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Author: Garrett McQueen and Scott Blankenship

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"True and real conversations that challenge the status quo of classical music."
62 Episodes
Opus 60 - Kalmyé

Opus 60 - Kalmyé


When Anthony McGill took two knees, "classical music" institutions everywhere stopped. He talks with Garrett and Scott about what inspired him to create #TakeTwoKnees, and offers his opinions on the discussion of the audition screen. Scott shares his growing relationship with the music of DaBaby, and Garrett reminisces, with the help of some 90s R&B. Playlist: Kanye West feat. Travis Scott - Wash Us In The Blood Brandy - Sittin' Up In My Room Benjamin Britten - Diversions on a Theme (Op. 21) Deux Filles - Oh How We Laughed DaBaby - Rock Star arr. Celestial - Weak (SWV) More: Black Music Matters Rally: Robert Komaniecki on Twitter: "Don't End Blind Auditions":​ On the late Leon Fleisher: Celestial on YouTube: The Joe Budden Podcast: ​
Opus 59 - "Manscaped"

Opus 59 - "Manscaped"


Juan Pablo Contreras is a composer who unapologetically celebrates the sounds of Mexico in his music, and with the help of New Music USA, he'll be doing even more of it, with a commission from the Las Vegas Philharmonic. He talks with Garrett about writing with a Mexican sound, and how orchestras can do more to engage America's Spanish-speaking communities. Scott unpacks some of his latest feelings about growing older, and Garrett draws on a quote by Nicki Minaj to remind people to respect the work (and time) of Black creators. Playlist: It It - "Jath" John Williams - The Imperial March DaBaby - "Rock Star" (arr. Ezinma) Valerie Coleman - 7 O'clock Shout Florence Price - Child Asleep, Down a Southern Lane Kyle Gann - Going to Bed (Homage to Philip Glass) William Grant Still - Summerland Jose Pablo Moncayo - Huapango Arturo Marquez - Danzon No. 2 Juan Pablo Contreras - Mariachitlan, Silencio en Juarez More: Demarre McGill: Jeri Lynn Johnson/Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra: Katie Brown: Boulanger Initiative: Youth Orchestra Los Angeles: Lara Downes: New Music USA: Juan Pablo Contreras: "Commentary: In the Time of COVID-19, a Plea for Classical Music": Robert Komaniecki tweet:
When the curtain or "screen" was introduced into the world of orchestral auditions, many hoped that this would result in more racially diverse orchestras. It hasn't yet proven to do so, but musicians like Adedeji Ogunfolu still swear by it. He tells Garrett why that is, and sheds light on how his challenges as a musician paved the way for another passion. Scott reacts to seeing "Django Unchained" for the first time, and Garrett reacts to the drama surrounding Nick Cannon. Episode Playlist: Jeff Scott - "Startin' Something'" Marga Richter - Concerto for Piano, Violas, Cellos, and Basses Traditional - "Steal Away" Florence Price - Piano Concerto in One Movement arr. String Queens - "Glory" Jim Croce - "I've Got a Name" Giuseppe Verdi - Dies Irae Rick Ross - 100 Black Coffins Ludwig van Beethoven - Fur Elise Megan Thee Stallion - "Ratchet" More: Speaker Geeker Podcast: Composer or Kanye West?: Black Artists on How to Change Classical Music: To Make Orchestras More Diverse, End Blind Auditions: ​
"Cancel culture" has rocked the world of social media for a while now, but a man named Paul Robeson was once cancelled by the US government in real life! Garrett chats with Cesare Civetta about the often overlooked legacy of Mr. Robeson, and Scott tackles the cognitive dissonance of being an ally while maintaining a position of power. Garrett and Scott also continue their closer look at so-called "country" music. ​ Episode Playlist: Kanye West - "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" Lady A - "Doin' Fine" Keb' Mo' - "Every Morning" Charlie Pride - "Between You and Me" Dolly Parton - "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" Crystal Gayle - "Take Me Home" Giuseppe Verdi - "Salve, Allah" from Il Corsaro Pete Seeger - "Joe Hill" Traditional - "Goin' Home" Jerome Kern - "Ol Man River" More: TRILLOQUY in the Star Tribune: TRILLOQUY on 91Classical: "A Letter on Justice and Open Debate": Cesare Civetta's website:
Did you know that Minister Louis Farrakhan is a violinist? After 42 years of focusing on his ministry, Mr. Farrakhan returned to the stage back in 1993, which marked the beginning of the all-Black Gateways Music Festival, and the continued conversations concerning his controversial persona. Garrett and Scott explore this with Amanda Cook from I Care If You Listen, and with Caroline Jones, who helped make that historic event possible. The guys also honor the late Ennio Morricone, and address listener feedback concerning "roots" music. Playlist: Ennio Morricone - Once Upon a Time in the West/The Hateful Eight; Judd Greenstein - "Change"; Felix Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto in e minor
All American music is Black music - even if people don't think so. Garrett and Scott explore this idea as it applies to the music of Shea Diamond, Megan Thee Stallion, Kane Brown, and many others. Titus Underwood, Principal Oboe of the Nashville Symphony, talks about Black enlightenment, his recent furlough, and the events that prevented his previous appearance on TRILLOQUY. Scott challenges an opinion by Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and Garrett lays out his frustrations with Grammophone and NPR Classical. Episode playlist: Shea Diamond, "American Pie", Modest Mussorgsky, "Night on Bald Mountain", Matthew Tyler, "Etude for Elijah McClain", Megan Thee Stallion, "Girls in the Hood", Eric Whitacre/Joby Burgess, "Sleep", Starbuck, "Moonlight Feels Right", Kane Brown, "Heaven"
Garrett and Scott wrap up Pride month with an opus featuring Marvell Terry, who brings an interesting conversation at the intersection of HIV awareness, music, and the Black queer experience. Rob Deemer offers a verbal response to recent critique, Scott reminds non-Black people to "read the room", and Garrett recalls his experiences exploring Black thought leaders of years past. ​Playlist: John Corigliano - Symphony No. 1 Lichens - "The Psychic Nature of Being" Shea Diamond - "American Pie"
As promised, here's Garrett's extended interview with the incomparable, Stephanie Matthews! Be sure to check out her work here at
Sometimes organizations, individuals, and institutions get it right. Other times, they just get it...white. Garrett and Scott explore this idea as it applies to the Institute for Composer Diversity, the police, and more. Garrett chats with Stephanie Matthews about transitioning into pop music as a classically trained violinist, and Scott drags Zachary Woolfe. Playlist: Gustav Holst - Japanese Suite Nina Simone - "Ain't Got No/I Got Life" Mary J. Blige - "I'm Goin' Down" Rachel's - Music for Egon Schiele NWA - "Fuk Da Police"
Everyone knows the name Derek Chauvin at this point, but do you know about the Black piano player named Louis Chauvin? The guys explore the more nefarious side of his legacy, and his relationship with Scott Joplin. Scott (Blankenship) reacts to the idea of white tears being violent, and offers a challenge to white-led orchestras. In honor of Black Music Appreciation Month, Garrett chats with Alicia Waller about her latest album, "Some Hidden Treasure", and Garrett and Scott unpack "The Birdcage" in honor of Pride Month. Listen: "Some Hidden Treasure" - Alicia Waller and the Excursions "Heliotope Bouquet" - Louis Chauvin/Scott Joplin Watch: "The Birdcage" (dir. Mike Nichols) "Scott Joplin" (dir. Jeremy Kagan)
Opus 51 - Our Town

Opus 51 - Our Town


The season two premiere of TRILLOQUY features a conversation between the Garrett and Scott about the current unrest in the Twin Cities, and across the country. Garrett speaks with Chicago-based composer Adrian Dunn about Black ownership in classical music, and his relationship with a piece of music that everyone is listening to in light of George Floyd's murder. Playlist: Aaron Copland - Our Town Joel Thompson - Seven Last Words of the Unarmed Traditional - Soon Ah Will Be Done
The season one finale of Trilloquy features a conversation between Garrett and Am're Ford, who works as a composer, educator and founding director of a nonprofit arts organization. Ford shares his perspective on music education and discusses what he’s learned from starting a summer arts program. Garrett and Scott also share some big news about the future of Trilloquy. ​Episode Playlist Naughty by Nature - "O.P.P." Steely Dan - "Black Cow" Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz - "Deja Vu" Drake - "Emotionless" J. Cole - "Middle Child"
Opus 49 - "High" Art

Opus 49 - "High" Art


After fighting against classical music’s rigidly outdated practices as a music teacher, composer and euphoniumist John DelVento decided to take his talents into the world of commercial film and TV music. He chats with Garrett and Scott in this opus about what led to that shift, and he offers his advice for music educators seeking a relevant way to introduce new students to instrumental performance. In honor of 4/20, Garrett and Scott spend the prelude exploring the intersection of classical music and cannabis. Episode Playlist Sergei Lyapunov – ‘Hashish’ Symphony Hector Berlioz – ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ Hildegard von Bingen – ‘Alleluia’ Hugo Schmidt – ‘The Devil’s Tongue’
This opus of Trilloquy features part two of a conversation with Maestro Brandon Keith Brown, who filed a racial discrimination suit after he was fired as Brown University’s music director back in 2017. Since then, he’s conducted orchestras in several countries, and he chats with Garrett about how racism in classical music isn’t just an American issue – it’s a global one. ​Episode Playlist Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 10
Opus 47 - Brown vs. Brown

Opus 47 - Brown vs. Brown


In 2017, Maestro Brandon Keith Brown was named music director at Brown University. A few weeks later, he was fired. The resulting racial discrimination suit that he filed in 2019 has opened up some interesting conversations in the world of classical music. In this opus, Brandon shares his side of the story with Garrett. Garrett and Scott open up this opus with a look at the ongoing impact of social distancing.
Orchestras are starting to program more works by women and composers of color, but today those performances are nearly outnumbered by the programming of works by a single composer: Beethoven. That's just one of the surprising statistics professor Rob Deemer has discovered through his work with the Institute for Composer Diversity. He joins Garrett and Scott in this opus to talk numbers and explore why orchestras may want to program “a little less Beethoven.” Playlist My Favorite Things (arr. John Coltrane)
Opus 45 - Privileged

Opus 45 - Privileged


According to musician and arts administrator Janis Lane-Ewart, the best way to keep the spirit of Women’s History Month alive year-round is by sparking a sense of curiosity about ALL the women in your life. In this opus, she chats with Garrett about her experiences in music to conclude Trilloquy’s look at Women’s History. Garrett and Scott also offer a few of their Women’s History Month stand-outs, and they conclude the opus with a Janis-dedicated performance by pianist Lara Downes. ​ Episode Playlist Amanda Röntgen-Maier - Violin Concerto Kate Moore & Ashley Bathgate - Stories for Ocean Shells Amina Claudine Myers - African Blues Dinah Washington - What a Difference a Day Makes Florence Price - First Romance
The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a huge impact on the financial wellness of musicians. In this opus, Garrett and Scott share ways that you can support artists during the crisis. This opus also features a conversation with Blair Tindall, author of Mozart in the Jungle, and a peek into the new album by Singapore-based bassoonist Jo Anne Sukumaran! ​ ​Episode Playlist Modest Mussorgsky - “Tuileries (Children's Quarrel after Games)” from Pictures at an Exhibition Jo Anne Sukumaran - The Night Garden
Opus 43 - Metal!

Opus 43 - Metal!


Being one of the few black woman conductors in the world isn’t the only thing that sets Kalena Bovell apart. In this opus, she chats with Garrett and Scott about her journey to the podium and her deep admiration for metal! To frame the conversation, Garrett and Scott draw connections between rock and classical, and they shout out the black woman who codified the sound of rock ’n’ roll guitar: Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Episode Playlist Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonata No. 14 “Moonlight” (arr. Tina Setkic) Metallica – “Nothing Else Matters” (arr. Soren Madsen) Evanescence – “Lacrymosa” (after Mozart)
In February 2019, Garrett recorded his very first Trilloquy conversation with Katie Brown and Dalanie Harris, hosts of the “Classically Black” podcast. The two return in this opus to chat with Garrett and Scott about the benefits and challenges of hosting a classical music podcast, and they offer their perspectives on real solutions to classical music’s lack of diversity. ​Episode Playlist Dobrinka Tabakova – Concerto for Cello and Strings Jessie Montgomery – Starburst Anna S. Thorvaldsdóttir – Metacosmos Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 1 Nils Boltman – Troubadour Blue DaBaby – “Shut Up” (arr. Michael Matas)
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