Steve Seel

Steve Seel possesses a broad knowledge of many musical genres, having hosted radio programs ranging from classical to jazz and even avant-garde music at public radio stations around the country. Steve came to Minnesota Public Radio in 1999 to be a part of its nationally-syndicated classical music programming. In 2005, he became one of the founding voices on MPR's eclectic station The Current, and has hosted various time slots from mornings to late nights, and conducted in-depth interviews with pop music luminaries ranging from Brian Eno to David Byrne to Tori Amos. Steve is an avid reader of political and social commentary as well, and he emcees The Current's popular Policy and a Pint community series, featuring discussions with noted scholars, politicians, community leaders, authors and big thinkers on important issues of the day. Steve is also a basement composer obsessed with all things both minimalist and slow, and might actually be incapable of writing anything that exceeds 75 beats-per-minute.

Stories

Extra Eclectic: Glenn Kotche's Classical Forays

His day job is drummer for the band Wilco. But Glenn Kotche has also distinguished himself as an accomplished composer of classical music, writing for ensembles including the Kronos Quartet and Eighth Blackbird, in addition to performing the percussion instruments on his own pieces himself. In this edition of Extra Eclectic, Steve Seel features Glenn Kotche with both Kronos and Eighth Blackbird in one grand ensemble. That plus music by John Cage, Evan Ziporyn, Nico Muhly, and more.

Extra Eclectic: Peteris Vasks' "Distant Light"

"For most people today, the spiritual dimension has been lost. My intention is to provide food for the soul, and this is what I preach in my works," says Latvian composer Peteris Vasks. His Violin Concerto, "Distant Light," provides ample food for the soul on this week's program. Steve Seel also features spiritual-themed works from Terry Riley ("Sun Rings: One Earth, One People, One Love") and James Wilson ("The Green Fuse"), and music by Evan Ziporyn, Daniel Wohl, and Sarah Kirkland Snider.

Extra Eclectic: Bryce Dessner's Double Piano Concerto

From the classic 20th-century minimalism of Steve Reich's "Pulse" and the electronica-tinged "Scale of Volitility" by Emilie Levianaise-Farrouch, to Bryce Dessner's dramatic, sweeping "Concerto for Two Pianos" written for Katia and Marielle Labeque, Steve Seel has the gamut of sounds from minimalism to "maximal-ism" mapped out on this week's program. Steve also features works by Keith Jarrett, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Terry Riley, and more.

Extra Eclectic: Bela Fleck's "Juno Concerto"

If you think that a banjo can't play with a symphony orchestra, don't tell banjo great Bela Fleck. In fact, Fleck's "Juno Concerto" is the second time he's written a concerto for banjo and orchestra. Steve Seel plays Fleck's amazing work on this week's program. In the second hour, it's an array of contemplative modern works, from Arvo Part, Georgs Pelecis, and an award winning composer who hails from the Canadian Northwest Territories, Carmen Braden.

Extra Eclectic: Arvo Part's "Blank Slate"

In 1968, Arvo Part essentially went dark. He stopped composing for several years as he entered a period of, as he called it, "artistic reorientation." When he re-emerged, he had a completely new style. One of the major works he created during this time was one that had a particularly appropriate title for him -- Tabula Rasa, or "blank slate." Steve Seel shares it on this week's program, in addition to some other works from the Baltic region, including Estonia's Erkki-Sven Tuur and Latvia's Peteris Vasks.

Extra Eclectic: The Winter Solstice

As we approach the winter solstice this week, Steve Seel has music in a chilly mood this time ... or is it a warm one? Bundle up and enjoy 20th and 21st century classical music on wintry themes from Johann Johannssen, Alan Hovhanness and Ola Gjelo, as well as cellist Maya Beiser's ethereal rendering of the largo from Vivaldi's Winter concerto and Minnesota violinist Gaelynn Lea's duet with her looping pedal in a beautiful rendition of "O Come O Come Emmanuel."

Extra Eclectic: Strings and Seasons

Modern music for strings is the first order of business on this week's program: Steve Seel brings us an hour of 20th and 21st century works for string ensembles big and small -- from Steve Reich's "Duet" for two violins to Michael Tippett's "Concerto for Double String Orchestra," a piece from the 1930s which sounds like it could have been written yesterday. For the second hour, Steve plays a selection of works loosely inspired by the shorter days and cooler temperatures this time of year.

Extra Eclectic: Sounds of the Spirit

There's a spiritual dimension to the works Steve Seel has for us on this edition of Extra Eclectic. Arvo Part's "Fur Alina," Jennifer Higdon's "Blue Cathedral," and John Luther Adams' "Canticles of the Holy Wind" are among the compositions that create an atmosphere of reverence among the contemporary sounds on the first hour of the program. In the second hour, Steve features David Kirkland Garner's "Dark Holler," a work exploring the sounds and atmospheres of the rural American south.

Extra Eclectic: Danny Elfman Writes a Violin Concerto

Danny Elfman has written over 100 film and TV scores, from Tim Burton's Batman to the theme from The Simpsons. He says that from time to time, however, he finds that he has to write orchestral music totally free from the influence of film, in order to "keep my sanity" -- a process he says he finds "incredibly liberating and relieving." His latest is his Violin Concerto, "Eleven Eleven," and it's featured on this week's show. Ward Jacobsen guest hosts.