Find a complete list of classical concerts in Seattle this summer on our Things To Do calendar.
Seattle Modern Orchestra, in its season finale, hosts composer Anthony Cheung in residency for the US premiere of his 2011 piece, Discrete Infinity, which borrows its name from Chomsky's The Architecture of Language. Themes explored within the piece include the dichotomy of infinite possibilities of expression with a finite material-like language.
Underground sound composer Samuel A. Crome debuts Delicate Air, a long-form piece for prepared electric guitar, alto sax, bells, and radio. He also prepares to release a series of 30-minute cassettes later this year, including solo tapes and duo collaborations with Work/Death, Snack Bastards, Sycamorons, Nick Forte, and Leif Goldberg.
One fine day in 1920, a young Russian physicist assigned to research proximity sensors for the Soviet government invented a musical instrument instead. It's called the theremin (his Westernized name was Leon Theremin), and you play it without making any physical contact with it at all. Your hands just hover around its antennae to manipulate its ghostly, swoopy howls, making it the go-to instrument for creating any atmosphere of weirdness, particularly in classic sci-fi/alien movies. In this concert, you'll hear everything from high art by avant-gardists (old Varese, young Daniel Roumain) to B-movie music from Mars Attacks, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Ed Wood. The guest performer, Lydia Kavina, was a student and relative of Leon Theremin himself, so he will haunt the hall. Seattle Symphony artists form the chamber ensemble; it's a good chance to hear them clearly. JG
On October 4, 1981, Morton Feldman's 90-minute hypnotism, Triadic Memories, had its world premiere in London. The American composer would die six years later. This special work is written for solo piano. It consists entirely of figures and chords that are pulled apart slowly and repeated in ways that continually test the memory. Feldman described it as the largest butterfly in captivity and called for the performer (here Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov) to play it as much as possible without expression (senza espressione) and never at a volume above pianissimo. Can you stay with it? All it wants is to keep you in the moment, for many, many, many moments. At the premiere, people did walk out, but mostly within the first few minutes, according to the critics. The rest stayed with the butterfly. JG
This is a lineup of various ways that music can approach space rather than time, can merge with landscapes that are internal and external. Julia Wolfe's My Beautiful Scream is her slow-motion scream, as she describes it, after the events of September 11 happened outside her windows in New York. John Cage's 4'33" is the famous composition in which the performer only waits silently at the piano for the duration of the title, bracketing and framing the existing noise as it arises. John Luther Adams's The Light That Fills the World is his portrait of Alaskan light and ice; Philip Glass's The Light, from 1987, was one of the first minimalist works for full orchestra; and Morton Feldman's Piano and Orchestra is completely unlike any other piano concerto you'll ever hear (and see). JG
The concept of Music Under the Stars is simple but compelling: A professional or student ensemble sets up in a park and plays to whoever shows up at 7:15 p.m., often folk with picnic blankets in tow and maybe a surreptitious bottle of wine or two. Then, at eight, Benaroya Hall pipes in whatever performance is happening that night to the assembled throng—it's basically two shows for the price of none! This summer, MUTS takes place during the month of July, with concerts at Columbia Park, Volunteer Park, Freeway Park, and Delridge Park.
Seattle Chamber Music Society is once again throwing their Summer Festival, with free informal recitals and full orchestral performances for all ages throughout the month of July. Season passes and single tickets are both available, so you'll have lots of options for getting classical music in your life (perhaps attending Late Night at the Triple Door, wherein you get your dose of cabaret-style symphonics with a hefty pour and no kids around to watch you with their judging eyes).
In honor of trombonist, composer, and multimedia performer Stuart Dempster, Swarm+Stew, composed and facilitated by Neal Kosaly-Meyer, will take place two days after Dempster's 80th birthday and is comprised of his friends, students, and colleagues (or coconspirators), including Ione, Loren Dempster, Neal Kosaly-Meyer, Pauline Oliveros, and Greg Powers. The performed score accounts for spontaneity in elocution and encourages deep listening in each and every moment.
You like Gioachino Rossini. He's the one whose music runs and rushes and spins, and that's why it's been theme-song-ed for Bugs Bunny and The Lone Ranger and who knows how much else. But the poor gentleman wrote 39 operas and most of us have heard only a minute of one of them. So check this out: The Wicked Adventures of Count Ory is an obscure comedy Seattle Opera's doing in a Monty Python-esque style. Farce! Silliness! Mistaken identities in bed! This opera also kicks off the first season planned entirely by General Director Aidan Lang, so here's some future to trip on. JG
Singer and local wood nymph Rachel Green, with composer Daniel Salo, presents a composition of voice and piano synthesis. This debut piece from the duo blends layers of choral music and new electronica, thus creating an operatic installment of impassioned sonic surrealism. Bill support comes in the form of Erin Jorgensen, who plays ballads and adult lullabies on marimba.
The renowned Compline Choir at St. Mark's performs every Sunday evening at 9:30. Bring a blanket, lie on the altar, and contemplate divinity, or something like it. On Sunday, August 14, they'll celebrate their 60th anniversary with a total of three concerts, featuring new settings of music.