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Sound Focus

Revisiting the Rite of Spring and the Ghosts of Chinatown

Megan Sukys

When Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring premiered in Paris in 1913 it caused a famous riot among audience members. Today, Seattle guitarist Michael Nicolella shares how this notorious music has changed his career. We also investigate the ghost stories of Seattle's Chinatown.

At 2:05 p.m. – Michael Nicolella: Rediscovering the Rite of Spring

When Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" premiered in Paris in 1913 it caused a famous riot among audience members. Supporters of the daring new music uttered curses at those who booed Stravinsky's work. Those offended by the "Rite of Spring" hit supporters of the music over the head with their canes. When Seattle guitarist Michael Nicolella first heard the "Rite of Spring" he was knocked out by the piece. The once revolutionary music has found its way into movie and television soundtracks. And it's a piece that changed the direction of Michael's artistic career.

At 2:20 p.m. – (Wo)Men Speak Out!

(Wo)Men Speak Out is a Seattle–based organization dedicated to eradicating rape, sexual assault and gender violence. Co–founders Christopher and Ophelia de Serres educate both men and women, cultivating healthy relationships and gender equity. In an archive interview from April 29, 2008, Megan Sukys speaks with Christopher and Ophelia about how their shared trauma led them to reach out to others.

At 2:40 p.m. – Gavin Borchert Classical CD Review

In conjunction with his newly published autobiography, Nonesuch is releasing a two–disc overview of the music of John Adams – one of the most popular and widely performed living American classical composers – from his earliest successes ("Shaker Loops," "Harmonielehre") to his current–events operas ("Nixon in China," "The Death of Klinghoffer") to his recent opera, premiered last November, "A Flowering Tree."

Hallelujah Junction: Music of John Adams
Nonesuch 512396–2

At 2:50 p.m. – The Wah Mee Club

The worst mass murder in Seattle history happened 25 years ago. 3 armed gunmen robbed the Wah Mee Club in the International District. They hogtied 14 people and shot 13 of them to death. Since the night of that massacre, the club has been padlocked and closed. But that doesn't mean there hasn't been activity here. Mercedes Yeager researches local history and runs Market Ghost tours in Seattle's Pike Place Market. Few people who live around here will go near the building, but Mercedes brings Jeannie Yandel there to learn why nobody wants to re–open the doors to the Wah Mee Club.

Related Event

Michael Nicolella and the Seattle Guitar Trio play Michael's arrangement of "Rite of Spring" at the Frye Art Museum, Sunday November 2 at 2:00 p.m.

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