A new twist on classic: Bellevue’s Resonance changes how the Eastside looks at music

When the din of construction falls quiet during the evening in Downtown Bellevue, some residents listening closely might hear the strains of classical music on 106th Avenue Northeast.

When the din of construction falls quiet during the evening in Downtown Bellevue, some residents listening closely might hear the strains of classical music on 106th Avenue Northeast.

At that address, a small theater has been building its presence as a center for performing arts on the Eastside.

Resonance at SOMA Towers invites classical, jazz and folk musicians to check out its cozy interior, welcoming green room and foyer and hall designed for ideal acoustics. It opened a year ago when the first of the two SOMA Towers on 106th Avenue Northeast opened, and has been curating musical programs and events since.

Kristopher Jenkins, the events, sales and marketing manager for the performing arts center, said those in the know have already enjoyed world-class talent in the second-story, 3,200-square-foot venue.

“In the last year we’ve produced 32 events, but when you add self-produced events, it’s way more than that,” he said.

Resonance, while hosting some of the best jazz, world and classical musicians in the Northwest, is also available for rent for recitals and shows. Music Works Northwest, for example, has used the facility to display both student and instructor performances.

Su Development is behind the SOMA Towers and Resonance. Thanks to the company’s founder, John Su, its developments in Bellevue have a community touch to them. The Elements apartment building on 111th Avenue Northeast in Downtown Bellevue took a different tack, working with nonprofits and artists for works of art to help beautify the area.

“The challenge they had was finding a way to make it self-sustainable,” Jenkins said. “Music, they thought, might have a chance to be more successful.”

Su believed that a community music space might add life to otherwise quiet Bellevue streets at night. Large windows swing outward in the green room to allow the music to reach the street.

Last Saturday, the center hosted pianist Irwin Shung as part of its “Musician’s Notebook” series. Shung, who curates the series, presented “Under the Hood: Understanding Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata, op. 57.”

He spoke with the audience about “how the piece works” in terms of the composer’s creative process before performing the piece in its entirety.

The Musician’s Notebook series allows musicians to take an education or non-traditional look at classical music.

Three other series and two partnerships round out Resonance’s schedule. Classical FM radio station King FM is one of those partnerships, and it will have a performance on stage on Nov. 12.

Jenkins is particularly excited to continue “First Friday Salons,” a series of performances reminiscent of 19th century salons, in which musicians would invite friends to their homes and perform for them in intimate and informal settings.

The Salon nights at Resonance are an informal, social and interactive musical experience.

The programming is rounded out with a partnership with the Eastside Jazz Club and a program called The Universal Language Project that is intended to transcend age, language and experience with the power of music.

“Our big challenge has been reaching out to the community,” Jenkins said. “We have fantastic programs, but not many people know about them yet.”

The next performance at Resonance is this Saturday, Oct. 22, when the Pacific Music Works puts on a show with Stylus Fantasticus as part of the Resonance Masters Series.

That group is a quartet showcasing violin music of the 17th century in the free and “fantastic” style from its origins in Italy and development in Austria.