Hear contemporary Seattle composers William Bolcom, Ken Benshoof, and Sarah Bassingthwaighte. Famous for his ragtime pieces, Pulitzer Prize winner William Bolcom blurs the boundaries between popular and art music with his jazzy Seattle Slew Suite. Ken Benshoof’s beautiful lyricism is reflected in his Concerto for Cello and String Orchestra. Sarah Bassingthwaighte’s Sleeping in the Forest, uses ever-shifting harmonic and rhythmic patterns to portray the richness of nature’s beauty.
Walter Gray, cello
Walter Gray has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Far East. He was a founding member of the Kronos Quartet and for over five years presented hundreds of concerts including numerous world premieres. Mr. Gray’s expanded contemporary music adventures have included working with Pearl Jam, Dave Mathews Band, Queensrÿche, Heart, and David Lanz. He has recorded works of John Cage, Paul Schoenfield, Jake Heggie, and Chinary Ung and produced recordings for the London Symphony, Seattle Symphony, New Hampshire Music Festival and numerous solo and chamber musicians.
A member of the Seattle Symphony since 1979, Mr. Gray has performed as soloist with the orchestra several times. “Gray played with his usual intensity and flair…the cello’s lyrical possibilities are realized.” (The Seattle Times) He has taught at SUNY Geneseo, Mills College, Western Washington University, and the University of North Texas. In the summer he makes regular appearances at the Olympic, Marrowstone, New Hampshire, and Grand Teton Music Festivals.
Composer, flutist, and educator Sarah Bassingthwaighte is an acclaimed member of the contemporary classical music scene, a music lecturer and clinician, and an award-winning composer who has taught, performed, and had her pieces performed in England, Iceland, Russia, Canada, Mexico, and the US. Her compositions have twice been awarded the national NFA Newly Published Music Award, in 2013 and 2018. She has also been awarded a composer residency in Sweden, at the Visby International Centre for Composers (VICC). The British journal Pan Magazine acclaims her “hypnotic and rich sound” and goes on to say “The tone quality is full of depth and power. Bassingthwaighte seems to have a particular talent for communicating the message of contemporary pieces,” which are “performed with polish and virtuosity.” Her compositions have been performed by the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, the Sound Ensemble, the Ecco Chamber Ensemble, members of the Iceland Symphony; future commissions include Philharmonia Northwest, the Ecco Chamber Ensemble, and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra. Her solo CDs include Songs from the Caucasus, Stalks in the Breeze and Flute MeetsMachine, and she and Mark Wilson recorded Around the World and Through Time as the ensemble Sirocco. She is the author of the full-length bookFlute Meets Machine, and has been awarded the Stan Chu Essay award.
Seattle Slew Suite