The Kirkland Performance Center will host the Whisperings Solo Piano Radio All Star Concert on March 4, which will feature performances from international artists and an album of the year award ceremony.
The event is nearly sold out and aims to offer the unique experience of an in-person radio broadcast. Beginning at 3 p.m., 16 Whispering artists, including nominees for album of the year, will have six minutes to perform their piece and explain the story behind it.
“These concerts are really designed more for the listener to get a huge dose of solo piano than to give the listener a huge dose of one person’s solo piano,” said Joe Bongiorno, a Whisperings artist. “It’s really designed for the audience, it may not be necessarily be the ideal for an artist to perform but for a lot of artists this is still a great opportunity to get up their and showcase their favorite song.”
Bongiorno has been involved with Whisperings radio as an artist in 2004. He performs on Whisperings radio, helps organize concerts and helps produce numerous albums, including Whisperings compilation albums.
“Between my music and the recording studio, it keeps me pretty busy,” Bongiorno said. “It’s a great living.”
Numerous artists who regularly perform on the radio will attend the concert and spend the whole weekend networking with their fellow musicians.
The Whisperings All Star Concert has typically been hosted in Los Angeles since the first event in 2013. Now in its fifth year, the concert has moved to the KPC.
“We had done it for four years and I get bored easily,” said David Nevue, the founder of Whisperings radio. “After last year, as much fun as it was, I felt like it was becoming the same thing every year and I decided that I wanted to change things up … I thought if getting a new venue in a new city gets me excited about doing it again then it’ll maybe get artists excited.”
Nevue started Whisperings radio as a way to help him develop his own work, but it quickly grew into an international station that streams through their website, solopianoradio.com. Nevue said he began receiving multiple albums to be played on-air and as a natural byproduct of that, he created the Whispering Album of the Year award in 2006.
Whisperings artists were already gathering in L.A. for an annual conference, so the group decided to start making an event out of it.
“We said, “why don’t we do this every year?’” Nevue said. “Every year, more and more of the Whisperings artists would just come to hang out and go to the conference together … It just became this fun thing where we would have all the nominees perform [along with] other popular artists from the broadcast.”
More artists will attend this event than any previous All Star concert, according to Nevue. The concert may stay in the Seattle area for a time, but Nevue said he’s open to changing the city and venue to keep the event fresh.
Tickets for the event cost up to $50 and while the music is classical, attendees are encouraged to dress casually and comfortably.
According to Bongiorno, many of the attending artists enjoy interacting with Whisperings listeners in the casual setting.
“This is not your stuffy classical piano concert where everybody is dressed to the hilt and super silent,” Bongiorno said. “There’s an opportunity to meet all of the performers before, during intermission and after the concert.”
Bongiorno will perform at the event and said he anticipates a large turnout from Whisperings’ Seattle following.
“We’re trying to showcase the broadcast and showcase the variety of music,” he said. “The whole thing is really about the whole weekend and it’s all about networking and making new friends in the piano world.”