This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Washington Composers Forum. Like any of these ventures, they’ve had some busy and some moribund periods. But more than most and especially through the last decade, the WCF has been a pretty consistent force, beacon and shelter for composers of all stripes (as I can personally attest to from my own long sojourn in the Seattle area). They’ve been great about getting the word on opportunities out to their members, sponsoring commissions, readings and concerts, and their Composer Spotlight series (a different composer holds court each month, sharing whatever they think is important in their world) has been a fabulously smart and successful local draw for years now.
The WCF is having their celebratory concert this Thursday evening, May 6th, 8pm at the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center (4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, 4th Floor, Seattle / Tickets at door. $5-15 sliding scale), as part of their Jack Straw-supported Transport Series. The concert of world and regional premieres will feature the Icicle Creek Piano Trio, Pacific Rims percussion quartet, violist Melia Watras, and the Seattle Phonographers Union. Highlighted on the program is the premiere of a new work by composer Wayne Horvitz, an inaugural commission by Washington Composers Forum, launching the organization’s new commissioning program. Other composers on the bill include Christopher Bailey, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Diane Thome, Huck Hodge and John Cage — and if you’ve never yet seen the Seattle Phonographers Union in action, you’re in for a spookily wonderful treat.
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Meanwhile, the next day just down the road in Portland, Oregon, Third Angle New Music Ensemble is finishing their season with a concert titled “Views from Cascadia” (7:30 PM, The Old Church, 1422 Southwest 11th Avenue, Portland / Tickets: $30 general/$25 65+ & students). The chamber music program features pieces by Tomas Svoboda and David Schiff from Portland, John McKinnon from La Grande, and Charles Nichols from Missoula, Montana. This is Third Angle’s big bon voyage before it performs at the Beijing Modern Music Festival in late May, taking a few of these Northwest sounds to introduce to an international audience.