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How Seattle shapes electric cellist Gretchen Yanover

Seattle is a city that likes to experiment. From big tech to bold coffee, glass gardens to snow-capped mountains, Seattleites like to think outside the box — heck, even our hot dogs are a little unconventional. Our skyline's defining landmark is designed to look like a flying saucer from outer space.

So it's only natural that this same inventive spirit carries over into our music. From grunge to rock, pop, hip-hop, and the avant-garde, Seattle music has always been defined by open ears and open minds — shaped by a DIY aesthetic and set free to evolve and mutate in relative geographic isolation.

And those sonic experiments have led us to some pretty fascinating places. In this three-part series, Classical KING FM 98.1 explores the work of three artists who embody Seattle classical: the innovative, the unusual, and the unexpected.

It was "love at first sound" for Gretchen Yanover when she first picked up the cello in sixth grade. Years later, she discovered a way to multiply and amplify that feeling.

With an electric cello in hand and a loop pedal under foot, Yanover is her own one-woman band. Playing and layering her melodies, she crafts instrumental atmospheres that grow and transform onstage. She traces her musical roots to Seattle public schools and her inspiration to the natural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. Every once in a while, you might catch a glimmer of Seattle rain in a softly pitter-pattering pizzicato bassline, a whisper of wind through the evergreen trees, or an echo of the Pacific Ocean waves crashing against the shore.

These days, you can catch Yanover on any number of Seattle stages, from parks to bars, art galleries, and even the Sea-Tac Airport — and you're equally likely to find her playing her acoustic cello in concert halls with Northwest Sinfonietta. Her introspective sound and ear for texture have branched out into new collaborations with dancers across the city.

In this video, she talks with Seattle's Classical KING FM 98.1 about breaking down barriers, finding peace and movement, and how the Pacific Northwest has shaped her music.

Watch more videos featuring Gretchen Yanover:

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Maggie Molloy