Of Zealotry and Choral Music: Canticles from The Crossing

by Dacia Clay

Conductor Donald Nally. Photo by Becky Oehlers.

Donald Nally and his new music choir The Crossing recently won a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for their recording of the Zealot Canticles by composer Lansing McLoskey.

It’s clear that The Crossing has tapped into something: this is their second Grammy win (their first was for The Fifth Century by Gavin Bryars). It might have something to do with the timely message McLoskey’s piece conveys about zealotry in all of its forms and about how we talk to and about each other in a time of political divisiveness.

Zealot Canticles is based on Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka’s Twelve Canticles for the Zealot, a set of poems that looks at fanaticism. In this interview, Nally talks about Soyinka’s work, why Lansing McLoskey was uniquely suited to write this piece, and about the music itself.

Audio production by Nikhil Sarma.


The Crossing’s new album Zealot Canticles is out now on Innova Recordings. Click here for more information.

Witches, Myths, and Microtones: The Music of Harry Partch

by Maggie Molloy

Over the past five years Harry Partch’s orchestra of handmade instruments has become a staple in the Seattle spring concert calendar—among experimental music lovers, at least.

Partch was one of the first 20th century composers to work extensively with microtonal scales, creating dozens of incredible instruments specifically for the performance of his works. Those instruments have been in residence at the University of Washington since 2014, where, under the direction of Charles Corey, students and community members practice and perform on them each spring.

The Chromelodeon
The Gourd Tree
The Bamboo Marimba II
Charles Corey, Director of the Harry Partch Instrumentarium
The Diamond Marimba
The Surrogate Kithara
The Spoils of War
The Chromelodeon

This year, Corey and his crew of Partch enthusiasts are playing two of Partch’s most ambitious and rarely-performed works: Daphne of the Dunes and The Bewitched. Catch both in concert this week at Meany Hall:

Daphne of the Dunes
The ancient Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo is reimagined through the primal rhythms and eerie microtones of 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

The Bewitched
Music, theatre, and ritual merge in 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 Bewitched showcases Partch’s most ambitious writing for the female voice, the piece unfolding across 12 scenes with the instruments dominating the set.
Sat, 4/13, 7:30pm, Meany Studio Theater | $10

Interested in learning more? Click here for our photo tour of the Harry Partch Instrumentarium.

Third Coast Percussion Premieres Philip Glass’s ‘Perpetulum’

by Maggie Molloy

Left to right: David Skidmore, Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, and Peter Martin.

For the past half-century Philip Glass’s music has permeated not only the classical sphere but also the broader pop music consciousness. From operas to film scores to symphonies and string quartets, he has written music for just about every occasion and instrumentation—except for the percussion ensemble.

Until now, that is. Perpetulum, Glass’s first and only piece for percussion ensemble, receives its Pacific Northwest premiere this Sunday in the hands of Third Coast Percussion. Presented as part of the Town Music series, the concert features the much-anticipated percussion premiere alongside a handful of the ensemble’s own Glass-inspired works.

In this interview, Third Coast ensemble member and Executive Director David Skidmore gives us a sneak peek behind the scenes of the creation and performance of Glass’s Perpetulum.

Audio production by Dacia Clay.
Music from Philip Glass’s Perpetulum, performed by Third Coast Percussion and recorded on Orange Mountain Music.


Third Coast Percussion performs Perpetulum this Sunday, April 7 at 6pm at Nordstrom Recital Hall. For tickets and more information, click here.

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

New Year, New Music: Your January 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 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, please submit your event to the Live Music Project at least six weeks prior to the event and tag it with “new music.”

January 2019 New Music Flyer

 

Wayward Music Series
Concerts of contemporary composition, free improvisation, electroacoustic music, and sonic experiments. This month: film scores, sonic purges, banjo improvisations, and an orchestra of driftwood.
Various days, 7:30/8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $5-$15

Gretchen Yanover: Cello Loops
Classical music meets contemporary technology in Gretchen Yanover’s performances for solo cello and loop pedal. Playing and layering her melodies live on stage, Yanover crafts instrumental atmospheres that draw from her classical training as well as her African-American and Russian Jewish heritage.
Tues, 1/8, 7pm, Slavonian Hall (Tacoma) | FREE

Seattle Symphony: ‘JANE’
Philip Glass’ buoyant score frames this stunning National Geographic documentary about Jane Goodall, a woman whose chimpanzee research challenged the male-dominated scientific consensus of her time and revolutionized our understanding of the natural world. See the film on the big screen while the Seattle Symphony performs the score live.
Tues, 1/8, 7:30pm, Benaroya Hall | $35-$85

Ahamefule J. Oluo & Scrape
Seattle trumpet legend Ahamefule J. Oluo offers a sneak peek of the score for his new film, Thin Skin (an adaptation of his experimental pop opera Now I’m Fine). Joined by the Scrape music collective, Oluo performs excerpts from this dark comedy about the meaning of family.
Thurs, 1/10, 8pm, Good Shepherd Center | $5-$20

Portland Cello Project
Equally at home in rock clubs and concert halls, Portland Cello Project is an ensemble known for pushing the boundaries of the classical cello tradition. For this string of performances, they play music from Radiohead’s OK Computer alongside classics by Coltrane and Bach.
Fri, 1/11, 7pm, Admiral Theatre (Bremerton) | $18-$56
Sat, 1/12, 7:30pm, Rialto Theater (Tacoma) | $29-$49
Sun, 1/13, 3pm, Mount Baker Theater (Bellingham) | $22-$42

Jesse Myers: Glass Half Full
You’ll want to bring a pillow and blanket to Jesse Myers’ performance of Philip Glass’ famous Piano Etudes. Instead of sitting in chairs, the pianist invites listeners to lie on the floor as they experience the music alongside immersive light projections that dance across the ceiling and walls of the performance space.
Fri, 1/11, 8pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $10-$15

Bern Herbolsheimer Musical Memorial
In honor of the late Bern Herbolsheimer’s passing three years ago on this day, Seattle musicians come together to perform a concert of the beloved local composer’s chamber works.
Sun, 1/13, 7:30pm, PONCHO Concert Hall | FREE

Opera on Tap: Park and Bark!
Nothing goes better with opera tunes than beer and tacos. Local singers perform operatic masterpieces and hidden gems alike in this casual brewery concert benefiting Emerald City Pet Rescue.
Mon, 1/14, 6pm, Lagunitas Brewing Company | $25

Seattle Modern Orchestra: Sounds of Echoes
The book-lined walls of the Seattle Athenaeum form the perfect setting for this concert of chamber works presented in the round. Poetry-inspired pieces from George Crumb and Toru Takemitsu are paired with works by Seattle composers Angelique Poteat and Tom Baker.
Fri, 1/18, 7pm, Folio | $20-$25

The Sound Ensemble: Local Wonders
From Kaley Lane Eaton’s dynamic Sacred Geometry to Carly Ann Worden’s majestic San Juan Sinfonietta, this concert is dedicated to exploring chamber works by local women composers. Also on the program are new premieres from Angelique Poteat and Sarah Bassingthwaighte.
Sat, 1/19, 7pm, Good Shepherd Chapel | $15-$20

Thalia Symphony Orchestra
A third stream concerto for electric bass, vibraphone, and orchestra is among the highlights of this concert, composed and performed by friends and childhood neighbors Dan Dean (bass) and Tom Collier (vibes). Works by Jacques Offenbach, Carl Nielsen, Rebecca Clarke, and Arturo Marquez complete the program.
Sat, 1/19, 7:30pm, St. Stephen’s Church | $18-24
Sun, 1/20, 3pm, Nordic Museum | $18-24

SCMS Winter Festival
Seattle Chamber Music Society’s annual Winter Festival features a variety of classical music performances from across the centuries, including 20th century works by Janáček, Kodály, Martinů, Hindemith, Shostakovich, and Britten.
1/18-1/27, Various times, Nordstrom Recital Hall | $20-$65

Ólafur Arnalds: All Strings Attached
The ambient sound worlds of Icelandic composer  shimmer to life in this performance featuring the pianist alongside a uniquely wired ensemble of string quintet, drums, and two Disclaviers. The concert features past, present, and brand new material from his forthcoming album.
Sat, 1/26, 8pm, The Moore Theatre | $28

Seattle Symphony: Celebrate Asia
The 11th annual Celebrate Asia concert highlights music and musicians from across the continent, with conductor Shi-Yeon Sung leading the orchestra in contemporary (and traditional) music by Korean, Thai, and Taiwanese composers. Featured soloists include soprano Kathleen Kim and pianist Seong-Jin Cho, and the concert is framed by spectacular pre- and post-concert festivities in the lobby.
Sun, 1/27, 4pm, Benaroya Hall | $31-$97

Seattle Symphony: Soundbites
Grab a drink and unwind with fellow music lovers at this casual performance featuring Seattle Symphony musicians performing wide-ranging chamber works.
Mon, 1/28, 7pm, The Collective | $10