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! 

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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

LIVE CONCERT SPOTLIGHT: April 30-May 2

by Maggie Molloy

This week’s sensational concert spotlight has sound sculptures, steelpans, suspended chimes, and oh yeah, a supernatural piano.

Inverted Space Performs Jeff Bowen

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If you like Second Inversion, you’ll love University of Washington’s Inverted Space Ensemble. The local contemporary music group is committed to turning classical music on its head by showcasing diverse new works in adventurous performance spaces and casual concert settings.

This week, you can hear them perform an eclectic collection of new works for chamber ensemble by composer Jeff Bowen. The program includes a variety of pieces featuring imaginative instrumentation, including “what will sound (has already sounded)” for violin and electronics, “Pan, Sinking” for steelpan and 10 instruments, “Stalasso II” for flute, violin, cello, and piano, “Turbulent Field” for bassoon and harp, and a String Quartet.

The performance is this Thursday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

Seattle Symphony’s [untitled 3]

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If you think playing piano is impressive, wait until you see international sound sculptor Trimpin’s latest work: a piano that can be played and conducted without even being touched. The Seattle Symphony Music Alive Composer in Residence is being featured in the final indescribable, undefinable [untitled] event of the Seattle Symphony season this weekend.

Like the other events in this casual, late-night series, [untitled 3] will feature musical works by contemporary composers who think outside of the box, off the stage, and beyond the concert hall. This weekend’s event includes the latest premiere from Trimpin, featuring the aforementioned magical piano, suspended chimes, a wandering soprano, and much more!

The event will also celebrate the 100th birthday of the late American composer George Perle by featuring performances of a selection of musical sound worlds from throughout his compositional career.

 

The performance is this Friday, May 1 at 10 p.m. in Benaroya Hall’s Samuel and Althea Stroum Grand Lobby.

Washington Composers Forum: Transport Series

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As 21st century music enthusiasts, we listen to electric guitarists nearly every day. Pop music, rock, jazz—electric guitar is everywhere. But you’ve probably never heard it like this before.

Italian-born guitarist Giacomo Fiore is a contemporary artist with an imaginative sound that reaches far beyond the idiomatic clichés of electric guitar. Currently touring in support of his recent album “iv: american electric guitars,” he is stopping through Seattle this weekend to perform a unique musical program focusing on electric guitar and effects.

The performance, which is put on by the Washington Composers Forum, will also feature Seattle’s own pianist and new music specialist Cristina Valdes performing with composer and pianist Rocco DiPietro. The two will be presenting original works by DiPietro, whose music is often inspired by community issues.

The performance is this Saturday, May 2 at 8 p.m. at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

Portland Cello Project with Rachel Grimes

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Known for its unique urban culture and diverse arts scene, Portland has no shortage of talented artists—and as it turns out, they have no shortage of talented cellists, either. But you don’t have to travel south to see it; this weekend, you can experience Portland’s rocking cello scene firsthand from the comfort of downtown Seattle.

The Portland Cello Project is a group of cellists with a reputation for mixing musical genres and blurring the lines between classical and popular music. Their wide-ranging musical repertoire has something for everyone, from the cello-loving classical music buffs to the head-nodding indie rockers. They’ll be joined by pianist Rachel Grimes of the minimalist chamber music group Rachel’s.

Performances are this Saturday, May 2 at the Triple Door at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

LIVE CONCERT SPOTLIGHT: December 4-7 (appended!)

by Maggie Molloy

This week’s music calendar has everything from Christmas classics to electroacoustic space travel!

Zero-G: Triptet + Dempster & Smith

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Triptet is an imaginative electro-infused trio whose music is out of this world—literally. The group’s electroacoustic music combines classical instruments with electronics to create a truly otherworldly sound.

Triptet is composed of Tom Baker on fretless guitar, theremin, and laptop, Michael Monhart on saxophones, laptop, and percussion, and Greg Campbell on drums, percussion, French horn and budget electronics. Their music is inspired by their shared interest in musical space travel, as well as their admiration for the prolific jazz composer, poet, and philosopher Sun Ra.

Triptet will perform this Friday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. in the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. They will be joined by clarinetist Bill Smith and trombonist Stuart Dempster for their second set.


 
The Saddest Holiday Concert Ever!

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Embrace the Christmas nostalgia head-on this weekend with a performance of the season’s saddest, sappiest, most sentimental Christmas classics.

“The Saddest Holiday Concert Ever!” features a vocalist and two 14-string lutists performing sappy classics from across the centuries. The concert features Baroque masterpieces by Handel and Merula, old-fashioned Americana tunes, new music by Seattle-based composer Aaron Grad, and contemporary classics from Judy Garland, Joni Mitchell, and Elvis Presley. And of course, no sentimental holiday concert would be complete without music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

The concert is this Sunday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Queen Anne Christian Church.

 

Portland Cello Project’s Holiday Spectacular

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Nothing says Christmas quite like a charming chorus of cellos.

This weekend the genre-bending Portland Cello Project is coming up to Seattle to share an evening of holiday classics in their “Holiday Spectacular” concert. The cellists will be joined by special guest Ural Thomas and the Pain. Thomas is a Portland-based soul singer who once shared the stage with the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown, and the Pain is his nine-piece band of young, soulful Portlanders. Seattle composer Nat Evans’ Music for Cello Ensemble with Tea Soloist will be a warm, intriguing offering on this program.

The concert is this Sunday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Benaroya Hall’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall.

 

My Brightest Diamond at the Crocodile

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Not many musicians can shine in both classical and art-rock musical settings—but Shara Worden is a sparkling star no matter what she’s playing. Her avant-garde rock music project, My Brightest Diamond, combines her operatic vocal training and classical composition studies with a theatrical performance art aesthetic.

Next weekend My Brightest Diamond is bringing some glitter and grace to Seattle with a show at the Crocodile. The show is part of a U.S. tour in support of her new album, “This is My Hand,” which was released this past September. The album combines elements of opera, cabaret, chamber music, rock, and even electronic, drawing from Worden’s many multifaceted musical endeavors over the course of her career.

The concert is next Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Crocodile at 8 p.m.

 

Ahamefule Oluo’s “Now I’m Fine” at On the Boards

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Brighten up one of those dreary Seattle nights with a trip to “Now I’m Fine,” a multidisciplinary music event combining comedy with classical music.

“Now I’m Fine” is an experimental pop opera about holding it together, starring comedian, musician, and storyteller Ahamefule Oluo. The performance draws from his personal stories about illness, sorrow, hope, and other emotions and experiences to which all of us can relate. Unlike the rest of us, though, Oluo tells these personal stories with the help of a 17-piece orchestra and a fantastic cast of performers.

The stories range from tragic to triumphant, travelling through the happy, the sad, and even the awkward. The result is a theatrical production filled with laughter, life lessons, and a lot of beautiful music.

The show runs Dec. 4-7 at On the Boards’ Merrill Wright Mainstage Theater. Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

 

The Esoterics’ Irving Fine Centennial

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Prepare to fall down the rabbit hole next weekend when the Esoterics bring to life poetry from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

The Seattle-based vocal ensemble is performing neoclassical composer Irving Fine’s musical settings of six poems from “Alice in Wonderland” as part of a larger performance commemorating his 100th birthday. But that’s not all—they will also perform essentially all of Fine’s other choral works, including his poignant “Hour Glass,” his witty and virtuosic “Choral New Yorker,” his musical setting of the Yiddish poem “An Old Song,” and much more.

The performances are Friday, Dec. 5 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6 at All Pilgrims Christian Church at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church at 3 p.m.

 

FREE Summer Concerts in Seattle

by Maggie Stapleton

Most Seattleites will agree that our mild, beautiful summers completely make up for the cool, grey, drizzle that we deal with for ¾ of the year. Downtown Seattle is completely in touch with this, offering “Out to Lunch,” FREE outdoor lunchtime (12-1:30pm) concerts July 9-September 5.  The concerts take place at parks all around town (e.g. Freeway Park, pictured below) and are a great excuse to brown bag it, soak up some vitamin D, and hear great tunes. Image Second Inversion recommends:

Wednesday, July 9: March Fourth Marching Band @ Westlake Park

Thursday, July 10: Industrial Revolution @ City Hall Plaza

Friday, July 18: Portland Cello Project @ Occidental Square 

Wednesday, July 23: Tubaluba  @ Wells Fargo Center 

Wednesday, August 13: Kris Orlowski @ Two Union Square 

Friday, August 29: Jovino Santos Neto @ Columbia Center

Friday, September 5: Hey Marseilles @ Freeway Park

Check out the complete lineup and use these as a great excuse to get away from your desk during the lunch hour!