Maggie Molloy, classical-music canon-expander.
Maggie Molloy, classical-music canon-expander. Alyssa Brandt

Seattle classical-music radio station KING FM 98.1 is launching a new show on February 8 called Second Inversion. Hosted by Maggie Molloy, this program will air every Saturday (10-11 pm Pacific time) and stream here. Molloy plans to focus on composers from the 20th and 21st centuries who exemplify "the diversity and innovation of classical music today." This is a great development, a welcome opening up of the classical canon beyond the province of white men who've been dead for centuries; not to dismiss their important works, but they've had considerable attention devoted to them for ages.

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In a press release, Molloy said, "Each week’s episode features a different theme, allowing both new and seasoned listeners a chance to hear contemporary and experimental music from a new perspective. Each piece is hand-picked and carefully curated by the host to draw connections between classical music of the past, wide-ranging musical genres of the present, and cutting-edge sounds of the future."

I asked Molloy—who curates KING's contemporary classical library and has been writing and editing the station's Second Inversion blog since 2014—to provide five artists who will define the parameters of the show. (Note: This list is by no means comprehensive; you'll have to tune in to get the full scope of it.) Check out her responses below.

Bang on a Can All-Stars
This ensemble embodies the collaborative spirit of contemporary music—not only open to new sounds but genuinely thrilled by them. Their work consistently crosses genres and geographic borders to challenge notions of “high” and “low” art.

Meredith Monk
She has redefined and revolutionized contemporary vocal performance, mining the expressive potential of the human voice through largely wordless musical revelations.

Pamela Z
She embodies the expansion of the composer toolkit in the 21st century, integrating classical idioms with live electronic processing, sampled sounds, and video projections to create visceral musical experiences.

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Gabriela Lena Frank
Her vibrant musical mosaics are emblematic of the ways in which the Western classical tradition is continually learning and growing from the music of other cultures.

John Luther Adams
His sonic landscapes are shimmering and immersive, using the vastness of light and space to invite audiences to listen differently to the world around them.

The listening party for Second Inversion takes place at the Rendezvous on Thursday, February 6. Attendees will get to hear the debut show two days before it airs on KING FM.

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