by Maggie Molloy

This week’s concert calendar expands beyond music and into poetry, mythology, philosophy, and more!


Friction Quartet and Christian Pincock

Only a small fraction of classical musicians play with the ferocity and force of the San Francisco-based Friction Quartet. The group is committed to expanding the string quartet repertoire and audience for adventurous new music through collaborations with composers and artists of all disciplines.

This weekend, you can see them perform a works by local Seattle composers, including world premiere performances of Roger Briggs’ “Friction,” Tom Baker’s“Invisible Cities,” Nathan Campbell’s “Treescape” and a new work by John Teske.  The program also features John Adams’ dynamic and dramatic String Quartet No. 1.

Trombonist and composer Christian Pincock will open the performance, combining digital music and a DIY aesthetic to present solo works scored for trombone and computer—all while using homemade controllers and software for live control of sound processing.

The performance is this Friday, June 5 at 8 p.m. at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

Kate Soper and Seattle Modern Orchestra Present “Sound Me Out”

SOPER-photo-by-Richard-BurbridgeThe story of Orpheus and Eurydice is an ancient Greek legend—Orpheus, with a voice so beautiful he could charm all living things, descends into Hades in a fruitless attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back to life. And while the myth has been recreated again and again in opera and music for centuries, this weekend you have the chance to experience a not-so-classical setting of this classic tale.

For its season finale, Seattle Modern Orchestra is presenting two works for soprano and ensemble by American composer and vocalist Kate Soper, including a world premiere of a new ensemble version of her piece “now is forever: I. Orpheus and Eurydice.” Through a combination of music, drama, rhetoric, and fearless expressivity, the piece explores a discrete moment in the story when Orpheus and Eurydice first meet.

Soper and Seattle Modern Orchestra will also perform the Seattle premiere of her passionate and poignant piece “Door” for soprano, flute, saxophone, electric guitar, and accordion. The program also features two more Seattle premieres: Italian composer Fausto Romitelli’s philosophical “Blood on the floor, Painting 1986” and Georg Friedrich Haas’s virtuosic “Monodie” for 18 instruments.

The performance is this Saturday, June 6 at 8 p.m. at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. A pre-concert presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m.

EKSTASIA: Pursuing Ecstasy and the Search for the Divine


“In Heaven a spirit doth dwell, whose heart-strings are a lute” wrote Edgar Allan Poe in an 1831 poem. That spirit is Israfel, the Muslim archangel of song. But you don’t have to leave Seattle to hear his heavenly music—next weekend the Esoterics are uniting with Skyros String Quartet to present vivid choral settings of “Israfel” and other divine poems.

The Esoterics and Skyros will be performing composer Tarik O’Regan’s “The Ecstasies Above,” an unearthly setting of Poe’s “Israfel” filled with daring modal harmonies and driving rhythms. They will also present Charlie Leftridge’s poignant “Of Seasons I Have Sung.” The a cappella portion of the program includes Aaron Jay Kernis’ ethereal “Ecstatic Meditations” and Eric Banks’ evocative “I am Among Them.”

Performances are Friday, June 5 at 8 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Seattle, Saturday, June 6 at 2 p.m. at First Christian Church in Portland, and Sunday, June 7 at 3 p.m. at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in West Seattle.


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


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!


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


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


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

Ahamefule-5329 by Kelly O_smaller_1

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


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.



by Maggie Stapleton

Seattle composer Tom Baker (not to be confused with any other reputable Tom Bakers out there) is a crucial contributor to the new music scene in Seattle.  He is the artistic director of the Seattle Composers’ Salon, the co-founder of the Seattle EXperimental Opera (SEXO), an instructor of Composition and Electronic Music at Cornish College of the Arts, and a performer alongside with many bands and ensembles, including the Tom Baker Quartet, Triptet, and Jesse Canterbury’s Vertigo.

Tom Baker

He is also the founder of Present Sounds, a record label which celebrates new music by primarily Seattle-based composers and performers.  You’ll certainly hear some of these tracks on our stream!

Tom stopped by the KING FM/Second Inversion studios recently to talk about some of his favorite tracks from a couple of these discs.

Stay tuned for more music and insights on our SoundCloud page from Tom!  You can catch him live on May 2 at the Seattle Composers’ Salon, along with Seattle Composers William O. Smith, John Teske, and Keith Eisenbrey at 8pm at the Good Shepherd Center Chapel!