SEATTLE SYMPHONY UNVEILS DARING, IMAGINATIVE PROGRAMMING FOR NEW IMMERSIVE VENUE, OCTAVE 9: RAISBECK MUSIC CENTER

 
Renderings  provided by LMN Architects featuring Octave 9’s first Artist in Residence, cellist Seth Parker Woods.

Renderings provided by LMN Architects featuring Octave 9’s first Artist in Residence, cellist Seth Parker Woods.

 

VISIONARY PROGRAMMING INCLUDES FIVE COMMISSIONS AND FEATURES OVER 70 CONTEMPORARY COMPOSERS THROUGHOUT SPRING 2019


SEATTLE, WA – Today the Seattle Symphony announces the much-anticipated artistic programming for Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center, a new innovative venue in Benaroya Hall opening in March 2019. An unprecedented milestone in Seattle Symphony’s history, the inaugural season of Octave 9 features daring excursions beyond the limits of convention, representing a bold commitment to the music of today. Through the nexus of technology, art and design, Octave 9’s versatile, immersive environment will see five world premieres, over 70 contemporary composers and 70 instrumentalists from the opening in March through June 2019.

Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center’s novel first season includes a 24-hour nonstop Contemporary Music Marathon that features multi-sensory and interactive performances; creative chamber concerts; intimate performances alongside illuminating conversations with artists and composers; insightful lectures; events for families that spark curiosity; and a new performance venue for the community.

“Octave 9 is groundbreaking,” shared Krishna Thiagarajan, President & CEO of the Seattle Symphony. “In this space, we will live and breathe today’s art and support contemporary composers with a dedicated medium for their work. Arts are the way a society articulates itself, and Octave 9 signifies the importance of supporting the voices of today.”

Beginning in March 2019 the Seattle Symphony will invite composers, musicians and interdisciplinary artists to explore the venue as a creative tool. In addition to innovative Seattle Symphony projects, Octave 9 will serve as an artistic incubator, welcoming the community and local artists to take advantage of the venue’s unique capabilities as a small chamber music hall or experimental performance environment.

“At Octave 9, we will create spectacular multisensory performances that engage and delight many different types of audiences,” added Elena Dubinets, Seattle Symphony Vice President of Artistic Planning and Creative Projects. “With an immense variety of music, we can inspire, challenge, provoke and transform, always in a dialogue with the communities we serve. In our inaugural season we will have the opportunity to work with over 70 composers of all backgrounds, collaborating with them to create and share the music of the future.”

The launch of Octave 9 coincides with the 20th anniversary of Benaroya Hall, the Seattle Symphony’s home since 1998. Centrally located in downtown Seattle across the street from the Seattle Art Museum and blocks from the Harbor Steps, Pike Place Market, Seattle Theater District and the new Seattle Waterfront Octave 9 will add a third performance venue to Benaroya Hall. Designed in collaboration with LMN Architects as a space unlike any other, it will open new opportunities for cross-genre collaborations and allow the Symphony to continue to boldly push boundaries and engage new audiences.


ARTISTIC HIGHLIGHTS

CONTEMPORARY MUSIC MARATHON For 24 hours nonstop, Seattle Symphony musicians and guest artists will perform eclectic works by over 50 composers, including an overnight “sleepover” incorporating an interactive music installation. Beginning at 5 p.m. on March 23 and ending at 5 p.m. the next day, the marathon contains one-hour programs co-curated by a wide array of musicians, composers and artists. Music by composers like John Luther Adams, Inti Logan Figgis-Vizueta, Jessie Montgomery, Gity Razaz, Alex Temple, and Julia Wolfe are included.

The marathon on March 23 and 24 will be comprised of three different “acts” — Nightfall, Dreams and Daybreak. Marathon passes for the entire 24-hour period are available for purchase, with the option of purchasing individual acts separately.

Nightfall Opening the Contemporary Music Marathon will be the world premiere of an electronic piece by Melody Parker that showcases the extensive range and ability of Octave 9’s sonic capabilities using Meyer Sound’s Constellation® acoustic system. Nightfall begins at 5 p.m. on March 23 with performances until midnight and includes works by composers such as Dai Fujikura, Nathalie Joachim, Helmut Lachenmann, David Lang, Missy Mazzoli, Angelica Negrón, Kaija Saariaho, Tyshawn Sorey, and Kotoka Suzuki, among others.

Dreams Dreams is an immersive overnight experience curated by composer and artist Marcin Pączkowski who will transform the space through performance into an interactive sound installation from midnight on March 24 until 7 a.m. Coinciding with the sunrise, John Luther Adams’ songbirdsongs starts the new day.

DaybreakTransitioning to the final segment of the Contemporary Music Marathon, Daybreak begins with Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music and includes music by John Adams, Christopher Cerrone, Anna Clyne, Gabriela Lena Frank, Alexandra Gardner, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Hannah Lash, Jessie Montgomery, Joseph Pereira, Terry Riley, Alex Temple and Julia Wolfe, among others.


COMPOSER IN RESIDENCE DEREK BERMEL CURATES PROGRAMS AND WORLD PREMIERE
Composer, clarinetist and conductor Derek Bermel is the Seattle Symphony’s Composer in Residence for the 2018–2019 season. Bermel is curating a series of concerts and community experiences in Octave 9 as part of his residency. Bermel’s first program tells a narrative of American music at the intersection of jazz and classical music while the second program is an exploration of contemporary music in dialogue with electronics and spatialization. Bermel’s series also includes a commissioned work from Seattle-based composers Stephen Newby and Kaley Lane Eaton. Bermel has been commissioned to compose a new work for Seattle Symphony musicians to premiere in the new venue on April 28, utilizing the technology available in the space. 

In addition to his new works for Octave 9, Bermel will be engaged in multiple education and community engagement activities as part of his residency.

“I’m honored to work with the phenomenal musicians of the Seattle Symphony as composer, conductor, performer, and educator, as well as curator for some of the first concerts in the new Octave 9 space,” commented Derek Bermel, Composer in Residence for the Seattle Symphony. “The orchestra has garnered international acclaim as a powerhouse of innovation, and I look forward to collaborating creatively on projects in Octave 9 and in the community." 


SETH PARKER WOODS
Cellist and interdisciplinary artist Seth Parker Woods is Octave 9’s first Artist in Residence, from March 2019 through the 2019–2020 season. Parker Woods joined the orchestra in October 2018 for several free community performances. He will be a featured performer throughout the opening of this new venue including the March 10 program curated by Derek Bermel, and in an hour-long self-curated program during the Contemporary Music Marathon. His marathon performance will include interactive and electronic works by Ryan Carter, Nathalie Joachim, George Lewis and Annea Lockwood.

“Given my background of working with various types of music, multimedia and electronics, Octave 9 is the perfect playground,” shared Parker Woods. “Because of this space, I’m really able to dream big and develop something extremely dynamic. It’s a privilege to be able to usher in a new concert hall in a way and help configure things for not only my tenure, but for all artists that will utilize the space.”


IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Octave 9 will host performances and discussions that delve into the chamber music and creative process of contemporary composers. Surrounding the performance of their works on the mainstage, composers John Harbison, Heiner Goebbels and Hannah Kendall will each share and discuss their music and unveil the inspirations that go into their compositions.  

Seattle Symphony musicians and guests will perform works by Seattle-based composers Trimpin, Andrew Stiefel and Ben Hausmann in April; and William Bolcom, Jérémy Jolley and Angelique Poteat in June.

Larry Starr, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, will lead conversations in Octave 9 which will further explore contextual influences of programming on the Delta Air Lines Masterworks Season in Benaroya Hall’s S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, including the music of Shostakovich in March, the current season’s emphasis on French music in April, and the music of Johannes Brahms in May.


CONTEMPORARY COMPOSERS
In addition to the above commissions and premieres, performances in Octave 9 will also include contemporary works by Michel Van Der Aa, Katherine Balch, Chaya Czernowin, Reena Esmail, Orlando Jacinto Garcia, Annie Gosfield, Wayne Horvitz, Yannis Kyriakides, Tania León, Allison Loggins-Hull, Michelle Lou, Frederic Rzewski, Kate Soper, Andrew Tholl, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Helena Tulve, Jacob Ter Veldhuis, Evan Williams and Agata Zubel.

SINGLE TICKETS ON SALE NOVEMBER 16 

Repertoire List and Chronological Listing of Concerts are available upon request. Please email shiva.shafii@seattlesymphony.org to request any additional materials.

Media requests for photos, interviews and other press items relating to Seattle Symphony and all guest artists are welcome.


EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

DEEPENING EDUCATION AND ACCESS Building on the history of Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center, which operated in this location from 2001 to 2016 Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center will continue to be a home for the Seattle Symphony’s family, school and community programs. 

“A generation of youngsters had their first experiences with musical instruments in Soundbridge. As we look ahead at the future in Octave 9 – we are expanding on this initial spark and joy of discovery and have created a space that welcomes everyone,” said Laura Reynolds, Vice President of Education & Community Engagement. “This new space adapts sonically, visually and with tailored seating configurations to become the ideal space for young families, schools and community partners to come together and explore their creativity with the Seattle Symphony.”

 

FIRST CONCERT SERIES This season marks the return of early childhood family programming to the corner of Second Avenue and Union Street. In this series children ages 3–5 will explore various instruments in the orchestra including the French horn, harp and violin. Pre- and post-concert activities will give families the opportunity to try the featured instrument and build deeper connections to Seattle Symphony musicians.

 

SENSORY FRIENDLY CONCERTS Sensory Friendly Concerts, a program designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum and with other sensory sensitivities, invites families with children ages 5–8 to enjoy small chamber works and participatory group songs in Octave 9. The concert experience includes instrument exploration before and after the show, a meet-and-greet with the featured musicians, and a 35-minute performance hosted by a board-certified music therapist.


FAMILY OPEN HOUSE Following the Tiny Tots Concerts (ages 0–5) and Family Concerts (ages 6–12) in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall and S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, respectively, families will be invited to continue their musical exploration in Octave 9. Crafts and instrument exploration connected to the concerts will enhance their experiences and build on the concert themes. These additional activities will be offered to families for free.


LULLABY PROJECT CONCERT
Since 2013 the Seattle Symphony has partnered with Mary’s Place, which shelters families experiencing homelessness, to present the annual Lullaby Project. The Lullaby Project is a workshop series where Seattle Symphony musicians come alongside parents in crisis situations to create personal lullabies for their children. The workshop culminates in Octave 9 with a performance of the lullabies on Mother’s Day.

FIRST THURSDAY ART WALK The community will be invited to explore sonic and visual installations in Octave 9 for free on the first Thursday of each month.


SUPPORT                                

Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center is named in honor of Seattle philanthropists James and Sherry Raisbeck, who provided a $2 million matching challenge to transform the former Soundbridge.  

Support for the inaugural season of artistic programming for Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center is generously provided by the Judith A. Fong Music Directors Fund.

Benaroya Hall, including Octave 9, is owned by the City of Seattle and is operated and maintained by the Seattle Symphony under a lease agreement. The city also has invested funds to help make Octave 9 possible and preserve an important public asset.

OCTAVE 9: RAISBECK MUSIC CENTER

Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center is a third venue at Benaroya Hall for performance and learning slated to open in March 2019, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the building. Octave 9 reimagines the former Soundbridge Seattle Symphony Music Discovery Center on the corner of Second Avenue and Union Street through the nexus of technology and design, creating a versatile, immersive environment for inventive performances, education opportunities and community engagement.

In Octave 9 a broad range of creative residencies and performances are possible, leveraging the embedded technology to push boundaries and pioneer the future of musical experiences. Combining a modular surround screen with 13 moveable panels, 10 ultra-short-throw projectors, motion-capture cameras, and a state-of-the-art Meyer Constellation® Sound System with 42 speakers and 30 microphones, the technology in Octave 9 can create a 360° shared virtual experience or disappear into the background for a more traditional setting.
 

BENAROYA HALL

Benaroya Hall is home of the Seattle Symphony and venue of choice for many local arts organizations. It is located on an entire city block in downtown Seattle and is surrounded by numerous restaurants, retail stores and parking facilities. The hall has two performance spaces — the 2,500-seat S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium and the 540-seat Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall — and a 430-stall underground parking garage. Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center will open in March 2019, creating a third performance venue in Benaroya Hall. Over 450,000 people participate in public and private events annually, making Benaroya Hall the most-visited performing arts venue in Seattle. Designed by LMN Architects, Benaroya Hall has received numerous awards, including a 2001 American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Honor Award for outstanding architecture. The collaboration with LMN Architects has continued with the design of Octave 9. For additional information, including rental information, event listings and public tour schedules, please visit benaroyahall.org.


SEATTLE SYMPHONY

The Seattle Symphony is one of America's leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard from September through July by more than 500,000 people through live performances and radio broadcasts. It performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community engagement programs reach over 65,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season. The orchestra has made nearly 150 recordings and has received three Grammy Awards, 23 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and was named Gramophone’s 2018 Orchestra of the Year. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.

 

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