LIVE BROADCAST: Joshua Roman and JACK Quartet | May 10, 7:30pm PT

by Gabriela Tedeschi

Photo by Shervin Lainez.

The world-renowned JACK Quartet welcomes a fifth member this week at the Town Music season finale: acclaimed cellist Joshua Roman. With a program designed to conjure up vivid images and emotions, Roman and the quartet are using sound to paint pictures and tell stories that will linger in listeners’ minds. Perhaps the most evocative work on the program is a piece by Roman himself.

Photo by Hayley Young.

Roman, who leapt right into performing with the Seattle Symphony and around the world after studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music, began composing his own music in 2013. He was commissioned by Town Hall and Music Academy of the West to compose Tornado, a work that paints a portrait of the storms that were a fixture of his childhood in Oklahoma.

Tornado is also inspired by music traditions of the past: Roman quotes a theme from  Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and alludes to works of the Baroque era which use virtuosity to evoke sensations of nature. In an ode to the untameable force of a tornado, Roman has left elements of the piece up to chance and performer interpretation by writing microtone smears and aleatoric parts.

The first half of the concert will feature John Zorn’s exhilarating Ouroboros and Jefferson Friedman’s Quintet, a musical manifestation of the grieving process. Amy Williams’ Richter Textures also appears on the first half of the program, each of its seven parts inspired by a different painting from German artist Gerhard Richter and each seeking to musically portray the complex textures his visual art is famous for.

In addition to Tornado, the second half will feature three Madrigali libro sesto from Don Carlo Gesualdo, arranged by Ari Streisfeld for strings. Gesualdo—an unstable and murderous 17th century composer—is known for chromatic harmonies and diverse emotional expressions that make his music sound modern to contemporary audiences. Because removing the voices meant removing the lyrics, Streisfeld employs different timbral techniques to convey the meaning and emotions of the text to the audience.

Second Inversion is thrilled to offer a LIVE concert broadcast of the performance this Thursday, May 10 at 7:30pm PT. Click here to stream the performance live from anywhere in the world!


Jefferson Friedman: Quintet (2013)
John Zorn: Ouroboros (2017)
Amy Williams: Richter Textures (2011)


Carlo Gesualdo: Selections from Madrigali libro sesto, arranged by Ari Streisfeld
     Lo parto, e non più dissi
     Beltà, poi che t’assenti
     Già piansi nel dolore

Joshua Roman: Tornado (2017)

Town Music presents JACK Quartet and Joshua Roman on Thursday, May 10 at 7:30pm at Seattle First Baptist Church. For tickets and additional information, click here.

LIVE BROADCAST: Ensemble Variances w/ Lisa Bielawa

What’s better than contemporary classical music on Second Inversion’s 24/7 stream?Ensemble-Variances10cMichel-Pellaz

LIVE contemporary classical music from Town Hall Seattle, straight to your living room, kitchen, mobile headphones, anywhere with an internet connection.

Tonight, tune in at 7:30pm PT for Ensemble Variances with Lisa Bielawa for Cri Selon Cri. This production is the brainchild of France’s Thierry Pécou and the United States’ Lisa Bielawa — a work which brings together their compositions, performance, and, quite literally, their cries of pain. This tour, sponsored in part by the French government, demonstrates the power of music to bring people closer.  In addition to works by Bielawa and Pécou, John Zorn’s music will make an appearance on the program.

Second Inversion host Geoffrey Larson and Artistic Advisor Joshua Roman will bring you commentary from the stage and behind the scenes throughout this riveting program. Stream online through your computer or better yet, download our mobile app and stream it on-the-go!IMG_5068

STAFF & COMMUNITY PICKS: September 10, 2015

A weekly rundown of the music our staff and listeners are loving lately! Are you interested in contributing some thoughts on your favorite new music albums? Drop us a line!

Joshua Roman on Gyorgy Ligeti’s String Quartet No.1:


This is one of my favorite pieces by Gyorgy Ligeti.  It’s an eight movement quartet, but since each movement is quite short, it’s similar in length to most string quartets.  With these eight movements, there are some absolute stand outs.  The first movement starts out rather creepily with slow-moving scales underneath a melody that has all sorts of twists, turns, and oddities.  I also really love the fourth movement, a presto. It is a kind of wild dance – little canonic episodes and lots of division between the quartet.  For instance, two players will play the same thing at the same time but a half step apart. These minor seconds create a very odd sound that’s quite energetic.  There are some beautiful shimmering colors in the fifth movement.  In the sixth movement, Ligeti plays around with the waltz, and of course, never lets it stay the same for very long.


Rachele Hales on Eric Chasalow’s Are You Radioactive, Pal?:


Lots of pizzicato and vocal fragments give the album great energy, but this is one of those
collections that demands focused listening to be really appreciated.  Definitely not a good option for your next dinner party.  The juxtaposition of audio elements felt bizarre on my first pass, but when I listened again they formed interesting musical stories.  For adventurous listeners only.



David Wall on The Gnostic Trio’s In Lambeth: Visions from the Walled Garden of William Blake:

MI0003637663Ethereal, lush, and lyrical, In Lambeth: Visions from the Walled Garden of William Blake conveys a deep sense of mystery born out of the art and poetry of the 18th Century English Romantic , William Blake. As the title implies, one feels upon listening as though they are indeed peering through the hedges to catch a glimpse of a garden full of other-worldly characters; characters from Blake’s personal mythology, who are brought to life by The Gnostic Trio’s unusual but perfectly apropos combination of instrumentation (guitar, harp, and vibraphone) and John Zorn’s compositions. These pieces, as with Blake’s writing and artwork, are both rooted in tangible history, having distinct touches of jazz, minimalism, and even folk, yet at the same time transcend these genres to become a force unto itself.