THE BIG SYNOPSIS OF MY HUGE SPRING PERFORMING SCHEDULE IN ONE POST!! I was so busy I didn't have time to take care of my website...
NOCCO will head across Lake Washington to perform at SOMA Tower's gorgeous new concert hall, Resonance. In the heart of downtown Bellevue, this hall was designed for intimate chamber music gatherings. There's a spiffy Sichaun restaurant, La Bu La, immediately next door, and you can enjoy a glass of wine at cabaret style seating. We'll play Handel, Milhaud and Mozart - definitely a fun night out! Tickets and details here
Seattle Modern Orchestra June 11 at 8 pm - Discrete Infinity
More fascinating music from the programming geniuses Julia Tai and Jéremy Jolley. This time we're visiting the land of spectral music. "For its season finale, Seattle Modern Orchestra will host composer and Rome Prize winner Anthony Cheung in residency for the West Coast Premiere of his 2011 piece, Discrete Infinity. The piece, borrowing its title from Noam Chomsky’s The Architecture of Language, explores the limitless possibilities of expression with a finite material such as language. Also on the program will be a classic of Spectralism, Gérard Grisey’s Periodes, and a little-known work by Canadian composer Claude Vivier titled Samarkand, in which he continues to work with melodies while exploring harmonies built on Spectralist thinking." At the Chapel Performance Space. Tickets and details here
NOCCO Season Finale! Chamber Dances June 4 at 2 pm and June 5 at 8 pm
NEW VENUE! June 4, 2 pm at Univeristy Unitarian Church; June 5, 8 pm at the Royal Room! NOCCO wraps up its second season with our dear friend and spectacular violinist Elisa Barston performing Haydn's beloved Concerto in C for violin and orchestra. Celebrated, brilliant US composer Joan Tower's scintillating Chamber Dances, originally composed for Orpheus, anchors the program, and our own NOCCO winds are featured in the glistening Dvorak Wind Serenade. Please join us for our season finale! http://nocco.org/wp/
Curating at Racer Sessions with Philippe Lavoipierre May 15!
On May 15th, my dear friend Philippe and I had the distinct honor and pleasure to curate at Racer Sessions at Cafe Racer, thanks to a lovely invitation from Table and Chairs member Neil Welch. We've been improvising together for over twenty years and it was wonderful to offer our living room music in public. Here's what I wrote for the Racer Sessions website:
"Hi Racer Sessions!
I am so honored to be curating this week. Thank you, Neil. As many of you know, I am from the world of classical music, and I started improvising as a way of healing from the abusiveness of the classical profession. This was back in the 90’s. The one person in the world who most encouraged me and also got me my very first non-classical gig at a cafe in Berkeley is my dear friend Philippe Lavoipierre. When I was trying to get out of the written-note box, Philippe would sit and play standards with me and even marvel at my note-reading chops. Which of course seemed ridiculous to me because reading notes is so easy, right?? I have always been stunned by his ability to play for hours on end in complete sentences and paragraphs. We have an ongoing conversation (in words) about music, and when we find ourselves in the same geography, we play, and there isn’t a language barrier. Philippe lives in Barcelona and is often sailing any of the seven seas but Sunday, May 15 he is in Seattle and we will play our jam at Cafe Racer. He’s from jazz, I’m from classical. He’s an electric guitarist, I’m an acoustic violist. He’s a world traveler, I’m a homebody. When we play together, it just clicks and it’s like we found our mutual home planet. As much as anything, this session is about friendship, and the way love makes our music lives work out, because there can be a lot more thin than thick.
In the responding improvisations, I simply encourage everyone to appreciate what an incredible community we have here, because Racer Sessionistas are so aware of the rare beauty of true listening."
Northwest Sinfonietta May 13 - 15 with Eric Jacobsen and Lise de la Salle
Northwest Sinfonietta played the extremely cool Ravel Piano Concerto in G with this phenomenal and very friendly pianist, Lise de la Salle. The first half was all Ravel, with his Mother Goose Suite opening. It was like being in a dream. Then we played Richard Strauss's theater piece Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, in which our concertmaster Brittany Boulding could be heard absolutely killing it.
Club Shostakovich XV: The Last Quartet and The Lost Composers
All good things must come to an end...for now. This concert was definitely the highpoint of our 4 year project exploring the 15 Shostakovich Quartets and making new friends. We'll circle back in January 2017 with our collaborative marathon with Victoria BC's Lafayette String Quartet. Mark your calendars for Jan. 9 - 14 as we make our way through the whole cycle!
(re)MOVE: Back Toward Again the (re)TURN Facing with Karin Stevens Dance and my lovelies Paris Hurley, Alex Guy, Maria Scherer Wilson and Beth Fleenor April 22 - 24 at Velocity Dance Center
In which I and four of my favorite Seattle musicians learned incredible chamber music by Wayne Horvitz (These Hills of Glory for Quartet and Improviser, featuring Beth Fleenor on clarinet), Michael Owcharuk (String Quartet No. 1) and Nate Omdal...and then the wondrous Karin Stevens choreographed a full evening of dance with her stunning ensemble of women. Love the Seattle geniuses...
She writes this:
"An evening of dance and live music ventures into personal and feminist injustices of the earth and the female body, with original compositions by Michael Owcharuk, Nate Omdal and internationally-recognized, Wayne Horvitz.
Full of turbulent exchanges, (re) MOVE: (re) TURN pulls from thousands of years of scientific, philosophical and spiritual writing on connections between women and the earth. Five female dancers weave patterns of separation and alliance, drawing connections between our bodies and the lands we inhabit. Chinese Five Element theory, mythical and mystical stories of the divine female and the current denigration of the female voice inform Stevens’ choreography. This unfolding, evening-length collaboration evokes ancient and forgotten truths as a call to action. Can a loving change be recovered?"
Seattle Composers Alliance 2nd Annual Call For Scores featuring the NOCCO String Quartet April 25 at the Chapel
My NOCCO colleagues and co-principals, Victoria Parker and Blayne Barnes, violin and Eli Weinberger, cello, performed ten premieres of winning submissions for Seattle Composers Alliance Call For Scores. There was a great variety of music from all over the globe: the First Place winner was Pippin Kenworthy, who came all the way from Australia to hear us play his Fire Dance and become our friend! Another notable piece was by Victoria BC composer Diane Berry, whose "Chasing the Raven" we liked so much we played it on our Northwest Focus live NOCCO radio show hosted by Sean McLean of Classical KING FM!
Northwest Sinfonietta with Joey Swensen playing Brahms Violin Concerto...senza conductor! April 15 - 17
This is exciting for the Northwest Sinfonietta, as we don't usually play without a conductor. We played the Brahms Violin Concerto, with Joey, who is an exquisite musician of great poetic sensibility, leading from the violin. It was a huge step forward in an adventurous direction and we look forward to his Prokofiev Violin Concerto next season. Oh, and we also played my favorite Beethoven Symphony - the fourth, which is so sunny and driving, with a simple yet devastatingly beautiful tick-tock slow movement.
Seattle Modern Orchestra - Musica Electronica - April 9 Luciano Berio, Kaija Saariaho and Ewa Trębacz
There's good old Luciano working with tape. This piece from 1959 "Différences" is for five instruments with a recording of the work itself performed by instrumentalists from the fifties all spliced and diced and degraded in fascinating ways. This is probably my favorite SMO performance to date. Love Berio. And the other electronic/instrumental works were by women! The phenomenal Kaija Saariaho from Finland and Ewa Trębacz who composed a piece for this performance at the Chapel.
Northwest Sinfonietta - Haydn's Mass in Time of War March 11 - 13 with David Lockington
I have truly been enjoying our new Artistic Partners at the Northwest Sinfonietta - but special happy feelings and gratitude go to David Lockington who has been a great supporter of me even though I only met him this year. We played a chamber concert together in the Fall: Brahms and Schumann Piano Quartets and I mentioned my opera Ishtar - he wanted to listen to it, and later ended up asking me to write a piece for next season's Art For Art's Sake concerts in March! I am so honored! Plus he diagnosed a pesky weird thing that was plaguing my bow hand and was such a gentleman about it. Truly a wonderful human. The Haydn Mass in Time of War was a moving experience for everyone who participated.
David Jaffe, Andrew Schloss, Trimpin and the Lafayette Quartet at The Chapel March 5
This was a fun one. In the line up, from left to right, that's the Lafayette Quartet: Pam Highbaugh, Joanna Hood, Sharon Stanis and Ann Elliott. Then there Andrew Schloss, percussionist extraordinaire from Seattle. Then my sister, Karen Bentley Pollick, then Steve Creswell, me and Brian Wharton. With the exception of Ann, Andrew and Brian we ALL WENT TO INDIANA UNIVERSITY!! At the same time (except for Steve, who was a few years later). We played a bunch of David Jaffe's music, the highlight of which was "The Space Between Us" for two antiphonally placed surround-sound string quartets and Radiodrum-driven Trimpin percussion played by Andrew. The robots were hard at work. And since the LSQ played Shostakovich's Fourteenth Quartet, we hatched the idea to do the Shostakovich Quartet Marathon as a collaborative endeavor. Which we will do in this very space in Jan. 2017. From the 9th to the 14th.