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'Unusual Suspects' with Shelley Washington

Composer and saxophonist Shelley Washington.
Peter Yankowsky
Composer Shelley Washington.

What instruments do you think of when you think of classical music? The piano? Perhaps the mighty orchestral instruments? On this week's Sound Currents, composer Shelley Washington joins us for a show exploring new music that features unexpected instruments from around the world.

New music has dipped its toes bravely into a whole new world of sounds with the experimentation of musical instruments from around the globe. We’re talking about everything from the shimmering sounds of the gamelan and the wailing cries of the erhu to everyday objects like flower pots. Today’s show features those experimental sounds on an episode we’re calling: Unusual Suspects.

This week's guest is saxophonist and composer Shelley Washington.

Be sure to answer this week's "favorite piece" poll down below and check out an online exclusive: A Cup of Kindness by Joseph Curiale.

Sascha Groschang
Laurel Parks

Shelley Washington, saxophonist and composer

A Kind of Lung
by Shelley Washington
Bang On A Can with Naomi Johnson - flute; Erlan Kasabolotov - sabyzgy; Hunter Long - Paetzold contrabass recorder; Khushbakht Niyozov - rubab; Sayat Yeshmatov - dombra; Shannon Reilly Steigerwald - violin; Nick Photinos - cello; Nadezda Filippova - piano; Caitlin Cawley and Kevin Zetina - percussion

by Shelley Washington
Schiele Quartet

Boris Kerner
by Caroline Shaw
New Morse Code: Hannah Collins - cello; Michael Compitello - percussion

Suite for Violin with American Gamean: V - Chaconne
by Lou Harrison / Richard Dee
Boston Modern Orchestra Project with Gabriela Diaz - violin

Pipa Concerto: IV - Allegro vivace
by Tan Dun
Moscow Soloists with Wu Man - pipa

Bonus Content
Enjoy a bonus piece: 'A Cup of Kindness' by Joseph Curiale, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra with Karen Han on erhu, a two-stringed bowed musical instrument from China. Hear how Sascha almost got in trouble with airport security bringing an erhu home from China and what childhood TV show this work reminds Laurel of.
Composer Joseph Curiale.

Did any pieces we included this week stand out to you?
Let us know using the form below!

Sascha Groschang is a host for Sound Currents on 91.9 Classical KC.
Laurel Parks is a host for Sound Currents on 91.9 Classical KC.
Sam Wisman is a Senior Producer for 91.9 Classical KC and a backup announcer for KCUR 89.3. Email him at
Brooke Knoll is the digital audience specialist and on-air host for Classical KC. You can reach her at