by Maggie Molloy
From percussion concertos to Kaki King, this week is packed with exciting contemporary music performances!
Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s Season Opener Featuring Evelyn Glennie
This concert is now SOLD OUT, but worth highlighting nonetheless!
Evelyn Glennie is not your average percussionist. The triple-Grammy winning musician was the first person in musical history to create and maintain a career as a solo percussionist, all while being profoundly deaf.
This Saturday, she will perform the world premiere of Sean O’Boyle’s new percussion concerto, “Portraits of Immortal Love,” with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. The piece, which is inspired by the 100-year anniversary of World War I, features percussion instruments ranging from waterphones to hand bells to singing bowls and shell wind chimes. The percussive instruments are meant to illustrate the aching beauty and desperate hope of long-distance love in a time when written word was the only means of communication.
In keeping with the organic, colorful rhythmic quality of percussion instruments, the Symphony will also perform Ravel’s “Bolero,” Debussy’s “Nocturnes,” and Respighi’s “Pines of Rome.” The performance also doubles as the inaugural concert welcoming Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s new Music Director, Sarah Ioannides.
The performance will take place at the Pantages Theatre in Tacoma this Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Cornish’s Contemporary Piano Series Featuring Jonathan Powell
Jonathan Powell is bringing some contemporary colors to the classical piano keyboard next Tuesday. As part of Cornish College of the Arts’ Contemporary Piano series, Powell will be performing a program rich in color with Romantic and lesser-known contemporary works by early 20th century composers.
The program includes solo piano works composed by Nikolai Medtner, Alexander Scriabin, Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, and Karol Szymanowski. The pieces showcase Powell’s musical talents as an international touring soloist with a wide range of colorful repertoire and a specialty in late-Romantic music. In particular, Powell is often associated with Sorabji, a prolific piano composer who’s demanding piano compositions Powell has performed and premiered at several concerts internationally.
The Contemporary Piano performance will take place at Cornish’s PONCHO Hall next Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m.
Kaki King and ETHEL String Quartet
The inimitable, uncategorizable Kaki King is joining forces with ETHEL, an experimental New York based string quartet, to create an evening of truly imaginative, totally indescribable music.
King is a guitarist and composer with an impressively diverse musical career. Aside from releasing six incredibly distinct LP records over the course of 10 years, she has also toured extensively and contributed to a variety of film and TV soundtracks. Though she’s impossible to pin down, King is known for her percussive, often jazzy melodies and her use of multiple tunings on acoustic and lap steel guitars.
ETHEL shares a similar interest in pushing musical boundaries. Unlike your typical string quartets, ETHEL plays with amplification and regularly incorporates improvisation into their performances. The group frequently performs original works as well as works by contemporary composers.
Kaki King and ETHEL will perform at the Edmonds Center for the Arts next Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m.