The city’s premiere modern music ensemble, co-founded by School of Music alumni Julia Tai and Jérémy Jolley, performs works by students and faculty of the UW Composition Program. Julia Tai conducts.
Joe Krycia, Over It
for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion and electronics
Yonatan Ron, The Bent Spoon
for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion
Jeff Bowen, Stalasso II
for flute, violin, cello, piano
Melissa Wang, Crushed Splits
for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion.
Angelique Poteat, clarinet
Eric Rynes, violin
Erin Wight, viola
Rose Bellini, cello
Stephen Olsen, piano
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
Founded in 2010, Seattle Modern Orchestra (SMO) is the only large ensemble in the Pacific Northwest solely dedicated to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Led by co-artistic directors Julia Tai and Jérémy Jolley, SMO commissions and premieres new works from an international lineup of composers, in addition to presenting important pieces from the contemporary repertoire that are rarely if ever heard by Seattle audiences. The ensemble “operates at that exciting cusp between old and new, between tradition and innovation” (Vanguard Seattle) curating new sounds and experiences for concert goers in the region. https://www.seattlemodernorchestra.org
Praised by the Seattle Times as “poised yet passionate,” Julia Tai is quickly becoming one of today’s most dynamic young conductors on the international stage. Currently, she is the Music Director of Missoula Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, Philharmonia Northwest, and the Co-Artistic Director of the Seattle Modern Orchestra. Her career has led to acclaimed performances and rehearsals with the American Youth Symphony, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (Czech Republic), Brandenburger Symphoniker (Germany), Estonian National Youth Symphony (Estonia), New Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria), Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM (Mexico), Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil Charlos Chávez (Mexico), and the Seattle Symphony.
Recognized as a prominent innovator of the contemporary music world, Julia Tai is the conductor and Co-Artistic Director of the Seattle Modern Orchestra, which champions the music of today, commissioning and premiering new works from an international lineup of composers. The orchestra “operates at that exciting cusp between old and new, between tradition and innovation,” (Vanguard Seattle) and is where “the future is more likely to be found” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker). Tai has worked with legendary composers, performers, and ensembles such as Jonathan Harvey, Tristan Murail, Robert Aitken, Séverine Ballon, Claire Chase, Stephen Drury, Graeme Jennings, Garth Knox, Carol Robinson, Steven Schick, International Contemporary Ensemble and Ensemble Modern. Under her direction, Seattle Modern Orchestra is a grant recipient of NewMusicUSA, The Amphion Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Washington State Arts Commission, 4Culture, and Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Julia Tai began her violin studies at age four and piano at eight. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where she was awarded “Outstanding Graduate.” She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Washington. She studied conducting with Peter Erös and Jorge Mester, and has participated in masterclasses with Marin Alsop, JoAnn Falletta, Neeme Järvi, Daniel Lewis, Gustav Meier, Otto-Werner Müller, Jorma Panula, and Larry Rachleff.
Jeffrey Bowen is a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music, whose works have been performed by Pascal Gallois, Maja Cerar, Beta Collide, Ensemble DissonArt, and the Luminosity Orchestra, among other ensembles. He was awarded First Prize in the 30th International Composition Competition “Città di Barletta,” and has presented work at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Darmstadt Courses for New Music, the International Computer Music Conference, and as a resident artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. His work What Will Sound (was already sound), for violin and electronics, was released by Parma Records in 2020, and recent work has been supported by the Jack Straw Foundation and the 4Culture and Artist Trust organizations.
He is currently based in Seattle, where he teaches music theory, composition, and guitar at Seattle University and is co-director of the Inverted Space Ensemble. He holds a BA in composition and guitar performance from Stanford University, and completed a DMA in composition at the University of Washington under Joël-François Durand.
Joe Krycia (He/Him, b.1993) is currently a DMA student in composition at UW Seattle. He holds a M.M from the Manhattan School of Music and a B.M. from Michigan State University. He has also studied at summer programs including Darmstadt and New Music On the Point. His music has been performed by ensembles such as The President's Own United States Marine Band, Sputterbox, and ~Nois Saxophone Quartet.
Born in the U.S (1992), raised in Israel. Composer Yonatan Ron has begun his musical path at the age of 10, taking guitar and music theory lessons. Later continuing under the supervision of composer and guitarist Ruben Seroussi, a faculty member and head of the composition department in The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at TAU, Israel.
Ron obtains a B.A in Music Composition from the Koninklijk Conservatorium, The Hague, Holland, where he studied with composers Cornelis De Bondt & Peter Adriaansz. Ron has been among the first young composers to be accepted to the ‘Tedarim program’ for excellence in composition held by Ensemble Meitar (2015 - 2016) and his music is recurrently commissioned by The Israeli Music Festival from 2016. In his work, Yonatan aims to draw the listener’s attention to the notion of continuously transforming gestures, long processual trajectories that gradually unfold, as well as the polarity between Chronos time (Quantitative / chronological or sequential, pulse-driven time) and Kairos (Uncountable time perception / “Frozen” time). Yonatan’s work draws its inspiration from a variety of fields ranging from arts history and music theory to acoustics, arithmetic principles, cosmology & meteorology. As to date, Yonatan is a Master’s degree student at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he studies composition with Huck Hodge & Yigit Kolat.
Melissa Wang is a composer, educator, and percussionist. She received the Bachelor of Music with emphases in Percussion Performance and Instrumental Education at the University of Northern Illinois University (NIU), under the direction of Dr. Gregory Beyer and Mr. Ben Wahlund. She received the Associate in Fine Arts in Music at the community college, College of DuPage (COD), under the direction of Mr. Ben Wahlund, Dr. Tom Tallman, Mr. Lee Kesselman, and Dr. Kenneth Paoli.
Melissa is currently studying at the University of Washington (UW) for percussion under the direction of Dr. Bonnie Whiting. Her recent accomplishment includes receiving the Research, Engagement and Academic Diversity Grant for her performance web series, “Percussion Works by Women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+.”