MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Byron Schenkman & Friends Launches 10th Season

On Sunday, Byron Schenkman & Friends marks the beginning of their 10th season of imaginatively curated concerts — an essential contribution to Seattle’s musical life. The program, titled Vivaldi and the Forty (Four) Seasons, is their most ambitious undertaking to date, involving the largest gathering of performers Schenkman has ever brought together on the stage.

And it’s a signature Schenkman program, shedding new light on the familiar and encouraging discovery of underrepresented, marginalized voices. In this case, they will pay homage to Indigenous Peoples’ Day (October 10). Violinist Anna Okada leads an ensemble of Baroque strings, with Byron Schenkman at the harpsichord.

The premise is to juxtapose Antonio Vivaldi’s beloved, evergreen concertos — which were, after all, remarkably innovative when he wrote them — with Indigenous voices. Yakama tradition recognizes as many as 44 distinct seasons, so Schenkman & Friends will intersperse Vivaldi’s four with stories from the Yakama tradition presented by the scholar and master storyteller, writer, and educator Dr. Michelle M. Jacob.

Also being featured is the work of acclaimed artist Fox Spears, a Karuk tribe member, and BS&F Board member. The opening celebration will include pieces by Spears on display in the Nordstrom Recital Hall lobby. “All the work I make is a deliberate continuance of Karuk culture,” says Spears. “Regardless of my motives, the creation and presence of my art is an inherent act of resistance against colonial assimilation. My art is made with these intentions: to thank and honor my ancestors, to acknowledge and heal historical trauma, and to help build new Indigenous futures.”

Spears’s Karuk Louis Vuitton Drum was recently purchased by the National Music Museum in Seattle and will be on display when the permanent collection exhibits reopens. His current work is continuing a theme from this drum at his printmaking residency at Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts.

His artwork will be on display in the lobby before and after the concert. The first print purchased is $300, and additional prints are $150 each.

Filed under: Byron Schenkman, Indigenous Peoples, Vivaldi


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