Category Archives: Blog

Community announcements: December 2017

Welcome to our monthly digest of Seattle-area music admin job openings, auditions, calls for scores, competitions, grant deadlines, new programs, performer-composer happy hours, and more.

Submissions

Send us your news! We invite you to submit announcements for inclusion in this list by the 25th of each month.

Announcements – December 2017

  • Town Hall Seattle is seeking a Town Hall Resident to help co-curate events.
  • KEXP is hiring an executive assistant and show producer / project manager for the Afternoon Show.
  • The Pacific Northwest Ballet is hiring a school accompanist, corporate relations manager, operations assistant, and more.
  • Breath of Aire, an all-volunteer choir, is looking for tenors.
  • Seattle Festival Orchestra is holding auditions for all strings (especially cello and bass) and oboe.
  • KING FM is hiring a major gifts officer, an account executive, and a senior account executive.
  • The Seattle Times is seeking a full-time staff music writer who can provide outstanding coverage of the Pacific Northwest popular music scene.

Notable deadlines

Media calendar deadlines

  • Seattle Magazine – submit events 3 months ahead for the print calendar
  • City Arts – submit 6 weeks ahead for the online/print calendar (and/or send releases to editorial@cityartsmagazine.com)
  • Seattle Times – submit 14 days ahead for consideration in the curated classical listings (online & print)
  • The Stranger – submit any time to the online “Things to Do” calendar; for the quarterly Seattle Art & Performancesubmit at least 5 weeks before the start of the quarter in which the event will take place
  • Seattle Met – submit 2-4 weeks ahead of event for the online calendar
  • Live Music Project – submit 1 week prior to performance date; deadline for weekend email listings is Mondays @ 5pm

 

To receive community announcements by email, subscribe to our newsletter.

We invite you to submit announcements/deadlines for inclusion in this newsletter by the 25th of each month. You can do that here.

Past issues are located in the archive.

LMP On the Road: Giving Tuesday

LMP executive director Shaya Lyon checks in with the cellos during an interview with Nathan Whittaker at his studio in West Seattle. (Photo: Bronson Foster)
LMP executive director Shaya Lyon checks in with the cellos during an interview with Nathan Whittaker at his studio in West Seattle. (Photo: Bronson Foster)

November 28, 2017 was Giving Tuesday – a global day of giving that was created to inspire people to collaborate to improve their local communities and give back in impactful ways to the causes they support.

Our Seattle arts community is incredible, and on Tuesday, we brought it a little closer to your doorstep – or your magical viewing device – as we visited a few of the many passionate, inspiring, and fun artists across Seattle.

That’s right. It’s the 2017 edition of LMP On The Road!

Continuing our tradition of showcasing local arts organizations on #GivingTuesday, we went behind the scenes to interview – live on Facebook – as many members of our Seattle classical community as we can fit in a calendar day. We heard from…

• The four delightful members of the Skyros Quartet, a professional teaching artist string quartet dedicated to inspiring communication through performing, educating, and composing:

• UW Modern Ensemble, as they prepared for their Dec. 5 concert, including Philip Glass’ Music in Similar Motion:

• UW Percussion Ensemble, who were rehearsing a theatrical version of John Cage’s recently-discovered radio play The City Wears a Slouch Hat, which will be paired at their concert on Dec. 1 with new works by University of Washington composition students:

• Lily Shababi, a third-year student currently studying composition and performance at Cornish College of the Arts:

Soprano Linda Tsatsanis, cellist Nathan Whittaker, and clarinetist Thomas Carroll, including an introduction to a very oddly-bent instrument that will be heard in concert on Dec. 2 & 3:

• The West Seattle Community Orchestras, an all-ages organization where students – who play for free – have started in beginning ensembles and worked their way up to the symphony. They’re rehearsing for their Dec. 5 concert:

The Esoterics, as they prepared “non-Christmas music sung in heavenly manner” for concerts on Dec. 1, 2 & 3. You’ll hear snippets of Paul John Rudoi’s Spheres of Influence, Andrea Clearfield’s Khandroma (in Tibetan), and “At Castle Wood” (text by Emily Brontë) from the song cycle To touch the sky, by Kevin Puts:

Michael Praetorius – wait, MICHAEL PRAETORIUS!!?!?!?? Well, ok, it was Seattle Pro Musica – singing one of his dazzling Medieval carols in rehearsal for their Winter Rose concerts on Dec. 9:

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know these artists, as we have.

Finally, #GivingTuesday is so much more than one day in November. Year-round, our programs connect people with live classical music in a way that strengthens community, celebrates listener agency, and amplifies local arts resources. We hope you’ll support our efforts to maximize the reach of these artists and their beautiful, important work.

Community announcements: November 2017

Welcome to our monthly digest of Seattle-area music admin job openings, auditions, calls for scores, competitions, grant deadlines, new programs, performer-composer happy hours, and more.

Submissions

Send us your news! We invite you to submit announcements for inclusion in this list by the 25th of each month.

Announcements – November 2017

  • Music of Remembrance is now taking applications for a full-time administrative specialist
  • The Pacific Northwest Ballet is hiring an administrative assistant, a school accompanist, and certified pilates instructors.
  • Seattle Music Partners seeks volunteer instrumental music instructors for youth program.
  • Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center is looking for volunteers with a passion for the performing arts to support hundreds of performances year-round. Interested? Email ushering@cornish.edu.
  • The Northwest Boychoir – recognized as one of the nation’s premier children’s choral programs – is holding auditions.
  • Breath of Aire is a Pacific Northwest (all volunteer) choir looking for tenors.
  • Seattle Festival Orchestra is holding auditions for all strings, especially violin & bass.
  • KING FM is hiring a major gifts officer and a senior account executive.
  • Town Hall Seattle is seeking a part-time digital media assistant to film and live-stream programs and to assist in updating web-based media content.
  • The Seattle Times is seeking a full-time staff music writer who can provide outstanding coverage of the Pacific Northwest popular music scene.

Notable deadlines

Media calendar deadlines

  • Seattle Magazine – submit events 3 months ahead for the print calendar
  • City Arts – submit 6 weeks ahead for the online/print calendar (and/or send releases to editorial@cityartsmagazine.com)
  • Seattle Times – submit 14 days ahead for consideration in the curated classical listings (online & print)
  • The Stranger – submit any time to the online “Things to Do” calendar; for the quarterly Seattle Art & Performancesubmit at least 5 weeks before the start of the quarter in which the event will take place
  • Seattle Met – submit 2-4 weeks ahead of event for the online calendar
  • Live Music Project – submit 1 week prior to performance date; deadline for weekend email listings is Mondays @ 5pm

To receive community announcements by email, subscribe to our newsletter.

We invite you to submit announcements/deadlines for inclusion in this newsletter by the 25th of each month. You can do that here.

Past issues are located in the archive.

From Bohemia to Benaroya in Six Generations: A World Premiere

Sammamish Symphony Orchestra: Requiem Æternam
Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Benaroya Hall, Seattle

“Imagine being on a roller coaster. You know how it gets scary, and then more scary, and then even more scary, until finally you’re screaming downhill in terror? That’s how this part goes – give me a little emotion, then a little more; let the crescendo build up and build up before you go off the cliff.”

That was Adam Stern, conductor and music director for the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra, addressing the chorus during a Saturday morning rehearsal. At times, Adam would halt play and walk to the back of the auditorium to talk to the chorus, giving them little visual cues about what he wanted.

After rehearsal, Adam and I found a place to sit down. He was electric!

“I don’t get the opportunity to work with a chorus very often,” Adam says. “Many orchestra players just want to be told to play a part long/short or loud/soft. When you’re working with a chorus and working with texts, using imagery to get musical results out of them is absolutely the way to go!”

Adam Stern conducts the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra.
Adam Stern conducts the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra. (Photo: Brent Ethington)

When the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra joins the Cantaré Vocal Ensemble and The Liberty Singers at Benaroya Hall this weekend, the program will consist of three works:

Alois Bohuslav Storch – Requiem in D major
Gabriel Fauré – Requiem in D minor, Op. 48
Handel – Viola Concerto in B minor, featuring Aloysia Friedmann on viola

This is the world premiere of Alois Bohuslav Storch’s Requiem, a show nearly two hundred years in the making. An 1820s Bohemian pharmacist, Storch composed music in obscurity, writing in the Classical era with hints of the Romantic era to come; his work provides the centerpiece for the evening.

The great-great granddaughter of Alois Storch, Laila Storch, faculty emeritus at the University of Washington, had possession of Storch’s original, hand-written music for years. Eventually, Adam was enlisted to re-copy the material into contemporary notation and format. The addition of violist Aloysia Friedmann, daughter of Laila Storch, as the soloist for the Handel viola concerto makes this concert a 6-generation story. (More about the Requiem’s fascinating history can be found at The Seattle Times and the UW School of Music.)

The two Requiem pieces played next to each other give the audience a chance to observe the completely different scorings of the ancient text. Storch is angry. His musical interpretations of death are intense and powerful, with big, building crescendos. This music is full of life, fighting for, demanding, those last, precious breaths. His work reminded me of the Dylan Thomas poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night (Old age should burn and rave at close of day / Rage, rage, at the dying of the light). The Fauré piece is beautiful and somber, but he’s at the acceptance stage. His interpretation of the Requiem is comparatively relaxed. (Recall the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.)

Adam programs from the heart, but not without the audience in mind. He is very curious about the audience’s take, and makes a point of going out into the hall to greet people as they are leaving. They sometimes have words of wisdom, or share what they liked – or didn’t like.

“I hope the audience will revel in the familiar – I’m sure many of the audience will know the Fauré piece – and then be excited enough by what is unfamiliar to them to pursue it a little bit,” Adam told me. “I always hope that the unfamiliar will not be a flash in the pan, that something will take root in enough of the audience to justify my faith in the material.”

Sammamish Symphony Orchestra will perform Requiem Æternam on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. They will be joined by Cantaré Vocal Ensemble and Liberty Singers. Details here.

 

GreatWall_GreatKent_BWxKent Karnofski has been a Seattleite most of his adult life. By day he is a research engineer at a local manufacturing firm, by night he is an extraordinary audiophile. In addition to his work with the Live Music Project, he is the curator and primary contributor at CommunityNoise.blog.

Community announcements: October 2017

Welcome to our monthly digest of Seattle-area music admin job openings, auditions, calls for scores, competitions, grant deadlines, new programs, performer-composer happy hours, and more.

Submissions

Send us your news! We invite you to submit announcements for inclusion in this list by the 25th of each month.

Announcements

  • Bellevue Chamber Chorus seeks an executive director.
  • The Pacific Northwest Ballet is hiring an administrative assistant, a school accompanist, and certified pilates instructors.
  • Skagit Symphony is hiring a new music director.
  • The Lake Washington Symphony Orchestra is seeking an administrative assistant to help with marketing, grants and development.
  • Seattle Music Partners seeks volunteer instrumental music instructors for youth program.
  • Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center is looking for volunteers with a passion for the performing arts to support hundreds of performances year-round. Interested? Email ushering@cornish.edu.
  • Vox16, a Seattle-based chamber choir that performs a cappella vocal music, is looking for new compositions to include in their Spring concert featuring local composers and a possible CD recording project.
  • Academy Chamber Orchestra is holding auditions for violins, horns, bassoon.
  • The Northwest Boychoir – recognized as one of the nation’s premier children’s choral programs – is holding auditions.
  • Breath of Aire is a Pacific Northwest (all volunteer) choir looking for tenors.
  • Seattle Festival Orchestra is seeking section percussion, section & principal string & tuba positions.
  • The Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra has openings for the concertmaster (paid position), principal percussion, and string positions.
  • KING FM is hiring a major gifts officer and account executive.
  • Town Hall Seattle is seeking a part-time digital media assistant to film and livestream programs and to assist in updating web-based media content.
  • The Seattle Times is seeking a full-time staff music writer who can provide outstanding coverage of the Pacific Northwest popular music scene.

Notable deadlines

Media calendar deadlines

  • Seattle Magazine – submit events 3 months ahead for the print calendar
  • City Arts – submit 6 weeks ahead for the online/print calendar (and/or send releases to editorial@cityartsmagazine.com)
  • Seattle Times – submit 14 days ahead for consideration in the curated classical listings (online & print)
  • The Stranger submit any time to the online “Things to Do” calendar; for the quarterly Seattle Art & Performance, submit at least 5 weeks before the start of the quarter in which the event will take place
  • Seattle Met – submit 2-4 weeks ahead of event for the online calendar
  • Live Music Project – submit 1 week prior to performance date; deadline for weekend email listings is Mondays @ 5pm

To receive community announcements by email, subscribe to our newsletter.

We invite you to submit announcements/deadlines for inclusion in this newsletter by the 25th of each month. You can do that here.

Past issues are located in the archive.

Curiosity Visits the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute

“I am a mathematician and an engineer,” I explain. “I don’t know anything about conducting an orchestra. Uhm, so, what does a conductor do?”

Most of the time – not always, but generally – I can admit that I don’t know something, and proceed to ask the most basic of questions. If you admit you don’t know, you’re allowed.

“As a conductor, basically, your hands are a metronome,” says Anna Edwards, founder and music director of the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute, which took place last month on Whidbey Island. “The better you become at conducting, the more you emote musicality through your body. There are certain characteristics or emotions that an orchestra is trying to bring out of the music, and the conductor is the person to help with that. They convey the character of the music in a meaningful way to the musicians.”

This is the first year for the institute, which welcomed 14 students of varying experience – “fellows” and “associates” – from across the country.

I dropped by for a day of observation as the participants were preparing for a public concert, the culmination of their week-long workshop. Joining Anna on the faculty was Diane Wittry, Music Director and Conductor of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra.

A session of the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute. (Photo: Larry Heidel)
A session of the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute. (Photo: Larry Heidel)

The workshop is fast-paced. Within a few hours, I could perceive the challenges, learnings, and insights required to take up the baton. During a two-hour block, conductors were given 10-12 minute segments to practice.

During this time, Diane does not have a moment’s rest. She’s running back and forth behind the orchestra observing the conductor, writing notes, gesturing, shouting instructions, or halting a segment to give more personal coaching:

“You don’t need to look down at the score! If you’re looking down, you’re not engaging the orchestra.”

Or:

Diane: “That transition…”
Conductor: “That was terrible.”
Diane: “Well, no, that’s too strong a word. But we need to do it again.”

Diane: “That was better.”

Or:

“Don’t tell [the orchestra] what you’re going to do. Just do it!”

During a segment, conductors work on individual details; a 30-second slice might be used to hone a hand gesture, or a particular horn-to-string transition. The clock continues ticking throughout do-overs, spontaneous teaching moments, and random interruptions:

Diane: “How much time is left?”
Larry (time keeper): “Four ten.”
Diane: “What does that mean?”
Larry: “Four minutes, 3 seconds.”
Diane: “What?”
Larry: “Three minutes, 58 seconds. 57 seconds. 56 seconds.”

During one session, Diane stops the conductor and whispers in his ear. Whatever the gentleman did, the next attempt sounds better, richer, tighter. Diane then addresses the orchestra:

“I asked if he could change the sound of the orchestra with his hands. And he did! Did that feel different?”

(A quiet chorus of “yes” responds.)

Conducting is hungry work! (Photo: PNWCI)
Conducting is hungry work! (Photo: PNWCI)

I’m learning that conducting is about passionate gestures – strength and grace – to non-verbally emote one’s intent to the orchestra and to communicate the emotions of a piece to the audience.

“The conductor has to think about how you are going to start an ensemble, the correct character of the music, the correct tempo of the music, the correct style of the music, and then you have to think about where you want the music to go – what dynamics – if you want it louder or softer or if you want different energy coming from different parts of the ensemble,” Anna says to me later. “The conductor is the ears of the ensemble and is able to articulate, through their hands, through gestures, what has to be done [by the individual musicians].”

I conclude that conducting is akin to dancing, except backwards. When you dance to music, you are physically reacting to music that is being played – you react to what exists. When conducting music, the physical movements shape the music; a metronome, sure, but the conductor is giving the music life, emotion, and vitality, microseconds before it exists.

In addition to founding the conducting institute, Anna is Music Director of the Saratoga Orchestra, a professional orchestra on Whidbey Island that sponsors the institute. She hopes the institute will help extend the orchestra’s season into the summer, expand its audience into the tourist season, and become a summer destination in its own right.

The next session of the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute will take place July 30 – August 4, 2018, on Whidbey Island, Washington. Visit their website for details.

GreatWall_GreatKent_BWxKent Karnofski has been a Seattleite most of his adult life. By day he is a research engineer at a local manufacturing firm, by night he is an extraordinary audiophile. In addition to his work with the Live Music Project, he is the curator and primary contributor at CommunityNoise.blog.

Conciertos de música clásica gratuitos: Septiembre 2017 (Seattle & Puget Sound)

Conciertos de música clásica gratuitos: Septiembre 2017 (Seattle & Puget Sound).
Conciertos de música clásica gratuitos: Septiembre 2017 (Seattle & Puget Sound).

 

Racer Sessions
Una serie de composiciones e improvisaciones organizadas colectivamente para música nueva y experimental.
Domingo, 9/3, 8pm | Café Racer, Seattle

Coro Compline (Coro de Completas): La oficina de Compline/Completas
Todos los Domingos por la tarde en el nave de la catedral, el Coro Compline, un coro de hombres, dirige este servicio coral formal que es una tradición de Seattle.
Domingo 9/3, 9:30 pm | Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle

Coro de Vicarios de la Iglesia de Cristo en Seattle: Completas en la Iglesia de Cristo
Música sagrada coral presentando canto gregoriano, canto anglicano e himnos de diversos periodos a través de los siglos. Es un ambiente ideal para meditación y contemplación entre el bullicio de esta bella ciudad.
Miércoles 9/6, 9:30pm | Christ Episcopal Church, Seattle

Taller de Arte Interactivo Hibrido “The Fourth Wall Ensemble”
Un taller interactivo de artes mixtas conducida por “Fourth Wall Ensamble”.
Jueves 9/7, 3:40pm | Lagerquist Concert Hall en Pacific Lutheran University, Parkland

“Breath of Aire”: Concierto de Beneficencia “Desde Casa”
Concierto de beneficencia: “Desde casa”, se apoyará a la construcción de viviendas para familias necesitadas en países en desarrollo.
Domingo, 9/10, 6pm | Iglesia Cuadrangular de la Esperanza, Snohomish/Hope Foursquare Church

Racer Sessions: Adam Briggs
Una serie de composiciones e improvisaciones organizadas colectivamente para música nueva y experimental.
Domingo, 9/10, 8pm | Café Racer, Seattle

Coro Compline (Coro de Completas): La oficina de Compline/Completas
Todos los Domingos por la tarde en el nave de la catedral, el Coro Compline, un coro de hombres, dirige este servicio coral formal que es una tradición de Seattle.
Domingo, 9/10, 9:30pm | Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle

Series de Conciertos de Verano Cornish@Amazon: James Falzone’s Musique Actuelle
James Falzone (el clarinete e instrumentos de viento madera), Ruth Dornfeld (violín), y Dave Bartley (guitarra).
Jueves, 9/14, 12pm | Van Vorst Plaza at Amazon, Seattle

Aronoff, Música de Cámara
Obras de Schumann, Brahms, Bridge, y más.
Sábado, 9/16, 7:30pm | Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church, Des Moines

Recital de Piano, Byron Schenkman
Sonata en Fa mayor de Mozart, Nocturna Si bemol de Szymanowska, Three Pieces (Tres piezas) de Schubert.
Domingo, 9/17, 6:15pm | Epiphany Parish of Seattle, Seattle

Racer Sessions: TVTV
Una serie de composiciones e improvisaciones organizadas colectivamente para música nueva y experimental.
Domingo, 9/17, 8pm | Cafe Racer, Seattle

Coro Compline (Coro de Completas): La oficina de Compline/Completas
Todos los Domingos por la tarde en el nave de la catedral, el Coro Compline , un coro de hombres, dirige este servicio coral formal que es una tradición de Seattle.
Domingo, 9/17, 9:30pm | Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle

Coro de Vicarios de la Iglesia de Cristo en Seattle: Completas en la Iglesia de Cristo
Música sagrada coral presentando canto gregoriano, canto anglicano e himnos de diversos periodos a través de los siglos. Es un ambiente ideal para meditación y contemplación entre el bullicio de esta bella ciudad.
Miércoles, 9/20, 9:30pm | Christ Episcopal Church, Seattle

Sesión del lectura de la Alianza de Compositores de Seattle Seattle
Esas sesiones están abiertas para la pública y todos los edades. Una oportunidad para compositores de trabajar con artistas y recibir opinión del público.
Domingo, 9/24, 1pm | Seattle Pacific University, Crawford Music Edificio 211, Seattle

Breath of Aire: Proyecto Jesus Film Harvest Partners Concierto a Beneficio
Breath of Aire presenta un concierto a beneficio para el proyecto Jesus Film Harvest Partners.
Domingo, 9/24, 6pm | Generations Community Church, Marysville

Racer Sessions
Una serie de composiciones e improvisaciones organizadas colectivamente para música nueva y experimental.
Domingo, 9/24, 8pm | Café Racer, Seattle

Coro Compline (Coro de Completas): La oficina de Compline/Completas
Todos los Domingos por la tarde en el nave de la catedral, el Coro Compline, un coro de hombres, dirige este servicio coral formal que es una tradición de Seattle.
Domingo, 9/24, 9:30pm | Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle

Bonnie Whiting con Jennifer Torrence: Música nueva para cantantes y percusionistas (clase maestra)
Una noche de estrenos mundiales incluyendo obras para platillos, retroalimentación resonante y el canto de Paula Matthusen. Música para juguetes electrónicos y “deconstructed language” de Bethany Younge.
Miercoles, 9/27, 11:30am | Meany Studio Theater, Seattle

Community announcements: September 2017

Welcome to our monthly digest of Seattle-area music admin job openings, auditions, calls for scores, competitions, grant deadlines, new programs, performer-composer happy hours, and more.

Submissions

Send us your news! We invite you to submit announcements for inclusion in this list by the 25th of each month.

Announcements

  • Skagit Symphony is hiring a new music director.
  • Bremerton Symphony Association announces September auditions for all ensembles.
  • St. James Cathedral, Seattle, has a position beginning in September for a bass-baritone to join the Cathedral Cantorei, the professional ensemble that supports the volunteer Cathedral Choir.
  • The Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra has openings for the concertmaster, principal percussion, and string positions.
  • KING FM is hiring a major gifts officer and account executive.
  • Town Hall Seattle is seeking a part-time digital media assistant to film and livestream programs and to assist in updating web-based media content.

Notable deadlines

Media calendar deadlines

  • Seattle Magazine – submit events 3 months ahead for the print calendar
  • City Arts – submit 6 weeks ahead for the online/print calendar (and/or send releases to editorial@cityartsmagazine.com)
  • Seattle Times – submit 14 days ahead for consideration in the curated classical listings (online & print)
  • The Stranger – submit any time to the online “Things to Do” calendar; for the quarterly Seattle Art & Performancesubmit at least 5 weeks before the start of the quarter in which the event will take place
  • Seattle Met – submit 2-4 weeks ahead of event for the online calendar
  • Live Music Project – submit 1 week prior to performance date; deadline for weekend email listings is Wednesdays @ 5pm

To receive community announcements by email, subscribe to our newsletter.

We invite you to submit announcements/deadlines for inclusion in this newsletter by the 25th of each month. You can do that here.

Past issues are located in the archive.

A Nationwide Classical Calendar

We have news!

The Live Music Project will be launching a nationwide classical calendar in Fall 2017.

Concerts, masterclasses, recitals, barn shows, instrument petting zoos, open rehearsals; professional and learning orchestras, choral groups, students, music festivals… you’ll find these all living together on one calendar.

Events will be filterable by composer, work, key instrument, genre, and more, so you can dive deep into the music you love (or the music you’re curious about…)

The national platform expands on our Seattle calendar, which is a hub for more than 1,000 orchestras, ensembles, and independent musicians, building visibility for local arts organizations while connecting new and returning listeners with live musical experiences.

We’ll be posting updates over the next few months as we get closer to launch. The best way to get those is to sign up for our mailing list.

This is a huge effort, and many hands truly make light work. If you want to get your hands dirty and be part of this incredible project, there are many ways to do it, which I write about here.

In the meantime, big hugs to our Seattle community and to all who have contributed thus far, helping us turning vision into reality. Here’s to our next big milestone!

With warmth and appreciation,
Shaya Lyon
Executive director

LMP

Learn to play the piano one note at a time

Neal Kosaly-Meyer: Gradus for Fux, Tesla and Milo the Wrestler
Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 8pm
Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center, Wallingford, Seattle

I heard ducks during Neal Kosaly-Meyer’s practice session for his upcoming show, Gradus for Fux, Tesla and Milo the Wrestler. His practice space doubles as the Maple Leaf home of Keith (Neal’s college buddy) and Karen (Neal’s sister). The residential neighborhood provides ambient noises of traffic, rustling of note paper (mine), airplanes above, voices in the next room, and – I’m pretty sure – ducks.

Neal has created a framework to play improvised piano pieces with a lot of silence, sparse notes, quick groupings and permutations of notes, and random ambient noises.

The enjoyment comes from the anticipation derived from silence, and then a sudden soft note or a single note played loudly. What’s next? Be patient. There could be one note, BAM, or 5 quick notes, BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM. It might be a mix BAM PING BAM BAM PING. There could be sustain, BAAAAAMMMMM. Somewhere in there, ambient noises might appear; fowl quacking out the window.

This forces me to listen to these notes in a new way. Be patient; wait for it. I hear notes for themselves, pure and clean, unencumbered by chords or progressions.

(Neal Kosaly-Meyer. Photo by Joe Mabel)
(Neal Kosaly-Meyer. Photo by Joe Mabel)

Neal mildly bristles at this notion of “unencumbered.” There is sometimes conflict between what the artist wants to convey, and what a particular audience member receives: that’s part of the magic. People create their own interpretations. That’s a beautiful aspect of art.

“My experience with it…” he drops off, thoughtfully… “I have to find my own way into this every time I play this,” Neal explains. “There’s a trust that there’s enough sound, enough song going on inside a note, to sustain, to make something that’s got as much feeling and as much mystery as what a ‘normal composer’ would get by taking a bunch of notes and stringing them together.”

The song comes as the piece progresses, but early on, that isn’t clear. This is the emotional part of experiencing Neal’s work, and it’s wonderful.

Neal relates that he often thinks of a scene in the Woody Allen movie Take the Money and Run, where he plays the cello in a marching band. Eventually Woody just sits down and plays, and lets the band keep marching on. And that’s Neal: he’s just playing as others do other things.

Neal explains that the project first presented itself to him as a sentence that popped into his head when he was a graduate student at UW around 1985: “Learn to play the piano one note at a time.”

Based on that sentence, Neal laid out the project: the first session, he studied the lowest A; then two sessions for the second A up plus one with both of the lowest As; then four sessions for the third A plus the combinations with the lower two; then eight sessions for the fourth A plus combinations with the lower three. And so on. It took about 13 years and, if you’re counting at home, 255 sessions to move through all the combinations of the A pitches.


Silence and patience
A gift opportunity
Listen: Notes and noise


This was taking too long. Neal modified his approach, sticking with the idea of slowly incorporating one new note and one new pitch. Neal has now worked through A, E, C#, and G. He’ll be moving on to B after the upcoming performance is complete.

This has been an idea, slow developing, for Neal to grab onto.

There are four types of music, Neal explains. “There’s the music where you listen to silence; there’s the music where you have one note that you bring into that silence; the third kind is when you bring two notes into the silence; the fourth is when you bring three or more notes into the silence.” In Neal’s mind, once you have more than two notes, it’s the same mental game, whether you’re playing with three notes or eight.

“For me, these performances are acts of dedication to a principle that there is enough music in a few pitches, or a pair of pitches, in a single pitch, or even in silence – that there is enough music to be heard, enough to sustain us and delight us and transport us. This is an act of faith, and that faith is tested each time, but it is a faith which has been strengthened each time [I perform Gradus] as well.”

Neal arranges a public performance of two hours divided into three “rungs” of 20, 40, and 60 minutes. One of the movements will be dedicated to a single pitch, a second to two pitches, and a third to three or more pitches. Tossing coins – a devotion to John Cage – determines the arrangement of those rungs and the notes and pitches to be utilized in each rung.

From there, improv and random ambient noises steal the show – like the ducks I heard. Geese? The fan belt on the neighbor’s car? Our ears improvise sometimes; here’s a chance to listen and enjoy the unexpected.

Neal Kosaly-Meyer will perform ‘Gradus’ on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 8pm at the Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford, Seattle. Details here.

GreatWall_GreatKent_BWxKent Karnofski has been a Seattleite most of his adult life. By day he is a research engineer at a local manufacturing firm, by night he is an extraordinary audiophile. In addition to his work with the Live Music Project, he is the curator and primary contributor at CommunityNoise.blog.