Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Maggie Molloy has had her finger on the pulse of what is new, and what’s very old, in music since she first joined orchestra in grade school. A staple at rock shows in the area for years now, Maggie has always found a thrill in new sounds, new colors, and new dimensions in music. So, it only makes sense that she would host Classical KING’s contemporary classical and experimental music show, Second Inversion.
Maggie graduated summa cum laude from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in piano and she expanded her musical knowledge as a student of experimental composition in Paris at the renowned IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) founded by Pierre Boulez. After spending a year playing the handmade microtonal instruments of Harry Partch in the Partch Ensemble at the University of Washington, Maggie served as a host and pre-concert lecturer at events ranging from the Seattle Opera Gala to the John Cage Musicircus. As a journalist, she has covered international music festivals in New York, Massachusetts, and Tennessee, and her work has been featured in New Sounds, The Stranger, City Arts Magazine, and Critical Read.
When she’s not playing, writing, or hosting her midday show on Classical KING about classical music, Maggie is the keyboardist in an ’80s synth-pop band called Familiars — as always, a classical music student by day and a rock ‘n’ roll concertgoer by night. All the excitement of exploring new musical terrain coincides with Maggie’s deep love of travel. So far, she has set foot on five continents, and in her travels, she has been fortunate enough to experience firsthand the rich musical traditions of Argentina, Chile, France, England, Ireland, Japan, Thailand, and South Africa.
Q&A with Maggie
KING: Let’s say you have a free day to spend somewhere beautiful. Are you heading to the beach or the mountains? In the Pacific Northwest, of course, we have easy access to both.
Maggie: The beach! I grew up swimming competitively, and I’ve always loved the sound of the water.
KING: Favorite type of food?
Maggie: It’s a toss-up between Thai food and Italian. I love noodles of all kinds!
KING: Beatles or Rolling Stones? (Or Bach or Beethoven?)
Maggie: The Beatles. And DEFINITELY Beethoven.
KING: What music might people be surprised to learn you listen to — when you’re not listening to KING, that is?
Maggie: I play synth in an ’80s pop band here in Seattle, and I’m also a huge fan of ska! But honestly, as those who listen to Second Inversion know, I love discovering all different styles of music from all around the globe.
KING: If your classical music collection was entirely vinyl records, which of those records would be nearly worn-out from being played dozens of times? In other words, what music do you come back to, over and over again?
Maggie: Arthur Rubinstein playing Chopin’s Piano Nocturnes — a true classic!
KING: What pieces of music do you turn to when you need comfort, solace, or relaxation?
Maggie: The music of the West African kora player Ballaké Sissoko always transports me to another place, and his live performances are mesmerizing. I’m also obsessed with Pauline Oliveros and her Deep Listening Band — such quietly radical music.
KING: Let’s say you’re hosting a musical dinner party or cocktail party, and you can invite three composers or performers, living or dead. Whom do you invite?
Maggie: I think Meredith Monk, John Cage, and Julius Eastman would have plenty to talk about! Maybe Cage could whip up one of his famous mushroom recipes.