Relevant Tones is a weekly exploration of the most fascinating time in classical music: right now. From up-and-coming firebrands to established artists, this program celebrates the dynamic and diverse musical creations of modern-day composers from around the world.
With its informative, yet engagingly down-to-earth presentation, Relevant Tones seeks to make contemporary music accessible to diehard classical music fans while attracting new and younger listeners. Host, composer, and Executive Director of Access Contemporary Music Seth Boustead draws from the entire classical music canon to put modern-day compositions in context, exploring the social and musical influences on their creation. Guest appearances by composers and performers are a vital part of the program, offering a first-person perspective that gives insight and depth to their art form and its creation.
Since launching in July 2011 on WFMT in Chicago, Relevant Tones has garnered significant praise from critics and listeners alike. Examiner.com named it one of the best shows in the world for new classical music, and ChicagoMusic.org says that it is “changing the way audiences experience modern music.” Listener response has been equally positive, with fans praising Boustead’s “invigorating selections,” “enlightening commentary” and hailing the show as a “long-overdue addition” of new music to the station’s programming.
About Seth Boustead
Seth Boustead received his Master of Music Composition degree from the Chicago College for the Performing Arts where he studied with Stacy Garrop, Patricia Morehead and Robert Lombardo. His music is regularly performed across the United States and in Europe and has been heard on radio and television stations in Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Paris among others. Recent commissions include music for Chicago Opera Vanguard, Bruce Mau Design and the Moving Architects.
A passionate advocate of silent film, Seth started the Sound of Silent Film Festival in 2005 featuring newly composed music performed live to modern silent films. Seth has composed music for short films by Guy Maddin, David Less, the Brothers Quay and Rodrigo Assad and has accompanied silent films on piano at several festivals around the country. Many of the films screened at the Sound of Silent Film Festival were created expressly for it.
Seth is the co-founder and Executive Director of Accessible Contemporary Music, a Chicago based organization dedicated to the promotion of music by living composers. While under his leadership ACM started many of its signature programs such as Weekly Readings, Composer Alive, the ACM School of Music, and the High School Composer’s Workshop, and he has been instrumental in growing the audience for ACM’s live events.
He is the co-producer of the 2007 documentary film Composer Alive: Eastern Expressions, and also wrote music for the film and appears in it. The film has been shown on WTTW in Chicago and been screened in Palo Alto, CA and Portland, OR. Seth is the host and producer of the monthly radio show Relevant Tones which features the music of contemporary composers. A frequent guest on radio shows around the Chicago area, Seth has also been heard talking about contemporary music on Chicago Public Radio, WGN, WFMT and WLUW.
A frequent guest speaker, Seth has given lectures and appeared on panel presentations at conferences around the country and at UNAM in Mexico City. He has spoken about diverse topics such as fundraising for non-profits, public relations, new directions in contemporary classical music and composing for film.
Seth has been interviewed by or had writings appear in a wide variety of publications including Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Composition Today, New Music Box of the American Music Center and Chamber Music Magazine. He currently lives with his wife in Chicago’s uptown neighborhood and, when not playing, writing or thinking about music, he enjoys reading, doing the NY Times crossword puzzle, biking, and pretending that he actually knows something about wine.
About Jesse McQuarters
Jesse McQuarters came to work for WFMT after graduating from the School of Music at Indiana University, where he earned degrees in double bass performance and audio engineering. Since moving to Chicago, he has worked extensively as a radio producer, bassist, teacher, and recording engineer.
Jesse produces the internationally syndicated radio program Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin, which has over 500,000 listeners every day. As a producer for the WFMT Radio Network, Jesse has also collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Lang Lang, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Northwestern University, the Ravinia Festival, Gabriela Montero, James Conlon, and many others.
As a bassist, Jesse has had the opportunity to play extensively in and around Chicago, at venues such as Orchestra Hall, the Green Mill, the Athenaeum Theatre, the Chicago Cultural Center, and countless others. He is on the double bass faculty of the Colorado Suzuki Institute and the Music Institute of Chicago, and his articles have been published in the Journal of the International Society of Bassists.