NUMUS Northwest: Saturday, January 28, 2017

We hope to see you at NUMUS Northwest this Saturday, January 28 at Cornish College of the Arts! We shared the full schedule last month and lately the NUMUS Northwest team has been giving you some close-ups and fun facts about the performers and presenters on social media. We’ll recap those below, but first, a few quick and friendly reminders:

When/Where: Saturday, January 28 from 9am-10pm at Cornish College of the Arts (Kerry Hall).

What to expect: Complimentary bagels, coffee, speed dating, workshops, performances, community building, and more throughout the day!

Admission: Students are admitted for free and general registration is $20 in advance and at the door. Please note: CASH ONLY at the door. There is an ATM nearby, if needed.

Meet NUMUS Northwest artist Paul Taub, who will be performing Pēteris Vasks’s Sonata for Solo Flute (Night/Flight/Night) on our evening concert! — Link in bio!

A photo posted by NUMUS Northwest (@numusnw) on

Meet NUMUS Northwest artist @legoldston who will offer an afternoon workshop titled “Defying Boundaries.” Workshop details: “A look at past and present examples of practices that aim at leveraging experimental, improvised and/or composed musics as tools for community-building, social and political subversion and awareness, and collective psychic nourishment. Source materials include live and recorded music, text, and traditional and graphic musical scores.” #seattle #seattlemusic #newmusic #cello

A photo posted by NUMUS Northwest (@numusnw) on

Meet NUMUS Northwest artist Aaron Grad, who will offer a workshop titled “What’s Your Story? Strategies for Publicizing a New Music Event” on Saturday, Jan. 28th! Workshop details: “This workshop explores how to publicize an event by emphasizing a compelling message or story. We will focus on two key skills: identifying a resonant message, and capturing it in a memorable summary. A mix of group discussion and hands-on practice will be led by Aaron Grad, a composer and consultant who writes program notes and marketing materials for the Seattle Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New World Symphony, Town Hall Seattle, and other purveyors of new and old music.” #seattlemusic #seattle #newmusic #publicity #workshop #cornishcollege #pnw

A photo posted by NUMUS Northwest (@numusnw) on

Meet NUMUS Northwest artists Jessi Harvey & Lena Console, who will offer a noon workshop titled “9 Things to Facilitate Collaborative Composition” on this coming Sat. Jan. 28th! Workshop details: “Learn more about facilitating a collaborative composition project for groups ranging in size, age, and background using strategies and expectations developed by a duo who has experienced the gamut. Realizing a final composition that represents a collective of diverse members can be daunting; amass your skills under categories including, ‘You are not the most important voice: Letting go of the composer ego,’ ‘Do the (not so) obvious,’ and ‘Reflect, reflect, reflect.’ As a final culmination, attendees will create their own miniature group composition using their newly found tools. Tiny instruments will be provided.” 📷: Sonja Harris #seattlemusic #workshop #cornishcollege #seattle #festival #tinyinstruments #pnw #numus17

A photo posted by NUMUS Northwest (@numusnw) on

Meet NUMUS Northwest artists @jolleyjt & @rosebellini who will offer a 4pm workshop titled "Fundraising & Cultivating the Medicis of Today" on this coming Sat. Jan. 28th! Workshop details: "The relationship between musicians and patrons of the arts has always been a reality of the artist’s life, yet not included or discussed in the music schools of today. Composer and co-Artistic Director of Seattle Modern Orchestra Jeremy Jolley, and cellist and professional fundraiser Rose Bellini will try to demystify the relationship between the creation of the art and the funding of it. After the presentation, Jolley and Bellini will answer questions and guide a conversation around the topic." #fundraising #cornishcollegeofthearts #seattlemusic #seattle #pnw #fundraise #numus17

A photo posted by NUMUS Northwest (@numusnw) on

See you there!

NUMUS Northwest: 2017 Schedule Announced


NUMUS Northwest, a day-long event dedicated to the creation, performance, and experience of new music in Seattle, has announced their full schedule of sure-to-be inspiring performances, panels, talks, and community building! 

9:00-10:00 Registration

10:00-10:15 Welcome

10:30-11:30 Speed dating

12:00-1:00 Workshops

1:00-2:30 Lunch break

2:30-3:30 Concert: Cole, Cerrone, Cage

4:00-5:00 Workshops, talks, & demos

5:00-6:00 Happy hour

6:00-7:30 Dinner break

8:00-10:00 Concert: Oliveros, Vasks, Arteaga, Nono, Bassingthwaighte, Hagen

Tickets are on sale here! $20 general admissions and students are free with ID at the door.

More about NUMUS Northwest

Where: Cornish College of the Arts, Kerry Hall

When: Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 9am-10pm

Who: You! Students. Friends. Colleagues. Musicians. Artists. Creators. People who don’t know they like this kind of music (yet!)


  • Kerry O’Brien (Nief-Norf)
  • Jim Holt (Seattle Symphony)
  • Kevin Clark (New Music USA)
  • Shaya Lyon (Live Music Project)
  • James Falzone (Cornish College of the Arts)
  • Maggie Stapleton (Second Inversion/Classical KING FM)

Why: Inspired by the New Music Gathering, the leadership team (many of whom have attended at least one NMG) has a strong desire to recreate the community-building, collaborative-natured, and artistically-stunning event with a focus on musicians and artists in the Northwest.

Want to receive updates about NUMUS Northwest? Subscribe here

NEW VIDEO: Skyros Quartet performs Peteris Vasks

by Maggie Stapleton

If you missed our showcase at Northwest Folklife in May, or hey, even if you were there, we have a little throwback treat to one of our favorite moments, filmed a few weeks later at Resonance at SOMA Towers: Skyros Quartet‘s rendition of Peteris Vasks’ String Quartet No.3: II. Allegro energico. We love this video and hope that you do too!

Be sure to check out our other videos, shot in our studios and in fun venues around Seattle, too!

Shifting Gears

by Joshua Roman

Follow Joshua on Facebook, Twitter, and see his schedule at


Dear Reader:

Is it really May, already? It’s such a cliché, but I really do feel sometimes that the calendar must be lying. April was a more typical month for me, with multiple concertos and recitals. Mostly traditional repertoire: Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, Haydn’s C Major Cello Concerto, Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations, Bach Suites… there were a few newer pieces mixed in as well, including my own “Riding Light”. In fact, that particular performance was one of the few in my life where my Cstring has had the audacity to snap during a juicy moment. Audiences seem to love that, although for me it’s just a pain to have to go grab another one and retune, then decide where to start again.

Along with all of that, April is also of course tax season, and every self-employed Musician knows just how long that can take. So between all of these things, plus other random tasks, I did not get as much done on my upcoming cello concerto as I’d like. Luckily, this month is dedicated to producing notes on paper!

One thing that I’ve always been curious about: where do ideas come from? I know much has been written on the subject, both in the form of studies and also from the notes and journals of creative types. Among my composer friends, the variety of work habits is astonishing. Some are night owls and do the bulk of their creative work after the sun goes down. Others do it first thing in the morning. And this is not always where the genesis of an idea occurs! I’ve been encouraged to carry a notebook around with me everywhere, and this has been immensely helpful, as many times ideas will strike at the most inopportune moment. Often, for me this happens on airplanes, or on the elliptical machine (I hate that thing. My excuse: knee injury). Sometimes, it’s a response to something I hear in a concert, or on the radio. Usually, I’ll hear a composer do something structurally, or turn a phrase or color on its head in an interesting way, and wonder to myself: “would I do that? Or would I do the opposite? Or something in between?”

Which brings me to an exercise I want to share with all of you musicians out there. Perhaps you’ve tried this in the past, but it’s something I don’t think it hurts to revisit. As you’re practicing whatever piece it is you’re playing, take one of the more obviously interesting (okay, that’s subjective, but that’s kind of the point so just go with your gut) passages and play through it a few times. As you do, try to pinpoint what the underlying idea is, what led the composer to the notes they chose. Is there an increase in tension? Is there a moment where something breaks away? Anything will do for these purposes. Then, forget for a moment that the piece was written by someone else. Take the idea, and begin with the same note the composer does, but modify the phrase as if you are composing it yourself. Try different notes and rhythms, dynamics and accents, colors, everything. What would it sound like if YOU had written the notes to achieve the emotional/structural impact the composer did?

This can take a while, especially if you’ve not improvised before. Be patient. Explore, and don’t judge what you’re doing. Just observe! Notice how many options you come up with, and what makes them different from what the composer did. Perhaps some of them may even be equally effective in their own way! In the end, you’ll see a little bit of what distinguishes this composer’s voice from your own, and others. Bonus points: change the phrase to create the same effect in the voice of other composers. Even more bonus points: see if you can keep as much the same as possible, but achieve the opposite emotional impact.

So what’s the point? Interpretation. Interpretation depends on our relationship to a composer, and our understanding of their voice. It helps to have insight into what having a voice means in the first place, and that comes very strongly through improvisation, composition, and other means of creative exploration. This is something I’ve been playing with a lot. There’s much more to try, and to share, but for now I’ll leave you with that bit of nerdy fun and open up the score to my own piece, which is calling out for attention from the top of my keyboard. Had a few good ideas during my workout today, now it’s time to see whether they pan out.

Music On Rotation

Bela Bartok: Divertimento for Strings (buy)
Peteris Vasks: Vox Amoris (buy)
Amon Tobin: Foley Room (buy)