‘Become Desert’ Concert Broadcast: June 7, 9pm PT

by Maggie Molloy

John Luther Adams is known for crafting vast sonic landscapes that echo with the textures and timbres of the natural world. Most famous among them is Become Ocean, his Pulitzer Prize and Grammy-winning orchestral work commissioned and recorded by the Seattle Symphony in 2013.

Last year, our orchestra premiered the highly-anticipated sequel, Become Desert—and you can hear it this weekend on Classical KING FM.

Tune in on Friday, June 7 at 9pm to hear Adams’ expansive desert sound world in its original concert performance by the Seattle Symphony and Chorale, conducted by Ludovic Morlot. (And as if an immersive new John Luther Adams premiere wasn’t enough on its own, the piece is paired with another musical mammoth: Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto featuring pianist Jeremy Denk.)

Written specifically for Benaroya Hall, Adam’s Become Desert features members of the Seattle Symphony and Chorale divided into five different ensembles which surround the audience, immersing them in sound, space, and “the singing of the light” (a quote Adams borrows from the great Mexican poet Octavio Paz). The piece was composed at a pivotal moment in Adams’ life: after living for most of his career in Alaska, he moved to the Mexican desert.

In this interview conducted before the piece’s world premiere, John Luther Adams speaks with KING FM’s Dave Beck about moving from tundra to desert, his fascination with immense spaces, and the importance of using the right tools—in his case, the perfect number 2 pencil.



Want to hear it again?

A studio recording of Become Desert will be released on June 14 as an album available on Cantaloupe Music. The two-disc set includes a DVD featuring a surround sound mix of the recording, as well as a slideshow of desert images shot by Adams himself.

Click here for more information, and here for NPR Music’s First Listen.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Majel Connery’s ‘Rebeam Me’

by Maggie Molloy

Majel Connery had a rather unusual path to the world of pop music.

Originally trained as a pianist, opera singer, and eventual musicologist, she went on to collaborate with a number of wide-ranging artists both within and beyond the genre of “new music.” Among them are the art pop duo Hae Voces, the book-club-band Oracle Hysterical, and the radically experimental Opera Cabal, to name just a few.

Presently, she’s set her ears on exploring her own voice as a solo artist. Her new EP Anything Chartreuse features four original songs that layer her translucent voice over shimmering electronics. The result is dreamy art pop with the sensitivity and nuance of classical music—but none of the inhibitions.

We’re thrilled to premiere the music video for her new song “Rebeam Me.”


Majel Connery’s Anything Chartreuse is out now. Click here to listen.

The Sound of One Man Cooking: Nat Evans’ Music for Daily Life

by Dacia Clay

Composer Nat Evans makes music with practical applications—music you can use in your daily life and music inspired by his own. As a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, this is to be expected: Zen is all about being with what is, allowing life to unfold as it will. And what unfolds in Evan’s latest work is music to cook by.

Evans grows much of his own food (he started a community garden this past year), and he loves cooking to music. His latest work, Two Functions in Three Dimensions, is a soundtrack for others to cook by—a meditative, atmospheric audio framework to aid in being present in the kitchen. In this interview, he talks about Zen, about his own meditation practice, and about why the quotidian is his creative inspiration.

Interview and audio production by Dacia Clay.

Music for Dreamers, Schemers, and Curious Listeners: Your April Concert Guide

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! 

Keep an eye out for our flyer in concert programs and coffee shops around town. 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.”

Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electroacoustic music, and sonic experiments. This month: dynamic collaborations, deep ecology, and sounds from the end of the world.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Seattle Symphony: Trimpin, Stiefel, & More
Equal parts composer and sound sculptor, Trimpin creates sonic installations at the intersection of music and visual art. Hear his work Solo Flute, Eight Pottery Wheels and Assorted Vinyls alongside music of Andrew Stiefel, Leonardo Gorosito, Rafael Alberto, and Igor Stravinsky.
Tues, 4/2, 7:30pm, Octave 9 | $20

Emerald City Music: Dreamers’ Circus
Classical music meets Nordic folk song in this globe-trotting Scandinavian trio. Comprised of violin, piano/accordion, and cittern (a lute with a flat back), the trio brings together the warmth and nostalgia of acoustic folk music with the subtle complexities of the classical tradition.
Fri, 4/5, 8pm, 415 Westlake | $45
Sat, 4/6, 7:30pm, The Minnaert Center (Olympia) | $20-$25

Dreamers’ Circus. Photo by Kristoffer Juel Poulsen.

James Falzone: The Already & The Not Yet
Reflecting on his past three years living in Seattle, composer and clarinetist James Falzone offers a meditation on his long-running solo work, Sighs Too Deep for Words. Plus: new music composed for Tao Trio featuring Falzone alongside pianist Wayne Horvitz and bassist Abbey Blackwell.
Sat, 4/6, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Third Coast Percussion: ‘Perpetulum’
Philip Glass’s first and only piece for percussion ensemble receives its Pacific Northwest premiere in the capable hands of Third Coast Percussion, who commissioned the piece last year. A handful of the ensemble’s own original Glass-inspired works complete the program.
Sun, 4/7, 6pm, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $22

Third Coast Percussion.

Harry Partch Ensemble: ‘Daphne of the Dunes’
The ancient Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo is reimagined through the primal rhythms and eerie microtones of Harry Partch’s handmade instruments. His sprawling Daphne of the Dunes (originally composed as a film score) is performed alongside microtonal art songs of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Tues, 4/9, 7:30pm, Meany Studio Theater | $10

Harry Partch Ensemble: ‘The Bewitched’
Music, theatre, and ritual merge in Harry Partch’s radical dance satire The Bewitched. Written as a reaction against the rigidity of modern civilization, the piece explores how we might ultimately find a sense of rebirth through a discovering our ancient past. The tale unfolds across 12 scenes played out on Partch’s collection of handmade microtonal instruments.
Sat, 4/13, 7:30pm, Meany Studio Theater | $10

Harry Partch’s Chromelodeon. Photo by Maggie Molloy.

Music of Today: Performing with the Brain
Performers can create music without movement thanks to a new brain computer music interface developed at the University of Washington. Patients with motor disability improvise with professional musicians in this performance led by composers Juan Pampin and Richard Karpen and neuroscientist Thomas Deuel.
Fri, 4/19, 7:30pm, Meany Studio Theater | FREE

Seattle Symphony: ‘Surrogate Cities’
Man, machine, and the modern metropolis are the major themes behind Heiner Goebbels’ new multimedia work Surrogate Cities. Like the city itself, the music is a sprawling blur of human and machine-made sounds enhanced with striking visual effects. Get a sneak preview of Goebbels’ immersive chamber works performed in Octave 9, and hear Surrogate Cities in the main hall over the weekend.
Mon, 4/22, 7:30pm, Octave 9 | $25
Thurs, 4/25, 7:30pm, Benaroya Hall | $22-$122
Fri, 4/26, 8pm, Benaroya Hall | $22-$122

Philip Glass: ‘Hydrogen Jukebox’
The pulsing minimalism of Philip Glass and the countercultural activism of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg combine in Hydrogen Jukebox, a 1990 chamber opera reflecting on issues of war, peace, social equity, and sustainability. The UW Vocal Theatre Workshop performs the Northwest Premiere under the direction of Cyndia Siden, Dean Williamson, and Deanne Meek.
4/26-4/27, 7:30pm, Meany Studio Theater | $10

Ladies Musical Club: Northwest Composers
Pacific Northwest composers are celebrated in this wide-ranging concert of chamber music featuring works by Karen P. Thomas, Alex Shapiro, Sarah Mattox, and many more.
Sat, 4/27, 7pm, Music Center of the NW | FREE

Seattle Symphony: American Horizons
Composer-in-Residence Derek Bermel curates an evening of music ranging from Steve Reich to Mary Kouyoumdjian, with world premieres by Kaley Lane Eaton and Bermel himself composed specifically for the immersive new Octave 9 space.
Sun, 4/28, 6pm, Octave 9 | $35

Seattle Symphony Composer-in-Residence Derek Bermel.

Seattle Modern Orchestra: ‘Coming Together’
Frederic Rzewski’s hypnotic classic Coming Together uses text adapted from a prison letter written by Sam Melville, an anarchist bomber who was killed during the Attica Prison uprising in 1971. The harrowing piece is performed here alongside politically-charged works by Christian Wolff.
Sun, 4/28, 7:30pm, The Royal Room | $10-$20

Paul Taub: Landscape with Birds
Flute music from across three continents is presented in this program exploring the instrument’s wide range of techniques and influences. Paul Taub, who recently retired from nearly four decades of teaching at Cornish, performs music of Pēteris Vasks, Toru Takemitsu, Bun-Ching Lam, Robert Aitken, Janice Giteck, and more.
Tues, 4/30, 7pm, Folio | $20

Healing Modes: Behind the Scenes with Brooklyn Rider

by Dacia Clay

Brooklyn Rider was recently in Seattle touring their new performance project, Healing Modes. The concert program, which is focused on the power of music to heal in many ways, was inspired by Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132—specifically the third movement. It was a piece that Beethoven wrote during a period of recovery in his own life.

Brooklyn Rider has commissioned five new works for the project—by Reena Esmail, Caroline Shaw, Du Yun, Matana Roberts, and Gabriela Lena Frank—to pair with the Beethoven on the program (and, eventually, on the album). Learn more about Healing Modes in this audio excerpt. To hear the full interview with Brooklyn Rider, listen to the latest episode of the Classical Classroom podcast.

Audio editing for this excerpt by Nikhil Sarma.