After a few years working in the arts, I’ve stopped thinking in terms of the calendar year. To me, the year begins in September and ends in May, rising and falling in tandem with the concert seasons I follow closely. The months in between are for projects, parties, and pontificating. Even though my life is about to change big time, I think September will always feel like a new beginning to me.
While the holidays (aka the summer months) are in full swing and we edge ever closer to New Year’s Eve (Labor Day weekend), I thought I’d do a year in review of sorts.
If there’s one word I can apply to the last year of my life, it’s “busy.” In the 2014-15 concert season, I juggled one and a half jobs, three ensembles within Seattle Pro Musica, service on a board, and lots of time with friends. I have a lot to show for my hard work, including a wide variety of writing, graphics, and fully realized ideas.
A THINK PIECE
Morlot, Mix-A-Lot, and music’s future
I shared my thoughts on Sir Mix-A-Lot’s controversial joint concert with the Seattle Symphony.
Backstage at PNB’s last Stowell/Sendak ‘Nutcracker’
I took my phone and two cameras with me backstage during a matinee performance of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker. This was a special Christmas at PNB, as the company announced this would be its last year staging the ballet with the unique Kent Stowell choreography and Maurice Sendak sets.
At SIFF 2015, follow the music
Each spring, the Seattle International Film Festival sorts its films by genre. Quite a few delve into the topic of classical music. I did a roundup of movies about, or featuring, classical music for KING FM.
13 Seattle concerts you should attend at least once
For about a year now, I’ve been attending monthly NPR Analytics meetings. I’ve used these to check in on the digital state of NPR affiliate stations, but I also use them for creative inspiration. In a round-up of some of June’s most popular NPR stories, the meeting panelists mentioned the popularity of the classic “bucket list” article. I thought, hey, I can do that for KING FM! And so I did.
5 Facts about Jean Sibelius
The Seattle Symphony celebrated Sibelius’ 150th anniversary with a month of his music, then we did a marathon broadcast of all those concerts. I thought I’d get to know the composer a little better.
31 Facts about Mozart
Every January, KING FM creates a 31 Days of Mozart Channel, where we play nonstop Mozart for an entire month. I wrote this listicle to promote the channel.
SOME ALBUM REVIEWS
Nordic Affect: Clockworking
Last week, I listened to some blissful Icelandic music that lands somewhere between Sigur Rós and avant garde.
Gabriel Kahane: The Ambassador
While I interned at Palo Alto Weekly in 2008, I was lucky enough to chat with pianist Jeffrey Kahane while he was in town for the Music@Menlo Festival. Seven years later, I reviewed this album by his genre-defying singer-songwriter son, and along the way I got a fascinating glimpse into the history of Los Angeles.
Maya Beiser: Uncovered
An edgy cellist with East-meets-West roots deconstructed her favorite classic rock songs on this album. In researching and reading the liner notes, I think I learned more about classic rock than I did about the cello.
Julia Wolfe: Steel Hammer
One of New York City’s top composers generated a lot of buzz with a modern requiem for John Henry, the fictional steel driver who became an American folk hero. I loved the beautiful vocals by Trio Mediæval.
A Far Cry: Dreams & Prayers
This was a small, young orchestra’s feverish attempt at conveying the spiritual meaning of performing together.
The Knights: the ground beneath our feet
This Brooklyn-based chamber ensemble’s lighter-than-air exploration of the concerto grosso form spanned centuries of music, from Bach to the present day.
Missy Mazzoli: Vespers for a New Dark Age
My favorite feminist composer turned a religious rite, the vesper service, into a secular art form more fitting for the 21st century.
A Talk with Anonymous 4
My 13-year-old self, newly obsessed with choral music, squealed the whole time.
Eight questions for the King’s Singers
Derek Bermel’s Death with Interruptions
I previewed a world premiere set to kick off the Seattle Chamber Music Festival.