Composers' Salon | Friday, May 4, 2018

An evening of music and discussion with Seattle composers:

  • Jay Hamilton
  • Gavin Borchert
  • Peter Nelson-King
  • Jeremiah Lawson

Friday, May 4, 2018, 8 pm
Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 4th Floor
$5–15 suggested donation

March 2018 Previews

Sarah Bassingthwaighte

H20, for soprano, flute, and guitar

My piece is called H2O and will be performed by the Ecco Chamber Ensemble: Sarah Bassingthwaighte, flute; Stacey Mastrian, soprano; Mark Hilliard Wilson, guitar. The piece is written in graphic notation in the shape of a circle and the players rotate the circle as they go through 6 different forms of water: Snow, Droplets, Rain, Storm, Frost, and Ice. There is a lot of guided improvisation used by all of the players. It will be performed on April 21st at SOMA Towers as part of KING-FM’s Resonance Series.

Gavin Borchert

Three songs

  • Sagrada noche (4’)
  • Cuando en el sol (4’)
  • Una vez (7’)

Gavin Borchert, piano; Michael Monnikendam, baritone

Some time ago I discovered the song “Nacht und traume” by Schubert, which is now my favorite of all of his. Researching it I stumbled on a beautiful (anonymous) Spanish translation of Matthaus von Collin’s original German text, which itself seemed to beg to be set. To go with it I chose Spanish translations of the words of two other songs I love: “Beau soir” (Debussy/Paul Bourget) and “Mondnacht” (Schumann/Joseph von Eichendorff). All three, obviously, address the subject of night.

Brooke Richey

Nocturne no. 1 and no. 2, for piano; Paradox for String Quartet

I write most of my music with white space. I don’t determine a key, time signature, let alone form, until I have a few phrases of melody transcribed. Nocturne No. 1, “Melodie” was written with a free hand. I wrote this piece, solely based off the tones and colors I wanted to hear. When I realized that the work was done was when I categorized it as a nocturne. And like the night, the music in "Melodie" is lead by itself, crawling through the dark until it finds sparks of light from the ground it encompasses. Just as the music comes to a close, night has found its way, and reached its end.

Nocturne No. 2 was written with the same design techniques as No. 1. Building from its first motif of triplets, the grace-notes serve as a foreshadowing for the abrupt bass line that will carry the second melody. Emphasized in this nocturne is the driving darkness quality of night as well as the peaceful quiet that comes with sleeping souls. Ultimately, the bass and "grace-note" theme take over to create a comically ironic ending. For those who work an 8–5, maybe you can understand why.

Paradox is the first piece for strings I’ve ever written. It was created during a time of my life where my only focus was to better my skill at composing. Created from a tone-row that was written freely, the piece was given its name to be a testament of individuals overcoming differences to work together. You can hear that the start of the piece begins with each instrument playing in a different octave, free-bowing and a little jaded with time. By the end of the piece the music is very close. Intervals and rhythm bring the voices together, bringing about a paradox of an experience, given with where they first started.

S. Eric Scribner


The piece is electronic, with no “live” performers. It is two realizations of a modal score without meter, played on the piano, and then multi-tracked with the second version starting at different time intervals. The time intervals grow closer together, so the piece gradually “converges”. There is also an interlude, made from multi-multi-tracking of the same score (originally played by Neal Kosaly-Meyer, guitar). Hundreds of separate multi-trackings are possible; at the Salon, I will play four of them plus the interlude.

Composers' Salon | Friday, March 2, 2018

An evening of music and discussion with Seattle composers:

  • Sarah Bassingthwaighte
  • Gavin Borchert
  • Brooke Richey
  • S. Eric Scribner

Friday, March 2, 2018, 8 pm
Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 4th Floor
$5–15 suggested donation

January 2018 Previews

Carson Farley

Film Music, for piano, cello, and flute

Film Music was composed for a commercial video project for sculptor R. Carlson. Originally scored for piano, string quartet, and synthesizer, this version has been arranged for piano, cello, and flute. Though I am usually a structural composer, this piece was written quickly and entirely from a visual perspective to conform to the visual content of the video project. It has a very simple surface texture with themes, transitions, and modulations from section to section.

Aaron Keyt

Music for Wallace, for piano

While living in Somerville, MA for a couple years, we adopted an old, neglected spinet piano. We named the piano Wallace. I wrote an album of short, mostly simple pieces for Wallace, a few of which will be played at the Salon.

Ian McKnight

The Trees Awaken, for alto flute, cello, and piano

This tone poem describes a sleeping forest that comes to life with dancing tree folk before returning to its slumber. I used a mostly traditional tonality with an emphasis on open 5ths and 6ths and a folk tune like melody in the middle. The low open double stops in the cello help to evoke the breathtaking size of the forest while the alto flute plays a mysterious sounding melody. The tremolo in the piano describes the restlessness of the trees as they come to life. The middle section of the piece is labeled “Heavy Footed Dance”. The loud, low, and heavy repeated rhythm describes the impact of their heavy roots/feet. The piece winds down with quieter repetitions of the dance theme before returning to the peaceful theme from the beginning.

Patrick O’Keefe

Morning Stroll (revised), for clarinet quartet

Programmatically this piece depicts a person with a very short attention span going for a walk. He intends to get exercise but is distracted by everything he encounters.

Musically tries to be traditional in both sound and form but immediately gets lost and never finds its way again. This is a lighthearted work that never takes itself seriously. The listener should not, either.

Composers' Salon | Friday, January 5, 2018

An evening of music and discussion with Seattle composers:

  • Carson Farley
  • Aaron Keyt
  • Ian McKnight
  • Patrick O'Keefe

Friday, January 5, 2018, 8 pm
Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 4th Floor
$5–15 suggested donation

November 2017 previews

Clement Reid

Realizations for Horn and Piano

I had written “Realizations” for a friend’s son, Carlin Krause, and it began with the notion of seeing a particular circumstance a certain way when young, and arriving at a different point of view after the passage of time. I had tried a technique of adding attacks, one after another for subsequent phrases, starting with three, and eventually arriving at twenty five.

Calvin Senter

Colloquies: Moon, Rain, Sun, Wind, for solo guitar

This is a work in progress to discover a serious conversation with a subject and guitar. I do this to create a tension between what I present and how it will become or relate to a subject such as the moon and then I go from there while playing my guitar to listen to what is there.

Here is a link to a video of me playing in the Seattle Guitar Orchestra, an excerpt of Elegy for a church in Seattle in 2017:

Nicole Truesdell

Ghost Story, for piano four hands

The germ for my piece happened one morning when I found myself in Capitol Hill with a free hour. I ventured into Quest Bookshop. After browsing for a while, I settled on a book about ghosts by author and medium James Van Praagh. Upon reading it I became fascinated with his accounts of ghosts haunting people’s houses. Van Praagh claims he is able to communicate with the haunting spirits and convince them to leave their earthly haunts and journey to the spirit world. This led to me imagining how this scenario could be illustrated with music.

My composition, Ghost Story, is a programmatic piece about a ghost trying and eventually communicating a message to living human beings before it continues its journey to the spirit world. Ghost Story is the most scripted work I have written and I am really interested to hear what people’s experiences are listening to it!

Mark Wilson

Kyrie eleison from the God Helmet; for guitar, soprano, and flute

I wrote this a piece a while back. The premise of the text is that a woman, a reporter doing a story on a device that gives you the sense of talking to God. As a skeptic, she is offered a chance to experience it. She doesn’t believe in God and is curious about this, tries it and in fact has a profound experience and is able to give other a people a sense of calm, peace and a sense of the divine. However for all of the good that comes from this ends as she starts to get seizures and is going to die, due to the increased neural activity and her inability to process it. So this song is her singing to this new found God saying that she is not ready to leave this realm, earth. This God must wait. She is a new mother and must attend to earthly matters, God must wait.