Playlists

Stay Connected With the Music We Love!

Selections for July 31, 2020

As we conclude the For All Our Sisters series, our playlist focuses on Nathan Whittaker. Nathan is a teacher and international violoncello performer on period instruments – he plays a cello of Mario Gadda from 1957, and a baroque cello of Johann Christian Ficker II from c. 1770. In 2012 Nathan gained a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Washington, and also holds degrees from Indiana University. Nathan is – among many other things – serving as Artistic Director of Gallery Concerts Seattle, a group founded with the admirable mission of “presenting Early Music for chamber ensemble in acoustically appropriate spaces on period instruments, performed by top musicians of Seattle playing together with guest artists.” All of which is to say that Nathan has great dedication and talent – but don’t take our word for it, please enjoy exploring more for yourself!


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Early Music Seattle: Nathan Whittaker


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Early Music Seattle: Nathan Whittaker

Selections for July 24, 2020

This week we are highlighting poet Jennifer Bullis. A Nevada native now living in Bellingham, Jennifer has been writing poetry for about twenty years, and taught composition and literature at Whatcom Community College for fourteen years. In 2013 she published Impossible Lessons, a book of poetry that “makes the mythic and the domestic sing,” and Jennifer is certainly immersed in mythology – especially myths of origin, which explain “how we came to be who we are in this place” (something we’d all like to understand right now!). You can go deeper into this with Jennifer in this interview for the Bellingham Review, and read more about Jennifer on her web site here.

Some of Jennifer’s poetry online

Audio: The Summer The Sun Hid

Video: Everett Poetry Nite Presents an Evening with Jennifer Bullis

Text: In That Time of Skiing I was Always Wrong

Jennifer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bullisjennifer

Selections for July 10 & 17, 2020

One of the joys of compiling the weekly playlist is learning more about the great talents of our performers, who we are delighted to support as well as to share with everyone! This week we are exploring the work of two artists who are contributing their great talent to our For All Our Sisters virtual series:

Aaron Grad is a composer, musician and keen performer on an extraordinary electric theorbo that he designed and built himself. You can read about Aaron’s performance with the instrument in a Seattle Times article here, describing Strange Seasons, an ode to Seattle weather that he performed in 2017 with the Seattle Baroque Orchestra – and enjoy various video and audio recordings on Aaron’s web site here.

Danielle Sampson is a Seattle-based soprano who performs baroque, classical and contemporary music, and has a fascinating catalog of performances spanning the eras. You can read more about Danielle on her website here, and find more of her video and audio recordings here. She is also a founding member of the duo Jarring Sounds with musician Adam Cockerham.


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Early Music Seattle: Aaron Grad and Danielle Sampson


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Early Music Seattle: Aaron Grad and Danielle Sampson

Selections for July 3, 2020

Janet See is a flutist of great talent, who is the star of our first videos in the “For all our Sisters” online series – we will have many separate online experiences, instead of one in-person concert. A benefit of the online format is being able to listen again and again, and whenever we wish (while writing these notes, for example!). Janet is a teacher as well as performer, and has soloed for over thirty years on baroque and multi-keyed classical flute, in the USA and UK. You can read more about Janet on her website here.


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Early Music Seattle: Janet See


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Early Music Seattle: Janet See

Selections for June 19, 2020

You may know that EMS is producing a series of videos to replace the For All Our Sisters concert, which would have taken place this month. One of the amazing performers making that transition from live to digital is Claudia Castro Luna – Washington State’s Poet Laureate and Seattle’s first Civic Poet from 2015-2017, and recipient of the Academy of American Poets Laureate fellowship in 2019.


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Claudia Castro Luna interviews

Selections for June 12, 2020

As we drive towards a brighter and more just future, it’s worth remembering some bright examples from the past. This week we are listening to the work of the “Black Mozart,” Joseph Bologne – an Afro-French violinist and composer from Mozart’s time, who Mozart envied! Also known as “Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges,” or just “Saint-Georges,” Bologne was the son of a French slave. Through hard work as well as genius, Bologne became renowned for classical composition, for mastery of the violin – and for fencing – and ultimately rose to the top of French society. US President John Adams referred to him as “the most accomplished man in Europe.”

Saint-Georges is sometimes described as the first classical composer of African ancestry – although it might be better to say he is the earliest one whose history and work have remained well-known to the present day, because we don’t know what has been lost over time. Perhaps additional classical work by black men and women will come to light as people do more research in this area.

Saint-Georges’ story reads like a novel, and indeed a film was made of his life, “Le Mozart Noir” – you can read about it and purchase the gorgeous soundtrack here, recorded by the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, with Music Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon and violin soloists Linda Melsted and Geneviève Gilardeau. You can find a detailed history of Joseph Bologne on AfriClassical.com here and on Wikipedia here, and read about him along with other black composers at 9 black composers who changed the course of classical music history.


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NEW:Early Music Seattle: the ‘Black Mozart’ Joseph Bologne


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NEW: Early Music Seattle: the ‘Black Mozart’ Joseph Bologne

Selections for June 5, 2020

When we are challenged to know how to think about and respond to what’s happening in the world around us, it can be helpful to go to a source who knows, who is living the experience, and who can explain it in ways that we connect with. This is one of many reasons why Artists and Musicians will always be needed and relevant! This week, we are listening to American singer and musician Rhiannon Giddens. Together with her partner, the composer and musician Francesco Turrisi, they are “creating music that crosses borders and looks forward by looking back.” You can read more about their partnership and subscribe to their work here.

It’s interesting to note that however uncomfortable it can be to engage with the hard events of our times, society will often develop respect and gratitude for the Artists who have done so. Counterculture musician Bob Dylan was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is a type of protest song based on a poem by Friedrich Schiller, and to which Beethoven himself added lines that all men are brothers, to make a point.
You can read more about protest songs throughout the world and spanning history, on this Wikipedia page. To quote from the grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, which Giddens co-founded in 2005: “Know thy history. Let it horrify you; let it inspire you. Let it show you how the future can look, for nothing in this world has not come around before.”


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NEW: Early Music Seattle: Rhiannon Giddens


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NEW: Early Music Seattle: Rhiannon Giddens

Selections for May 29, 2020

Although women composers from the early centuries may not be as well known as their male counterparts, they were certainly active, with some outstanding music that is still performed today. We are enjoying poignant vocal compositions from a selection of these composers – reminding us why it doesn’t take a full orchestra to give a person the goosebumps!

Caterina Assandra was an Italian composer who was born in 1590 and became a nun in 1609. Her musical talents were recognized from an early age and she composed pieces that were traditional as well as innovative for their time. Learn more about Caterina here.

Hildegard of Bingen, also known as Saint Hildegard or the Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, mystic, visionary, and polymath who lived from 1098 until 1179. Learn more about Hildegard here and if you want to go deep into her story, you can find more here.

Kassia, also known as Saint Kassiani, was a Byzantine-Greek writer, poet and composer of hymns. Born around 800 A.D. in Constantinople, she is believed to be the earliest female composer whose works survive. Learn more about Kassia here and here (see that page for links to more women Classical composers).


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NEW: Early Music Seattle: Early women composers


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NEW: Early Music Seattle: Early women composers

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NEW: Kassia, Byzantine hymns of the first female composer of the Occident 

Selections for May 22, 2020

This week’s playlist features Indian classical music! It is an incredibly ancient form of music from the Indian Subcontinent. Featuring both Hindustani and Carnatic elements, it has very discrete rhythmic components as well as beautiful tonal flows. The playlist comprises of the brilliant artistry of Zakir Hussain on the Tabla, Dr. N. Rajam on the Violin, and Ravi Shankar on the Sitar. All three are world renowned musicians and are greatly influential in the Indian Classical music scene.

For violinists interested in the sliding scales featured in the playlists, here is a great article to read: The Art of the Violin Slide


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NEW: Indian Early Music


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NEW: Indian Early Music

Selections for May 15, 2020

We are exploring the intersection of Baroque with world and contemporary music, performed by the international ensemble Rumbarroco, led by Laury Gutiérrez of Venezuela. The sonic fusion makes for wonderful listening, and allows us to hear these sounds in exciting new ways. Rumbarroco’s goal is to unite diverse communities by highlighting the fusion and confluence of the cultures of Europe, Africa, and the Americas through musical performances and educational outreach. We are big fans of this mission! You can read more about Rumbarroco on their website here.


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NEW: Rumbarroco – I’ve found a new baby: Baroque meets Afro-Latin Jazz


NEW: La Donna Musicale / RUMBARROCO 


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NEW: Rumbarroco – I’ve found a new baby: Baroque meets Afro-Latin Jazz

Selections for May 8, 2020

Antonio M. Gomez is passionate about connecting learners of all ages with compelling cultural stories and inspiring arts experiences. As a former K-12 teacher, he continues to contribute to economically and culturally accessible education programs at Tacoma Arts Live. As a percussionist, Tony specializes in Afro-Latin, Mediterranean, and Arabic genres. He performs with Trío Guadalevín, the Eurasia Consort, and the national touring music-dance production Tango del Cielo. He has studied in Cuba, Argentina, Panamá, Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Artist Trust awarded Tony a 2018 J.W. Ray Venture Project for Ramas & Raíces – a transnational music project between Mexico and Washington state. He has been a frequent speaker for Humanities Washington on arts and culture and is a Jubilation Foundation Fellow in arts education. Tony holds an MA in education from the University of California, Berkeley and BA from the University of Puget Sound.

We are pleased to present three playlists curated by Tony Gomez himself! Primarily percussion focused, and featuring a wide range of cultural expression, the playlists highlight various artists through their music and commentary. As we’ve listened to them, we’ve found the rhythms accessible and simple, yet deep and soulful. The themes are wonderfully varied and unique, and the YouTube playlist is particularly enjoyable as you can see the artists masterfully play their instruments, dance, and deeply indulge in their musical expression!


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NEW: Percussion by Antonio M. Gomez


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NEW: Antonio M. Gomez, percussion


NEW: Antonio M. Gomez | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Selections for May 1, 2020

Continuing our theme of wonderful music from around the world, this week we are excited to share a cross-genre selection from Wu Man. Wu is a virtuoso composer and player of the Chinese pipa instrument, a beautiful pear-shaped lute with twenty-six frets and six ‘ridges’ that act as stops along its neck. Wu Man’s work spans a range of styles and genres – Eastern and Western and across the ages. She famously introduced the pipa across genres, playing with the Kronos Quartet and Philip Glass among others, and she is a founding member of The Silk Road Ensemble that commissions works across the musical spectrum. Their “Off the Map” CD was nominated in the Best Classical Crossover Album category at the Grammy Awards in 2011. Musical America named Wu their Instrumentalist of the Year in 2013 – the first time this award was made to a player of a non-Western instrument.


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NEW: Early Music Seattle: Wu Man pipa music


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NEW: Early Music Seattle: Wu Man pipa music

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NEW: Man Wu

Selections for April 24, 2020

Early spring is transitioning to mid spring and, in some part of the world, late spring! Colorful flowers are in bloom, trees are covered in fresh green, the air is warmer and nice to breathe in, and we are all ready to be outside! We are hopeful that we are past the halfway points of the shutdowns in many areas, and we are more than ready to experience the vernal passions of the season. While we wait, Early Music Seattle is delighted to share a playlist featuring the moving, passionate, energetic works of Alana Youssefian, Antonio M. Gomez, and Miyo Aoki. We are thrilled to work with these greatly talented artists and to share in their vision of what life and beauty can be.


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This Week’s Spotify Selection
NEW: Early Music Seattle: Alana Youssefian


NEW: Listen to percussionist Antonio M. Gomez specializing in Afro-Latin and Mediterranean music


NEW: Watch recorder musician Miyo Aoki as she performs with various artists

Selections for April 17, 2020

This week our playlist features Alexander Weimann, Musical Director of Seattle Baroque Orchestra and Pacific Baroque Orchestra among others. In addition to his Director roles, Alex is a keyboard virtuoso who can improvise within the classical genre – a skill that was expected of musicians in the 18th century, but unusual today. We have selected two of Alex’s Baroque albums, which we are enjoying this week for their sense of structure as well as joy and optimism. “Rebelles baroques” is comprised of Quantz and Telemann concerti for flute, strings and viola, with Alex conducting the Arion Baroque Orchestra. The “Meine Seele” album showcases countertenor Matthew White, with Alex on harpsichord and also directing the Tempo Rubato Ensemble, in a range of rich compositions from Bach, Bernhard, Erlebach, Muffat, Rosenmüller, Schütz and Tunder.


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NEW:
 Early Music Seattle: Baroque with Alexander Weimann


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NEW:  Early Music Seattle: Baroque with Alexander Weimann

Selections for April 10, 2020

We are pleased to highlight the world-class talents of the Seattle Baroque Orchestra in this week’s playlist, focusing on their “Antonio Vivaldi” album. Vivaldi was known in his lifetime for violin pyrotechnics and clever composition, and these are superbly carried by Ingrid Matthews (violin), Byron Schenkman (harpsichord), Tekla Cunningham (violin), John Lenti (theorbo) and Nathan Whittaker (cello). Do we react differently to Vivaldi’s music today than listeners did in his own time? We may be uplifted, excited, soothed – but surely delighted to lose ourselves in Baroque splendor while cocooning at home!


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NEW:
Early Music Seattle: Chamber works


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NEW:  Early Music Seattle: Chamber works 

Selections for April 3, 2020

This week’s playlist reflects the Celtic traditions of Europe. Cultures can become especially vibrant when different traditions influence one another, and this is true of the Celtic areas in Europe, which share common sea routes – the British regions of Wales, Scotland, Cornwall and the Isle of Man, Brittany in France, the island of Ireland, Portugal, and Spanish Galicia. Many a fascinating hour can be spent in learning about individual interpretations – for example, bagpipes are a famous part of Celtic traditional music, however they have varying sounds and mechanics (for example, Scottish bagpipes are breath-powered, while Irish Uilleann pipes are bellows-blown by squeezing under the arm). Celtic music is a living tradition and performed by communities in multiple ways, from spontaneous pub music sessions to tradition-inspired orchestral pieces in Concert Halls, however the underlying music is essentially the same. We hope you’re enjoy the differences as well as common threads in this week’s selection.


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NEW:
Early Music Seattle: Celtic Traditions


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NEW: Early Music Seattle: Celtic traditions