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International Fountain Music

Did you know?

Music plays an important part in fully experiencing International Fountain. The 120-foot high supershooters and dome-mounted water jets are choreographed to move with pre-programmed music, including Aaron Copeland’s “Billy the Kid,” Duke Ellington, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and a mix from Northwest rock ‘n roll legends. 

But when the fountain waters flow in a more constant fleur de lie pattern, the music becomes more personal to Seattle Center, curated to correspond with the seasons and activities on the grounds. That portion of the musical mix, which went on hiatus at the start of the pandemic, returned at the beginning of this month. 

Image of Seattle Center's International Fountain with people playing in the water.
Seattle Center’s International Fountain

Since 2001, it has been orchestrated by a highly talented local musician and music producer, James Whetzel, who has drawn on his areas of expertise as an ethnomusicologist to bring an eclectic mix of music from all over the world to International Fountain. In the summer, James’s fountain playlists feature more upbeat tempos. In the winter, the music slows down and becomes more atmospheric. The pieces he selects often pay tribute to events on the grounds, like Seattle Center Festál, or highlight resident productions, like those at Seattle Opera or Pacific Northwest Ballet.    

Over the years, James has put together hundreds of biweekly fountain playlists. Each has 35 to 50 tracks running the gamut from classical to modern. He sees his first priority as providing an inviting atmosphere for people to interact with the fountain. KNKX just took a look at his music curation. The music also streams inside Seattle Center Armory.

Click here to hear Jame’s latest playlist.

#seattlecenter #didyouknow #music #internationalfountain

About Seattle Center: 

Connect to the extraordinary at Seattle Center, an active civic, arts and family gathering place in the core of our region. More than 30 cultural, educational, sports and entertainment organizations that reside on the grounds, together with a broad range of public and community programs, create thousands of events on the 74-acre campus and attract over 12 million visitors each year. At Seattle Center, part of Uptown Arts & Cultural District, our purpose is to create exceptional events, experiences and environments that delight and inspire the human spirit to build stronger communities. Activities at the Center generate $1.864 billion in business activity and $631 million in labor income.