Music + Culture

 

Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival

Symphony season is here once more, and soon, orchestral performances will be filling the region.  Below, you’ll find out what Northwest symphonies and ensembles have in mind to open their 2016/2017 seasons.

Yakima's Second Sunday Series begins the season with a performance from Trio Brilliante - the winners of the Seattle Ladies' Musical Club Frances Walton Competition. September 11, 2:00 pm, Englewood Christian Church. 

Have you ever wondered what your favorite NWPR host does with their free time? They’re pretty secretive about their personal lives, but a few have opened up about their preferred pastimes – and the answers may surprise you.

University of Washington Press

Thank you for your interest in the Walking Washington History Tour project! All the free books and cities have been assigned BUT you can still participate!

Take a tour of a town listed in the book, write about it, take photos, create video, graphics, crayon drawings, etc...and send your account to Northwest Public Radio! We will pick the best pieces to publish on our website and share with our audience. Towns are: Vancouver, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Everett, Bellingham, Bellevue, Walla Walla, Yakima, Spokane.

Flickr user "cmh2315fl"

Northwest Public Radio wants you to take a hike! No, wait, come back. Not like that. We actually want you to go for a walk. We've got ten copies of Judy Bentley's Walking Washington's History, and we're looking for volunteers to take one of the ten walks described in the book. Walk the route, write about it, and we'll share your account on our website. It's a great opportunity to share your love of history with an audience who appreciates it just as much. 

The ten walks are:

Vancouver - Closed

Olympia - Closed

Walla Walla - Closed

Fernando Valenzuela / Flickr

  In this episode, we chat with Victoria-based composer Stephen Brown about his work Takakkaw Falls. Traditional Celtic tunes, Canadian folk music and the Rocky Mountains make this suite for cello and piano what it is and the piece incorporates the themes of life, loss and love. 

Paula Gray / Tumblr

A $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will support the commission of a new symphonic poem in homage to Mount Rainier and its melting glaciers. The composer: Daniel Ott, a native son of Puyallup, is now based at New York’s Juilliard School and Fordham University.

The work for chorus and orchestra premieres May 17, 2017, in the Tacoma Symphony’s “Mountain and Sea” concert. The grant is part of the NEA’s “Imagine Your Parks,” a celebration of the centennial of the National Parks Service and the 50th anniversary of the NEA.

Thepismire / Flickr

It’s that time again – the Northwest spotlights chamber music with summer festivals throughout the region, and provides the perfect scenery for classical music performances.

The Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival brings together another international cast of performers for this summer. 30 events across the valley include intimate winery performances, specially commissioned works and outreach concerts for teens and children. June 2 – 25

Gary Miller

Trombonist Roger Finch performed in his final concert with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra (YSO) earlier this month after 45 years. He played highlights from Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet and Bernstein’s West Side Story in the Capitol Theatre.

 

“We kicked its butt,” he said with a laugh.

 

The concert opened with an extensive standing ovation from the audience and symphony musicians as Finch walked onstage to take his seat. He wasn’t expecting such recognition.

 

Marie Glynn / NWPR

In this episode, Greg Yasinitsky discusses his work Nighthawk in Flight - an exploration of the line between the genres of classical and jazz called "third stream."  The Washington State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs alongside jazz quartet Nighthawk, an ensemble in which Yasinitsky plays saxophone.

Listen below to this rhythmic and melodic melding of genres or download at Soundcloud

Earl Blackaby

From winding rivers to lush greenery, it’s no wonder the Northwest is one of the most beautiful regions in the world. However, just below the pointed tops of evergreens lies another world to notice – the life of native birds.

David Glenn

Welcome to De-Composing: The Breakdown of Compositions - Northwest Public Radio's look into music of the region and how it was created.

In this episode, David Glenn chats about his work Sculpture Garden for Piano Quintet.

Its roots lie deep in the Northwest - a Walla Walla composer with a commission from the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival writing about Whitman College and the colorful works of art that can be seen throughout campus from many northwest artists.

John Massey Wright / Folger Shakespeare Library

This April marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Northwest Public Radio is paying tribute to the Bard through music inspired by his sonnets, comedies and tragedies. The works of William Shakespeare have crept into music in major and minor: they spawned overtures, ballets, operas, incidental music and many other classical works.

http://www.bachstadt-koethen.de/kunst-und-kultur/historisches-museum-und-bachgedenkstaette/die-fuersten-und-herzoege-von-anhalt-koethen/leopold-von-anhalt-koethen.html

Through much of history, composers depended on patrons for financial support or incentive to write the music we enjoy today. Browse through the slideshow above to see some of the best-known patrons - and remember that today, YOU are the most important patron of the arts, when you support Northwest Public Radio.

For Women's History Month 2016, Northwest Public Radio celebrated with a three hour special devoted to women in classical music history hosted by your weekday afternoon host, Gigi Yellen.

In case you missed it or you'd like to listen again, here it is.

HOUR 1

HOUR 2

HOUR 3

NWPR’s “Celebrate Women in Classical Music” PLAYLIST

HOUR 1
13:01
May Aufderheide - Dusty Rag                     
Virginia Eskin, piano
Northeastern 9003

Wikimedia Commons

The rich tradition of Irish music is celebrated every Saturday afternoon on The Thistle and Shamrock (2-3 PM, NPR & Classical music service). This St. Patrick’s Day, find out how Celtic traditions have found their way into classical music and film scores with these special programs:

Wikimedia Commons

All through March, you’ll hear stories, features and music recognizing the history and contributions of women. Among the programs we’re offering:

Wikimedia Commons

How do you celebrate Women’s History Month in classical music, when the genre's history names few women composers? At NWPR over the past year, one answer has been: find what music you can, and play it. Inspired by Women’s History Month 2015, we took on a challenge to program at least one piece by a woman composer each day.  Yes, it’s a token, but this month, we trade in those tokens for a reward.

Seattle Symphony

Congratulations, Seattle Symphony! Another Grammy! The 2016 Grammy award for best classical instrumental solo went to violinist Augustin Hadelich, for Dutilleux: Violin Concerto, L’Arbre Des Songes, with the Seattle Symphony conducted by Ludovic Morlot, a release on the orchestra's own label.

Seattle Symphony earned its first Grammy last year -- Best Contemporary Classical Composition -- for its recording of John Luther Adams's Become Ocean, a work SSO commissioned.

Carl Van Vechten / Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

All through February, you’ll hear stories, features and music recognizing the history and contributions of African Americans. Among the programs we’re offering:

Tuesday, February 16: Pike County, Ohio: As Black as We Wish to Be

In a tiny town in the Appalachian foothills, residents have shared the common bond of identifying as African-American - despite the fact that they look white. Racial lines have been blurred to invisibility, and people inside the same family can vehemently disagree about whether they are black or white. It can be tense and confusing. As a result, everyone’s choosing: Am I black? Am I mixed race? Or, am I white? Adding to the confusion, there’s a movement afoot to recognize their Native-American heritage. (NPR News service, 10-11 PM)

Olivier Strecker / Creative Commons

As the annual Academy Awards presentation approaches, we have a special interest in the five nominees for Best Original Score, a category recognized by the Oscars since 1934. Three of this year's composers are no strangers to this process - between them, they have 69 previous nominations. 

John Williams was awarded his 50th nomination for his score to the latest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. He claimed the Academy Award back in 1977 for the first Star Wars movie.

Wikimedia Commons

Music history refreshes itself every time you enjoy a favorite piece, or discover a new one, here on Northwest Public Radio.  Sometimes there's an especially noteworthy day in music history, like February 2.  

This was the day of the premieres of Haydn's Symphony No. 102, in 1795; of Rossini's Semiramide, in 1823; of Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 in 1890. Plus, amazingly enough, February 2 is the birthday of two of the greatest violinists of the 20th Century: Jascha Heifetz (1901, Vilnius) and Fritz Kreisler (1875, Vienna).

Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival

Chamber music festivals fill the northwest throughout the year – intimate performances in cozy venues creating a unique connection between the few musicians on stage and the audience. The 2015 summer season saw unforgettable performances across the northwest– and you don’t have to wait until summer  for even more. That's because January brings ensembles of all shapes, sizes and instrumentations to some big Northwest festivals.

It may be dark outside with falling snowflakes of theatrical proportions, and tiny patches of fog escaping from our mouths, but after the Winter Solstice, there comes a gentle wake of increasing daylight. Even with the promise of more daylight, however, the warmth of spring is still a long way off.  January and February can feel equally, if not more, bleak than the days when light is decreasing. Part of the lingering sense of winter and darkness after the Winter solstice is caused by the angle of the sun to our position on Earth.

Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor whose career spanned from the avant-garde post-World War II era to the computer age, has died, according to the French culture ministry. He was 90. Boulez famously challenged his peers and his audience to rethink their ideas of sound and harmony.

NWPR STAFF BEST READS OF 2015

Dec 16, 2015

With upwards of one million books published each year in the U.S., it can be difficult even for bibliophiles to know the good reads.  So this year, we asked our erudite colleagues at 

Northwest Public Radio for their suggestions. Check out their top 10 (in no particular order):

Clemens Pfeiffer / Wikimedia Commons

Traditional carols, heartwarming and hilarious stories, and new ways to think about the holidays! Here’s the list of special programs coming your way throughout December.

New Year's Day From Vienna 2016: Ring in the New Year with the Vienna Philharmonic’s beloved annual concert of waltzes and polkas from the Johann Strauss family and its contemporaries, brought to you from the Musikverein in Vienna Philharmonic. Radetsky March, anyone? 2 – 4 PM, Friday January 1, 2016, NPR and Classical Music Service.

Dion Hinchcliffe / / Flickr

From culinary and hosting help to poetry, music and a scientific consideration of gratitude, Northwest Public Radio has a lineup of special programs to enhance your Thanksgiving!

Michael Paras / NPR

The next episode of Latino USA is devoted entirely to stories from the Yakima Valley - but you can get a sneak preview! Come to a Listening Party at The Seasons Performance Hall, Friday November  20th at 6 PM.

FARE

In the United States, 8% of children have a nut allergy. Halloween can be tricky to navigate. Consider this; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was the top candy for Halloween in 2013. I love those. And I’m sure my son would too if it weren’t for the asthma attack and hives.    But after 2 reactions and one expensive E.R. visit, “Are there nuts in this?” seems less annoying. 

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