Musical Chairs

Join us Fridays at 7pm for Musical Chairs, hosted by Michael Brooks. Each week Michael chats with a member of the Pacific Northwest classical music community and plays some of their favorite works, sharing stories and background. Fascinating people sharing great music–every Friday night.

Musical Chairs host Michael Brooks came to Seattle from the East Coast more than 20 years ago. It didn’t take long for Mike to become enthralled with the Northwest’s nature and hospitality. He joined KING FM in the spring of 2007 and has enjoyed the return to his “radio roots.” His first radio job was at a classical station in his hometown of Baltimore, Md.


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January 27: James Ehnes

Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in over 35 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors.

In the 2016-2017 season James continues his cross-Canada recital tour in celebration of his 40th birthday, performs the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas in Stresa, Montreux, Los Angeles, Liverpool, and Amsterdam, and joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on a tour of China and the National Arts Centre Orchestra on a tour of Eastern Canada. James also holds artist residencies with the Melbourne Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and the Scotia Festival, undertakes two tours with the Ehnes Quartet, and leads the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is the Artistic Director.

New and upcoming CD releases include a disc of works by Debussy, Respighi, Elgar and Sibelius as well as a recording of Beethoven’s Sonatas Nos. 6 and 9 (“Kreutzer”) with pianist Andrew Armstrong, the Sibelius and Schubert “Death and the Maiden” quartets with the Ehnes Quartet, and the complete works of Beethoven for violin and orchestra with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Andrew Manze. His recordings have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a GRAMMY, a Gramophone, and 11 JUNO Awards.

In anticipation of the Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival, James will share some of his favorite music and recordings including works by Granados, Shostakovich, Dvorak, and Schoenfield.

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February 3: Geoffrey Block

Geoffrey Block received his BA in music history and literature from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1970 and his MA (1973) and PhD (1979) in music history and theory from Harvard University.  His dissertation on compositional process in Beethoven’s first and second piano concertos was aided by manuscript research in Germany as a Fulbright Fellow (1975-76).  He joined the faculty of the University of Puget Sound in 1980 and was named Distinguished Professor of Music History in 2008.

A prolific and wide-ranging scholar, Block has published most extensively on the music of Charles Ives and American musical theater, particularly the life and work of Richard Rodgers.  His books include Charles Ives: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 1988), Charles Ives: “Concord” Sonata (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Charles Ives and the Classical Tradition, co-ed. (Yale University Press, 1996), Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical from “Show Boat” to Sondheim and Lloyd Webber (Oxford University Press 1997; 2nd ed. 2009), The Richard Rodgers Reader, ed. (Oxford, 2002), and Richard Rodgers (Yale, 2003).  Block was also General Editor of the Yale Broadway Masters Series between1998-2010 and currently serves as Series Editor of Oxford’s Broadway Legacies since 2008.

Block’s Beethoven writings include essays in Beethoven Essays: Studies in Honor of Elliot Forbes, ed. Lewis Lockwood and Phyllis Benjamin (Harvard University Press, 1984), Beethoven’s Composition Process, ed. William Kinderman (University of Nebraska Press, 1991), and Beethoven Newsletter.

In her Seattle Times review of Experiencing Beethoven Melinda Bargreen writes: “Block presents brilliant in-depth analyses of several Beethoven works in different genres, including symphonies and piano sonatas, his only opera, his songs, the late piano music and the Op. 131 String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor. . . Block’s book is aimed at both the general reader and the Beethoven fan, and even those in that latter category may well add considerably to their store of knowledge about this titan of music.”

Dr. Block will share some of his favorite Beethoven music and recordings including the 1st Piano Concerto and the Symphony No. 5.


Musical Chairs Archive

Click here for an archive of past Musical Chairs episodes.