John Boylan’s Next Conversation: “Making Music”

Update: We’ve lost guest Hollis Wong-Wear; she inadvertently double booked.

We’ve replaced Hollis with pianist and composer Dayton Allemann, who lives to think about and make music. Bio below. Do come.

And if you were looking forward to seeing Hollis, you can see and hear her at the Love City Love fundraiser this Wednesday night, with Iska Dhaff and Kingdom Crumbs.  ( Go.

Event Date: Tuesday, September 17 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm

Admission is free. Tell your friends.

This roundtable conversation series happens at Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle ( For more information on the series, call John Boylan at 206-601-9848. If you want to link to this announcement, you can do so at

A history of the conversations is available at

The Summary

We’re back! This time we’ll be looking at making music, from a particularly cross-genre point of view. The list of guests is truly wonderful.

Read on for the details.

The Guests (see the bios below)

Hanna Benn, musician, vocalist, composer

Evan Flory-Barnes, bassist and composer

Steve Peters, musician, sound artist, producer, writer

Dayton Allemann, pianist and composer

The Story

I’ve been wanting to do a music conversation for some time now. We did three discussions about sound a while back, but never anything specifically about music. This one came out of a conversation with Hanna Benn, who seems to me to live in a cross-genre world, moving through classical composition, popular, and experimental music, and sometimes doing so in the same work. I want to look at that freedom of bending genres, but I also want go into the question as to whether or not such conventional divisions in music even exist.

I’m a perennial novice in listening to and thinking about music. It strikes me that music is a stew of frequencies and tempos, chords and harmonies, thoroughly mixed and seasoned with some amount of magic: some amazing juxtaposition, some surprise, a little play between major and minor keys. It took me a long time to realize that music comes from an interplay between physics, innate human psychology, and diverse cultural conventions that have developed over centuries.

I want to learn more about how that magic works, as seen through the lens of what working composers and performers think and do, especially in terms of a mixing of the conventions and frameworks for what music is.

We have an excellent group of guests. But I know hundreds of amazing musicians in Seattle and could have chosen another four to create a completely different conversation (which I may do down the road). For now, I hope some of them show up for this discussion; the point of a roundtable rather than a formal panel is that we draw from diverse and sometimes unexpected sources.

I’m also impressed with the amount and quality of music happening here. Last night I stopped by “LoveCityLove,” a pop-up music venue initiated by Lucien Pellegrin, where two of our guests, Evan and Hollis, were doing musical improv with the ever-excellent musician and impresario Amos Miller. For a couple of hours, it was the best place in town to be. The same happen with Steve Peters’s Nonsequitur events in the Chapel in Wallingford and numerous other corners of this town.

Do come. This will be good.

The Guests in Detail

Dayton Allemann is a pianist and composer based in Seattle. He is heavily engaged in programming and creating electronics to integrate live music with digital media; primarily real-time video.

Originally from California, Dayton graduated from Cornish College of the Arts and went from there to Germany, where he worked as accompanist and performer for the Nationaltheater Mannheim and the Hamburg Ballet. This led to commissions for ballets and other dance pieces and collaboration on experimental choreography projects.

With his company “Magpai Production Group,” he toured extensively in Europe. He was co-founder of the theater space “La Fragua” in Spain, where he led weekly experimental workshops for musicians and visual artists which gave rise to collaborative performances in several festivals including the Biennale Lyon, ImpulsTanz Vienna, Dimanches de la danse aux Halles de Schaerbeek Brussels, AlterArte Alicante, and Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis.

Returning to Seattle in 2007, Dayton played for the Pacific Northwest Ballet and collaborates on theatrical and musical projects (Cafe Nordo, The Spyrographs, DAE, LoFi) and gives solo performances (“Shoulder,” “Der Komet”).

Currently, he works extensively with Arduino and other microprocessor systems to create live performances that integrate acoustic instruments and sensor arrays.

Hanna Benn is a composer, vocalist, and musician currently residing in Seattle, WA. She is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts, where she studied composition and sacred vocal music with Bern Herbolsheimer, Jarrad Powell, and Jessika Kenney. She is the lead singer and co-founder of Pollens (Tapete Records), a Seattle-based experimental pop band. Her works and arrangements have been performed by various ensembles including St. Marks Cathedral Choir (Seattle), Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Saint Helen’s String Quartet, Seattle Chamber Players, Opus 7, Fleet Foxes, Campfire OK, and Christ Church Cathedral Choir (Indianapolis). Hanna is currently a member of the choral ensembles The Esoterics and Plymouth Congregational Church Choir. (

Bassist and composer Evan Flory-Barnes is a Seattle native who has been composing and performing music since he attended Garfield High School. He was a member of the award winning symphony orchestra at Garfield while writing music for the hip-hop group Maroon Colony. He is purposeful in his resolve to use his music to remove the barriers imposed on music, musicians, and society – no genres. His vision is to create music that reflects beauty; stirs the emotions; and, enlightens the soul.

Evan’s work spans the depth and breadth of the musical spectrum. His unique creative and expert skills in his art are a natural gift and talent inherited from both sides of his family.  He has been blessed to have benefitted from training and wisdom from his mentors and teachers: Marcus Tsutakawa, Barry Liebermann, Doug Miller, Marc Seales, John Clayton, Rufus Reid, Ray Brown, Francois Rabbath, John Patitucci, Jovino Santos Neto,and Hadley Caliman.

Evan has performed regularly with:  Meklit Hadero, the Marc Seales Quintet, Jovino Santos Neto, Correo Aereo, Skerik’s Bandalabra, Jason Parker Quartet, and Choklate.

Evans’s own bands and orchestra:  Threat of Beauty, Industrial Revelation, The Teaching, Rubato Hug, and Thrown Together With Love. Evan’s transcendence of genres and musical limits has allowed him to collaborate with all of these groups on compositions that augment their musical styles. His peerless performances represent his talent as a composer and artist. (

Steve Peters makes music and sound for a wide range of contexts using environmental recordings, found/natural objects, electronics, various instruments, and human voices, assembled in the studio through an intuitive mix of structure, improvisation, and chance. He played in indie rock bands in Olympia and free improvisation in NYC in the 1980s; in the 90s he lived in New Mexico, where he played with Spanish folk musicians and a Javanese-American gamelan, made radio and sound art, and studied old-time fiddle. He also studied gamelan selonding in Tenganan, Bali. Now focused mainly on site-specific sound installations, he performs with the Seattle Phonographers Union and has collaborated often with visual artists, film makers, and dancers. Since 1989 he’s been Director of Nonsequitur, a non-profit org presenting experimental music and sound art, currently via the Wayward Music Series at the Good Shepherd Center Chapel in Wallingford. He also freelances as a producer, writer, and curator. His work has been released on such labels as Cold Blue, Palace of Lights, Dragon’s Eye, and 12k, and presented at art venues including (locally) Suyama Space, Anchor Art Space, Arts & Nature Festival, Jack Straw Productions, CoCA, Pt. Angeles Fine Arts Center, and Portland Art Center. His sound installation, Lições dos Antepassados (“Lessons from the Ancestors”), was created during a 2011 artist residency in Portugal and will be at Jack Straw New Media Gallery from September 20 – November 8. A collaborative project with visual artist Anna McKee will open at Francine Seders Gallery in October.

Hollis Wong-Wear is a writer, performer, and creative producer. Born in Petaluma California, she currently lives in Seattle. From her roots as a spoken word poet, she has gone on to rap in the hip-hop duo Canary Sing and sing/play keys in the groups The Flavr Blue and The Heartfelts. In 2012, she was featured as a vocalist and songwriter on albums with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Don’t Talk to the Cops, and Bocafloja. Most recently, her band The Flavr Blue appeared at SXSW, the Capitol Hill Block Party, and Bumbershoot. Recent appearances with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis include Good Morning America and Jay Leno. She is currently working on solo material.

Hollis has produced a multitude of events from youth poetry slams to all-ages hip hop shows to a panel series for Bumbershoot. She has also produced seven music videos, including Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop.” She currently works as the Operations Director for Blue Scholars, and performed in February in the original musical “These Streets” at ACT Theater in Seattle. (,,


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