ambassador.” In his new string quartet adaptation, aptly titled “Bradbury Studies,” Kahane uses shards of motivic and melodic material from the original song to craft an entirely new sound world. Brooklyn Rider brings Kahane’s vision to life with palpable energy and skilled execution of extended string techniques and textural interplay—each player completely in control amidst the chaotic soundscape.

The final piece on the album is Kahane’s three-part song cycle, “Come on All You Ghosts,” which he composed on texts by poet Matthew Zapruder. Animated strings weave in and out of Kahane’s tender yet poised vocals in this short collection of modern art songs. Drawing from a wide palette of textural and timbral colors in the strings, Kahane crafts a sound world somewhere between the realms of contemporary classical, pop, musical theatre, and art rock with a tinge of fringe.

After all, it is in these margins between musical genres that we often find the strongest sense of collaboration and community—and each piece on “The Fiction Issue” harnesses a warmth and intimacy reflective of that bond.

“We often call albums ‘records’ in the sense that they are documents,” Kahane said. “This album is not only a document of the time and place in which it was recorded, but also a document of a series of relationships that have deepened and evolved over the last half dozen years; it’s a great honor and privilege to call Shara Worden, and the members of Brooklyn Rider some of my dearest musical friends, and to be able to share this album with the world as evidence of those friendships.”