December New Music: Cello Conspiracies, Mandolin Messiahs, and an Unsilent Night

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! 

thvLYmNB

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.”

Program Insert - December 2017

 

Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electroacoustic music, and sonic experiments. This month: American gamelan, ambient drones, homemade instruments, and experimental chamber ensembles.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

UW Percussion Ensemble: John Cage’s ‘The City Wears a Slouch Hat’
Under the direction of Bonnie Whiting, the University of Washington Percussion Ensemble presents a theatrical rendition of John Cage’s recently-discovered radio play The City Wears a Slouch Hat, pairing Cage’s vintage music with brand new works by UW composition students.
Fri, 12/1, 7:30pm, Meany Studio Theater | $10

‘The Saci’ & ‘The Greater Trumps’
New music and modern dance collide in this brand new partnership between Karin Stevens Dance and the Universal Language Project. Their debut collaboration features performances of Jovino Santos-Neto’s Saci – A Brazilian Folktale alongside a new rendition of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, reimagined here for the 21st century with a libretto by Doug Thorpe.
Fri, 12/1, 8pm, Cornish Playhouse | $15-$50
Sat, 12/2, 2:30pm, Cornish Playhouse | $15-$50

The Esoterics: EXCELSIS – Contemplating Extremity
The Esoterics cast their choral gaze upward in this program featuring works inspired by spirits, galaxies, comets, and the cosmos. The centerpiece of the program is Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts’ To touch the sky: a nine-movement compendium of celestial feminine poetry.
Fri, 12/1, 8pm, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (Seattle) | $15-$22
Sat, 12/2, 8pm, Holy Rosary Catholic Church (West Seattle) | $15-$22
Sun, 12/3, 7pm, Christ Episcopal Church (Tacoma) | $15-$22

On the Boards: Phil Kline’s ‘Unsilent Night’
In this contemporary twist on holiday caroling, audience members each download one of four tracks of music which, when played together, comprise Phil Kline’s ethereal Unsilent Night. Participants meet up with boomboxes and speakers and each hit “play” at the same timethen walk through the streets of Lower Queen Anne creating an ambient, aleatoric sound sculpture.
Sat, 12/2, 6pm, On the Boards | FREE

On Stage with Classical KING FM: Holiday Concert with KING FM Personalities
KING FM personalities step out of the radio booth and onto center stage to perform old and new Christmas carols and festive classical arrangements—including music for dueling cellos, tubas, and even a theremin.
Sat, 12/2, 7:30pm, Resonance at SOMA Towers | $20-$25

Ladies Musical Club: Expressions of Winter
Seattle’s longest-running musical organization celebrates the season with a concert of original winter-inspired works composed by Ladies Musical Club members.
Sun, 12/3, 2pm, Music Center of the Northwest | FREE

Town Music: A Cello Conspiracy
Joshua Roman performs in an all-cello show alongside four of the Seattle Symphony’s superstar cellists: Efe Baltacıgil, Nathan Chan, Meeka Quan DiLorenzo, and Eric Han. Featuring works ranging from Rossini and Paganini to Reena Esmail and Christopher Cerrone, this is one cello showdown you do not want to miss.
Mon, 12/4, 7:30pm, Fremont Abbey Arts Center | $15-$20

UW Modern Ensemble: Messiaen, Stockhausen, Glass
Under the direction of Cristina Valdes, the University of Washington Modern Music Ensemble tackles three iconic masterworks of the 20th century: Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Tierkreis, and Philip Glass’s Music in Similar Motion.
Tues, 12/5, 7:30pm, University of Washington, Brechemin Auditorium | FREE

Emerald City Music: The Miró Quartet
The world-renowned Miró Quartet performs Kevin Puts’ stunning Credo for string quartet in a vogue, open bar setting alongside classic quartets by Haydn and Schumann.
Fri, 12/8, 8pm, 415 Westlake Ave (Seattle) | $45
Sat, 12/9, 7:30pm, Evergreen State College (Olympia) | $10-$43

Seattle Art Song Society: Together
Seattle Art Song Society celebrates the centennial of Finland’s independence with an evening of art songs and Christmas music penned by Finnish composers ranging from Sibelius to Kilpinen, Merikanto, Nummi, and Kuula.
Sat, 12/9, 7:30pm, Queen Anne Christian Church | $20-$40

Cornish Presents: Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble
The four-voice, all-woman Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble performs a program of genre-bending new repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Sat, 12/9, 8pm, Cornish College of the Arts, PONCHO Hall | $5-$20

Seattle Mandolin Orchestra: Mandolin Messiah
Handel’s immortal oratorio comes to life on the plucked strings of the Seattle Mandolin Orchestra in this abridged Messiah performance featuring a cast of four vocal soloists and a whole lot of pizzicato.
Sun, 12/10, 7pm, Green Lake United Methodist Church (Seattle) | $15-$20

Portland Cello Project: Celebrating 20 Years of OK Computer
Portland Cello Project’s massive 800-piece repertoire ranges from Bach to Kanye and beyond. The group celebrates 20 years of Radiohead’s OK Computer with a performance at Benaroya Hall featuring special guests Kyleen King and Adam Shearer.
Sun, 12/10, 7:30pm, Benaroya Hall | $35-$40

NOCCO: Mystics, Servants, & Devils
A week before Winter Solstice, the North Corner Chamber Orchestra presents a program contrasting the old and the new, the magical and the devotional. A world premiere of Jim Knapp’s Noverture is paired with works by Bach, Pärt, and Stravinsky.
Sat, 12/16, 2pm, Magnolia United Church of Christ (Seattle) | $15-$20
Sun, 12/17, 7:30pm, The Royal Room | $15-$20

Stravinsky and the Saci: New Music and Modern Dance

by Brendan Howe

The music from Stravinsky’s theatrical work The Soldier’s Tale is reimagined with a 21st century libretto by dramatist Doug Thorpe in The Greater Trumps, a contemporary tale of good and evil. The piece shares the same septet orchestration as a new jazz commission by Latin Grammy-nominated Jovino Santos Neto titled The Saci after a mischievous, one-legged prankster in Brazilian folklore.

The two works flow together seamlessly in this weekend’s debut production from The Universal Language Project (ULP) and Karin Stevens Dance (KSD): The Saci & The Greater Trumps. It’s the first of what the they are confident will be many more multimedia productions together.

“We talked with several other dance companies before Karin [Stevens] and I met at a Community Advisory Board meeting for Second Inversion,” says Brian Chin, Director of ULP. Stevens had likewise been looking for a new music partner for KSD. It was a match made in a conference room.

The production is unified around the general narrative arc of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, in which a soldier trades his violin to the devil in exchange for massive wealth and then learns a classic thing or two about the relationship between money and happiness. That said, Brian and Karin both felt that an update to the story was in order.

“While [Stravinsky’s] music is timeless, the story is antiquated—there’s a princess who gets traded like a goat, and the tale is viewed through a faux-Faustian lens,” Brian says. To remedy this and other outdated concepts, his colleague at Seattle Pacific University, Doug Thorpe, wrote a libretto with more relevant themes.

“It follows the same narrative line of the original, but updates it, shifts genders [to a female protagonist], and adds some new elements inspired in part by the novel of Charles Williams, The Greater Trumps,” Doug explains.

Brian was particularly keen to produce The Saci & The Greater Trumps now, as he sees many parallels between the problems facing art and artists during WWI—when Stravinsky completed The Soldier’s Tale—and now, a century later. Stravinsky was somewhat ironically inspired by the difficulties of making dramatic art in a time of financial crisis, as are many artists today.

“Once again, we’re living through a time in which artists everywhere are saying, ‘now what?’” Brian says.

He has rather artfully pulled the production together with a minimal budget and sheer resourcefulness. Good relationships with musicians and Cornish, where the performance will take place, came through and revealed considerable generosity and solidarity within the Seattle arts community.

“We put 90 percent of our funding towards creating art,” a proportion, Brian says, that larger organizations with more fundraising power are not able to achieve. “Cornish has generously opened its mainstage to us. We’re also able to pay the dancers and musicians much closer to a pro wage than we were before, thanks to sponsorship from 4Culture and the St. Paul’s Arts Commission.”

Karin and Brian plan on engaging further with the community with a “Moving Conversation” (a sort of next-level meet-and-greet) and refreshments at St. Paul’s Cathedral following the December 2 matinee performance. Karin calls it an opportunity “to commune, collaborate, and converse with our audience through movement!”


The Saci & The Greater Trumps will be performed at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center on Friday, December 1 at 8pm and Saturday, December 2 at 2:30pm. For tickets and additional information, please click here.

CONCERT PREVIEW: (re)MOVE: (re)TURN: Q&A with Karin Stevens

by Maggie Molloy

Throughout history, we have used the term “Mother Earth” to draw connections between the life-giving power of woman and the world, recognizing both as a source of life, love, and nourishment, both literally and figuratively.

And yet, throughout history we have also abused, neglected, and exploited both woman and the earth. We have inflicted countless physical, political, social, and symbolic injustices upon them, stripping them of their strength, power, and personal value again and again.

That is the premise behind Seattle-based dancer and choreographer Karin Stevens’ newest work, titled (re)MOVE: Back Toward Again the (re)TURN Facing. It is a 70-minute dance featuring music by three Seattle composers: Wayne Horvitz, Michael Owcharuk, and Nate Omdal. The work premieres this weekend with three performances at Velocity Dance Center on Capitol Hill.

All photos: Karen Mason Blair

Full of turbulent exchanges, (re)MOVE: (re)TURN pulls from thousands of years of scientific, philosophical, and spiritual writings on connections between women and the earth. Five female dancers from the Karin Stevens Dance company (KSD) weave patterns of separation and alliance, drawing connections between our bodies and the lands we inhabit.

We sat down with Stevens to talk about music, dance, women, and the rest of the world.

Second Inversion: How did (re)MOVE come about, and what was your inspiration for making contemporary composition such a prominent part of this project?

Karin Stevens Dance 2Karin Stevens: The choice to support live playing of the music with the dancing is more than a very cool experience for the viewer; it is a practice of listening, being open and in the now as a dancer, like no other time. And, there is nothing like the relationships that are built with the musicians and composers in these live music and dance projects.  

I can’t say that I was strategic in planning this evening-length dance weaved together with the three composers works, but that each part came at me and grabbed me to come into existence. I create my work through massive amounts of improvisation that I video tape. The movement guides me into form and meaning. The music by each composer came to me in different ways and spoke to me through kinetic images/ideas that emerged as I listened, about what this work was meant to be. It delight me that this work that came forward with such feminist and feminine voice reclamation is danced with the sounds by these three lovely male composers! 

SI: Can you tell me a bit more about the musical compositions in (re)MOVE?

KS: Composers Michael Owcharuk (thank you to 4 Culture for the grant for this new composition!) and Nate Omdal have written two gorgeous and unique works for KSD, that I have weaved together with a work by Wayne Horvitz to create re(MOVE). I am especially honored to work with Wayne Horvitz’s music. He is a hero to all of us. The music, These Hills of Glory (NEA American Masterpiece), is EVERYTHING I love about contemporary classical music: unique and imaginative compositional voice; disparate pairing of composed and improvised scoring (in this work); spaciousness and density of sound; daring rhythmic complexity; a diverse and unpredictable aural journey that connects with all of my senses.

SI: What inspires you most about classical music, and contemporary classical music specifically?

KS: I am a daughter of KING FM. For as far back as I can remember my Dad had it playing in the car, out in the garden, on our boat and in various rooms throughout our house. In fact, my parents live in Montana now and my dad still plays KING FM 24/7 from his home office computer! The soundtrack of my life was classical music.

I also had marvelous music experiences in graduate school at Mills College where I was introduced to even more music, especially contemporary classical music. I am extremely grateful to Second Inversion—a service of KING FM—and their effort to bring my work in dance with contemporary classical music to the public! I have long felt dance should be appreciated like great music. The abstraction, complexity, beauty, and texture should be as meaningful through movement as we have allowed it to be through sound.  

SI: In your writings, you discuss some of the specific injustices women face throughout the world, including sexual violence, female infanticide, female genital mutilation, removal from any possibilities of social and financial advancement, sexual exploitation and slavery, and much more. Can you tell me a bit about the broader feminist threads present in (re)MOVE?

KS:
This work is personal and it is feminist. It is a work for this eleventh hour time for the earth and for humanity. It is an art and practice of movement in contemplation of transcendent injustices, specifically in this work as it concerns women and the earth. 

Releasing myself from the tyranny of false beliefs, from the forces that denigrate the voice of the feminine, from the hegemony of my current cultural place, I (re)MOVE again in each (re)TURN to truly (re)BIND bones and tissues like a spiritual ligament to the essence of what really matters. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, “Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being.” These fragments of imagination here seek out what is being (re)FORMed and (re)TURNed. This movement flows toward hope through this turbulent exchange with our time and awakening. It is a movement of love.

Karin Stevens Dance 3

SI: (re)MOVE is also extremely spiritual. What were some of the spiritual and philosophical inspirations in creating this work?

KS: My readings in quantum entanglement, physics, general systems theory, and evolutionary biology have taken me into areas where the spiritual, philosophic, and the scientific interchange strengthen, rather than oppose each other. At the heart of this interchange is our movement that reconnects us with the natural world, with our self, with each other and with our evolution in this cultural time.

My personal religious experience has led me to deep questions about the absence of the feminine in the Abrahamic religions, and the egregious effect this has had on the evolution of our collective body and the earth, particularly in the West. Studies in Taoism, the Tao Te Ching, Five Elements/Movements and yin/yang theory of Chinese philosophy have given me a lovely place to explore ideas that heal the cracks in my Judeo-Christian experience.

In these spiritual philosophies I sought new movements I could repurpose toward my own becoming. I found connection: between human, heaven and earth; to the root of all the universe for which we belong; and to the “primal mother” that enthralls my curiosity and imagination.

Karin Stevens Dance FlyerSI: What are you most looking forward to with this premiere?

KS: It is a great honor to be able to raise enough money to work with live, local, and NEW music as a choreographic/movement artist. There are so many talented composers in Seattle plugging away, as I am, to make the music they are compelled to make. I feel a propulsion to get their work heard as much as I want to get my dances seen.

For more information about the project, please visit Karin Stevens’ blog series using the following links: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Performances of “(re)MOVE: (re)TURN” are this Friday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. All performances are at Velocity Dance Center on Capitol Hill in Seattle. For tickets and information, please visit this link.

New Music Concerts: April 2016 Seattle * Eastside * Tacoma

SI_button2Second 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! 

thvLYmNB

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 drop us a line at least 6 weeks prior to the event.

Program Insert - April 2016 - onesided

Racer Sessions
A weekly showcase of original music with a jam session based on the concepts in the opening presentation.
Every Sunday, 8-10pm, Cafe Racer | FREE

Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electronic/electroacoustic music, & more.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-15

Kaley Lane Eaton: ANIMAL
A psychedelic, post-minimalist kaleidoscope of Eaton’s recent work, dancing the tension lines between the body, the mind, the instrument, & the computer.
Fri, 4/1, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Second Inversion Presents: SRO Quintet
The Seattle Rock Orchestra Quintet transforms popular song into art song with Radiohead, Beck, Bjork and original emotional chamber works.
Sat, 4/9, 8pm, Resonance at SOMA Towers, Bellevue | $25

Seattle Modern Orchestra: Musica Electronica
SMO presents three electronic works from three different generations including works by Berio, Saariaho, & a world premiere by Ewa Trębacz.
Sat, 4/9, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10-$20

Cornish Presents: A Tribute to Janice Giteck
Cornish celebrates the dedicated teaching career of Janice Giteck with a concert of her music performed by long-time friends & former students.
Tues, 4/12, 8pm, PONCHO Hall | $5-$10

Seattle Symphony: Silvestrov U.S. Premiere
Guest conductor Mikhail Tatarnikov leads SSO in the U.S. premiere of Silvestrov’s Symphony No.8.
Thurs, 4/14, 7:30pm, Benaroya Hall | $21-$121
Sat, 4/16, 8pm, Benaroya Hall | $21-$121

2Cellos
This Croatian cello duo breaks down boundaries between different genres of music, equally comfortable playing Bach or rocking out to AC/DC.
Sun, 4/17, 7pm, McCaw Hall | $36.50-$56.50 (+ fees)

Cornish Presents: Friction Quartet
This San Francisco quartet has established a reputation for edgy programming and exhilarating performance of contemporary string quartets.
Thurs, 4/21, 8pm, PONCHO Hall | $10-$20

(re)MOVE: Back Toward Again the (re)TURN Facing
This evening of dance & live music (by Horvitz, Owcharuk & Omdal) ventures into personal and feminist injustices of earth and the female body.
Fri, 4/22 & Sat, 4/23, 7:30pm, Velocity Dance Center | $15-$50
Sun, 4/24, 6:30pm, Velocity Dance Center | $15-$50

Erin Jorgensen
Soundscapes from a five-octave marimba, with intimate vocals, backing electronics, and destream-of-consciousness thoughts ideal for closed eyes.
Sat, 4/23, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Philharmonia Northwest: The New World
This performance features a world premiere by David Schneider, illuminating new forms of communication between computer and orchestra.
Sun, 4/24, 2:30pm, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church | $15-$20

Music of Today: The Music of Harry Partch
This performance of music by Harry Partch features the composer’s collection of handmade instruments, currently housed at the School of Music.
Tues, 4/26, 7:30pm, Meany Theater | $10-$15

UW Guest Artist Concert: Decoda
This Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall presents fresh insights into works both new and old as a culmination of a week-long residency at UW.
Thurs, 4/28, 7:30pm, Meany Theater | $10-$20

UW World Series: Daedalus Quartet
Daedalus Quartet makes their Seattle premiere with Beethoven quartets and a commissioned work by UW School of Music composer Huck Hodge.
Fri, 4/29, 7:30pm, Meany Theater | $34-$38
uwworldseries.org

Northwest Symphony Orchestra: Johnston, Bassingthwaighte, Dvořák
Join the Northwest Symphony Orchestra for a world premiere flute concerto by Sarah Bassingthwaighte.
Sat, 4/30, 8pm, Highline Performing Arts Center, Burien | $12-$15