Brett Campbell

 

MusicWatch Weekly: Hell of a spell

Red hot music accompanies sizzling temperatures this weekend in Oregon

Classical music– or at least Classical Revolution PDX — goes to hell this weekend, which pretty much feels like the rest of Oregon for the next few days. Will the infernal heat and vernal music festivals never end? Let’s hope  the former will soon, but not the latter .

Cult of Orpheus
August 17
The Old Church, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of prolific singer/guitarist/composer Christopher Corbell’s latest fascinating song and dance extravaganza — nothing less than a creative reinvention of art song for the 21st century.

Myklebust & Corbell perform at Portland's Old Church.

Myklebust & Corbell perform at Portland’s Old Church.

Poranguí
August 17
Sun Gate Center, 2215 NE Alberta Street, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the multi-instrumentalist’s multicultural music performance.

“The General”
August 17, Ross Ragland Theater, Klamath Falls and August 19, Hollywood Theatre, Portland.
This special revival of the first great movie filmed in Oregon (Cottage Grove) features a new live score composed by renowned Portland film composer Mark Orton, a mainstay of the fab Tin Hat, which he’ll perform live with Tin Hat violinist Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, Mousai Remix String Trio, and Todd Sickafoose.

Sunriver Music Festival
August 18
Sunriver Resort Great Hall
The festival’s closing classical concert features contemporary New York composer Dan Coleman’s Focoso, Schumann’s first symphony, and Bruch’s Kol Nidrei. Israeli American cellist Amit Peled joins the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme.

Early Music In Astoria
August 19-21
Grace Episcopal Church, 1545 Franklin Ave, Astoria.
Musica Maestrale’s first Summer Festival brings together two of Oregon’s leading advocates of historically informed Renaissance and Baroque music performance for four concerts, workshops, talks and demonstrations. Baroque lutenist/guitarist Hideki Yamaya gives a solo recital Friday afternoon. Instrument makers and performers Phil & Gayle Neuman’s Ensemble De Organographia plays Friday evening. The Neumans unleash “extreme early instruments” Saturday afternoon. Saturday night’s Baroque vocal concert stars singer Arwen Myers, Yamaya, acclaimed harpsichordist Gwendolyn Toth (who directs New York’s award winning Artek early music ensemble), and violinist Christine Beckman. There’s even a Sunday picnic for workshop participants, all in a much cooler place than most of the rest of Oregon this weekend.

Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival
August 19, J. Christopher Wines, 17150 NE Hillside Drive
Newberg, & August 21, Elk Cove Vineyards.
This wine-enhanced welcome new addition to Oregon’s bumper crop of summer classical music festivals features experienced violinists Sasha Callahan and Megumi Stohs Lewis, violist and composer Kenji Bunch and cellist Leo Eguchi performing a sweet mix of contemporary and classic compositions. Friday’s concert showcases music of one of Oregon’s finest and ear-friendliest composers, Kenji Bunch (Aria), Zoltan Kodaly’s famous Duo, and Franz Schubert’s a minor string quartet. Sunday’s show includes Bunch’s Three American Folk Hymns, contemporary American master Osvaldo Golijov powerful Tenebrae, and Beethoven’s F major quartet from Op. 18.

Aaron Meyer
August 19
Lajos Balogh Performing Shell, Marylhurst University, 17600 Pacific Highway (Hwy 43) Marylhurst.
The plugged-in violinist does his rock/classical/world music crossover thing at Marylhurst University’s free Summer on the Green concert series.

“In a Landscape”
August 20, Vista House, Columbia Gorge, August 21 Timberline Lodge, and August 23, Tryon Creek State Park, Portland.
Inspired by the Depression era Federal Music and Theater Projects, Oregon native pianist Hunter Noack has created a nine-part series of free concerts of classical music at popular Oregon summer parks and Works Project Administration sites. Guest stars include Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale (during next week’s concerts) and China Forbes (Aug. 20 & 23), Carl Halvorson, Nicholas Crosa and Pansy Chang (Aug. 21), and more.

“Music from Hell”
August 20
Classical Revolution PDX, Dante’s, 350 W Burnside St, Portland.
What with the smoke from forest fires and sweltering weather, last summer’s CRPDX staged show sorta felt like hell, until you got inside for some occasionally heavenly, sometimes earthbound sounds. This time sounds even better, the indie classical outfit, best known for its fun chamber jams, presents original music by Oregon composers Thomas DeNicola, Tristan Bliss, Shelly Strunk, ArtsWatch contributor Jeff Winslow, Robert Bomstad, Joshua Ward (for amplified harp), mandolin master Brian Oberlin, plus hellacious old music by Stravinsky (from The Firebird ballet score), Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky, Gregorian chant on electric harp, and much more. MC drag clown Carla Rossi introduces the infernal variety show (and expatiates on Hieronymus Bosch),DJ/accordion wiz Kiran Moorty closes, and Twilight Orchestra goes all goth in between.

Continues…

MusicWatch Weekly: Music on screen and in the sunshine

Summer music festivals take music outside and in, while cinemas spotlight music on screen

It’s a sweet time of year to be an Oregon music fan. By day, you can head outside for symphonic sounds, and by night, hear classical and jazz music indoors — including at the movies. Please let ArtsWatch readers know of more summery music in the comments section below.

Oregon Festival of American Music
August 10-13
The Shedd, 868 High Street, Eugene.
At a moment when our country seems more divided than ever, OFAM’s celebration of American World War II-eramusic provides a much-needed reminder of a time when Americans pulled together more than ever before or since. Wednesday night‘s show with singer Shirley Andress and saxophonist Jesse Cloning fronting a crack jazz small combo featuring nationally renowned trumpeter Byron Stripling and guitarist Howard Alden recapturing the birth of bebop by showing the transition from Ellington, Gershwin, and more to Dizzy Gillespie, Yardbird Parker, and Thelonious Monk.

Siri Vik and Shirley Andress sing at Oregon Festival of American Music.

Siri Vik and Shirley Andress sing at Oregon Festival of American Music.

Thursday afternoon’s concert brings the Emerald City Jazz Kings, trumpeter Tim Clarke, and a quintet of veteran Shedd vocalists for standards from the era’s films, including “As Time Goes By” (“Play it, Sam!”), “Blues in the Night,” “Moonlight Serenade” and more. Thursday night’s big band concert (with singers including Siri Vik, Ian Whitcomb, and Shirley Andress) features music from concerts for troops based at home and overseas, sponsored by the United Services Organization, a coalition of religious and secular charities. The biggest USO star, singer/actor/comedian/hoofer Bob Hope, used one of those tunes, “Thanks for the Memory,” as his theme song, and it’s on the bill along with “The Man I Love” and others probably unfamiliar to most listeners who didn’t catch them the first time around.

The Army Hit Kit of Popular Songs (including “A Wing and a Prayer,” “I’ll be Seeing You,” “GI Jive,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Star Dust,” and rarer gems) will be distributed to anyone who wants to show up at The Shedd for a free, Friday afternoon singalong led by the institute’s Road Scholars. Friday evening’s special theatrical cabaret extravaganza recreates a February 1945 Armed Forces Radio Service Command Performance, a variety show that included a complete radio theatre production, Dick Tracy in B Flat, written by Meredith Willson (of The Music Man), jokes, songs (“The Very Thought of You,” “Sentimental Journey,” “All the Things You Are,” etc.) and more.

Jesse Cloninger and Tim Clarke play at OFAM.

Jesse Cloninger and Tim Clarke play at OFAM.

Saturday afternoon’s jazz concert, with Clarke, guitar ace Howard Alden, and rhythm section joining a quartet of top Shedd singers, spotlights the immortal music (“That Old Black Magic,” “Skylark,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “One for My Baby,” and more) of Johnny Mercer. One of America’s — and the 20th century’s — greatest songwriters, he also headlined a regular radio show broadcast to the troops. Saturday night’s concluding concert presents eight Shedd singers crooning tunes by the era’s biggest hitmakers — Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, including Mercer’s “Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy,“ (of course), “Victory Polka,” Mercer’s “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive,” and more.

Sunriver Music Festival
August 10-15
Sunriver Resort Great Hall and Summit High School, Bend.
Wednesday’s classical concert stars guitarist Adam del Monte in Rodrigo’s ever-popular Concierto de Aranjuez, and the orchestra plays more classic early 20th century music from Manuel de Falla’s stirring score to the ballet The Three Cornered Hat, plus Respighi’s The Birds. Friday’s classical concert features a pair of warhorses: Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concertos, plus  soaring brass music by Giovanni Gabrieli.

On Sunday and Monday at Summit High, Pink Martini pianist Thomas Lauderdale divides the piano part with festival Young Artists Scholarship alumnus Hunter Noack in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the festival orchestra. Pink Martini plays its own Afro Cuban arrangement of Prokofiev’s fun Peter and the Wolf with former Miss America Katie Harman narrating. The Spanish flavor lingers in Tuesday’s recital with Israeli-American cellist Amit Peled sporting Pablo Casals’s own cello and recreating some of the 20th century Spanish master’s own programs — Faure, Handel, Bach, etc.

“The General”
August 12 & 19, Hollywood Theatre, Portland; August 13, Bohemia Park (outdoor screening), Cottage Grove; August 14, Egyptian Theatre, Coos Bay; August 16 Tower Theatre, Bend; August 17, Ross Ragland Theater, Klamath Falls.
This special revival of the first great movie filmed in Oregon (Cottage Grove) features a new live score composed by renowned Portland film composer Mark Orton, a mainstay of the fab Tin Hat, which he’ll perform live with Tin Hat violinist Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, Mousai Remix String Trio, and Todd Sickafoose.

Continues…

MusicWatch Weekly: Outdoor escapades

August brings summer festivals and alfresco orchestras

Just when you thought summer music festivals were finishing up, three more open this week in Sunriver, Eugene, and Portland. And opera and orchestras escape the big halls, to more intimate and outdoor venues. Please feel free to add further recommended music events, indoor or out, in the comments section below.

Julian Snow with David Rafn and John C. Savage, Jeff Baxter
August 3
Turn! Turn! Turn!, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of this Creative Music Guild concert.

Ashraf Sewailam as Mustafa with Mindoro in 'The Italian Girl in Algiers.' Photo:

Ashraf Sewailam as Mustafa with Mindoro in ‘The Italian Girl in Algiers.’ Photo:

“The Italian Girl in Algiers”
August 4 & 6
Portland Opera, Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland.
Read Angela Allen’s ArtsWatch review.

Indrajit Banerjee
August 4, The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland, and August 7, Yoga West, 3635 Hilyard, Eugene.
The sitarist and scion of one of India’s leading musical families plays Hindustani music, accompanied in Portland by Seattle tablawallah Ravi Albright and in Eugene by veteran Indian music guru Doug Scheuerell.

Opera a la Cart 
August 4
Ecotrust parking lot, NW 10th & Johnson, Portland.
Portland Opera’s clever promotion seeks to connect an ancient musical form with contemporary Portland culture by mixing opera with Portland food court culture — so much easier than doing something substantive like actually commissioning contemporary Portland operas.

Portland Opera serves up portable music at various locations throughout the summer. Photo: Jonathan Ley.

Portland Opera serves up portable music at various locations throughout the summer. Photo: Jonathan Ley.

William Byrd Festival
August 5-20
Cantores in Ecclesia, St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1623 NW 19th Ave.; Episcopal Parish of St. John the Baptist, 6300 SW Nicol Road; Holy Rosary Church, 37 NE Clackamas St. Portland.
Every August, some of Oregon’s finest choral singers convene to perform the stirring music of England’s greatest Renaissance composer, Shakespeare’s contemporary William Byrd. This time, though, the festival expands its ambit to include music by English composers who followed Byrd’s wake, including the greatest of them all, Henry Purcell, who actually wrote music for Shakespeare productions decades after the playwright’s death. One unique feature: the festival performances include six free liturgical services to which the public is invited, along with lectures, a recital, and two major concerts. Read my Willamette Week preview of the first one, this Friday August 5.

Pickathon
August 4-7
One of Oregon’s finest and most relaxed-and-enjoy festivals features excellent local and regional performers like Joseph and Foghorn String Band as well as internationally renowned musicians like King Sunny Ade, Jeff Tweedy, Dan Deacon, Yo La Tengo and more.
Pendarvis farm, 16581 SE Hagen Rd. Happy Valley.

“The Troubador” (“Il Trovatore”)
August 5
Portland Summerfest, Washington Park Amphitheater, Portland.
Metropolitan Opera stars Angela Meade and Richard Zeller, both with strong Northwest connections, lead the cast in this free concert-style performance of the music and narration from Verdi’s opera.

Angela Meade sings at Portland SummerFest.

Angela Meade sings at Portland SummerFest.

Britt Orchestra
August 5-8
Britt Pavilion, Jacksonville.
Friday’s opening night gala features Russian food and music. Pianist and writer Jeremy Denk arrives Saturday to play a Brahms concerto with the orchestra, which also performs a Mozart symphony and Paul Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis. For Monday’s concert, a quartet of singers from the nearby Oregon Shakespeare Festival joins the orchestra in music from OSF’s recent performances of musicals, adding Byrd, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, William Walton and other classical composers to Broadway beacons like Sondheim, Bernstein, Rodgers and Hart.

On The Town
August 5-7
Oregon Festival of American Music, Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, Eugene.
Seven decades before Hamilton, 25 year old composer Leonard Bernstein and his upstart young (average age 27) drinking buddies singer-songwriter-comedians Betty Comden and Adolph Green (who also starred) and choreographer Jerome Robbins blitzed wartime Broadway with On the Town, with cutting edge dance and bubbly music propelled by both jazz and unprecedentedly sophisticated contemporary classical sounds. The Shedd’s new production reunites its team of director Peg Major, music director Robert Ashens, and choreographer Caitlin Christopher to bring this still exuberant and surprisingly forward looking show into the 21st century.

Portland Festival Symphony
August 6
Peninsula Park, Portland.
Venerable Portland classical music legend Lajos Balogh joins his designated successor Gregory Vajda, in the 35th annual summer series of free classical music concerts. This year’s program, performed at various Portland area parks over the next month, includes music by Bizet, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Vaughn Williams and the usual kid-participation Toy Symphony.

Red Lantern Ensemble
August 6
Classic Pianos Recital Hall, 3003 SE Milwaukie Ave. Portland.
Local classical musicians play music by J.S. Bach, Arvo Pärt, Shostakovich and Brother Ray Charles.

Sunriver Music Festival opens this weekend.

Sunriver Music Festival opens this weekend.

Sunriver Music Festival
August 7 – 18
Sunriver Resort’s Great Hall, Sunriver.
In Sunday’s opening concert, George Hanson leads the orchestra in the 39th annual classical music celebration in performance of Beethoven’s sixth symphony and first piano concerto (starring William Wolfram), plus Dvorak’s evocative tone poem In Nature’s Realm. Wolfram returns with violinist Steven Moeckel for Tuesday’s chamber concert featuring Cesar Franck’s ever popular violin sonata, Beethoven’s moving “Kreutzer” sonata, and a Liszt solo sonata. Bring the kids to Monday afternoon’s one hour family concert.

Alan Broadbent
August 8-9
Classic Pianos, 3003 SE Milwaukie Ave. Portland.
The New Zealander long ago quietly became of one of jazz’s finest pianists, working with Charlie Haden, Natalie Cole, Chet Baker and other legends. These solo shows are an unexpected summer jazz treat.

Oregon Festival of American Music
August 9-13
Shedd Institute for the Arts, 285 E Broadway, Eugene.
One of Oregon’s most valuable festivals returns on a World War II theme, starting with On the Town, and continuing with films, talks, and jazz and pop concerts featuring music from the era. Tuesday night’s opening concert recalls the US government’s Armed Forces Radio Service jukebox-style jazz programs broadcast to American troops around the world — the predecessor to “Good Morning Vietnam!” This concert includes recreations of the banter along with the boogie — “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Blue Skies,” and many others, including, of course, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

King Sunny Ade with Jujuba
August 9
Star Theater 13 NW 6th Ave, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the Nigerian Afropop legend’s rare Portland concert.

Want to read more about Oregon music? Support Oregon ArtsWatch!
Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

This week, Oregon bids farewell to another big summer festival and howdy to several more, and some free concerts and shows set in glorious Oregon venues also highlight this week’s music performances. Please add other recommendations to the comments section below.

Chamber Music Northwest
July 27-30
Reed College and Portland State University
The festival’s closing week offers a smattering of new music to go with the CMNW Protege Project composer Andrew Hsu’s short, drifting 2014 tone poem Sea Meadows (inspired by the — for now — ice covered Arctic waters) provides a 21st century garnish on Wednesday night’s attractive program at Alberta Rose Theatre that also features violin and piano music by Mozart, Messiaen, and two of the most beautiful works for that combination: Debussy’s and Franck’s sonatas.

Clarinetist David Shifrin joins the Miró Quartet at Chamber Music Northwest. Photo: Tom Emerson.

Clarinetist David Shifrin joins the Miró Quartet at Chamber Music Northwest. Photo: Tom Emerson.

On Thursday at Reed, Miró Quartet plays classics by Brahms and Beethoven. Friday’s New@Noon concert at Portland State includes world premieres by the young Hsu and the veteran Portland composer Bryan Johanson; read my Willamette Week preview. Friday and Sunday’s unusual performances at PSU and Reed, respectively, mingles late Brahms music with theatre, as explained in my WWeek preview.

The closing concerts on Saturday and Monday at Reed and PSU once included the sterling mezzo soprano Sasha Cooke, who canceled a while back, and piano legend Andre Watts, who just withdrew from the July 30 performance to undergo cancer treatment; the excellent pianist Melvin Chen, who’s been delivering solid performance throughout the festival, fills in on Dvorak’s famous Piano Quintet. The Miro Quartet will play Schubert’s gorgeous single movement for string quartet (D 703), then be joined by David Shifrin for Mozart’s winsome Clarinet Quintet. Anyone driving to Reed for Thursday or Saturday’s shows and planning to use the Sellwood Bridge will find it impassable; consult your map app for alternative routing.

Mount Angel Abbey Bach Festival
July 27-9
Mount Angel Abbey, Saint Benedict
The 45th annual festival remains unique in its spectacular Willamette Valley views, monk-provided picnic dining, and proximity to one of Oregon’s artistic treasures, the Aalto library.
Wednesday’s keyboard concerts include organist Marcia Hauff playing Bach and Langlais, followed by pianist Alon Goldstein playing Bach’s great solo Italian concerto, a Schubert fantasy, some beautiful Debussy and Listz’s arrangements of music by Verdi and Wagner.

The view from Mt. Angel Abbey.

The view from Mt. Angel Abbey.

Willamette Master Chorus music director Paul Klemme leads St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Octet (which includes Portland vocal stars Catherine van der Salm, Patrick McDonough, and more) to open Thursday’s concerts with sacred music by Elgar, Josquin, Palestrina and more. Then prize winning Montreal early music chamber music ensemble Les Boréades play an all-JS Bach program of partitas and sonatas. On Friday, SPECE sings Byrd, Purcell, Gibbons, and other Brits, along with Bach. Cavatina Duo play flute and guitar arrangements of music by Bach, Sor, Clarice Assad and more.

On The Town
July 29-August 7
Oregon Festival of American Music, Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, Eugene
Seven decades before Hamilton, 25 year old composer Leonard Bernstein and his upstart young (average age 27) drinking buddies singer-songwriter-comedians Betty Comden and Adolph Green (who also starred) and choreographer Jerome Robbins blitzed wartime Broadway with On the Town, with cutting edge dance and bubbly music propelled by both jazz and unprecedentedly sophisticated contemporary classical sounds.

Oregon Festival of American Music opens with Leonard Bernstein's 'On the Town.'

Oregon Festival of American Music opens with Leonard Bernstein’s ‘On the Town.’

Although then-raging World War II is never explicitly mentioned, the story of three sailors on one-night shore leave (taken from Bernstein and Robbins’s hit ballet Fancy Free earlier that year) sports a “let’s have our fun tonight, because who knows what’ll happen tomorrow” vibe. They fall for an anthropologist, a taxi driver, and a Coney Island baby while soaking up Big Apple bustle. The era’s dark side emerges only implicitly, in poignant instrumentals and songs like “Some Other Time”  and “Lonely Town” that lend a depth and emotional counterpoint to brassy tunes like the immortal “New York, New York.”  The Shedd’s new production, which opens at Jaqua Concert Hall Friday for a one week run, reunites its team of director Peg Major, music director Robert Ashens, and choreographer Caitlin Christopher to bring this still exuberant and surprisingly forward looking show into the 21st century. OTT opens the Shedd’s annual Oregon Festival of American Music.

The Italian Girl in Algiers”
July 27-August 6
Portland Opera, Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland
Read Angela Allen’s ArtsWatch review. On Wednesday, Portland Opera offers a free simulcast projected on a screen outside the Newmark Theatre.

Aleksandra Romano as Isabella with Taddeo in "The Italian Girl in Algiers.'"

Aleksandra Romano as Isabella with Taddeo in “The Italian Girl in Algiers.'”

“In Good Hands”
July 28
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave. Portland
Instead of imposing boring centuries old pedagogy on young piano students, this free afternoon concert by Cascadia Composers offers them the opportunity to play music of their own time and place — new music by Oregon’s own creators. Read Maria Choban’s ArtsWatch story about the 2014 performance and my ArtsWatch review of last year’s show.

Skerik’s Bandalabra
July 28
The Goodfoot, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the Seattle jazz punk’s show.

“Natural History”
July 29-30
Britt Crater Lake Project, Crater Lake National Park
Britt Festival Music Director Teddy Abrams leads 40 members of the Britt Orchestra, 15 members of Steiger Butte Drum, 30 brass and percussion students from Southern Oregon University, and a regional choir made up of 50 voices in six concerts at one of the world’s most beautiful places, featuring the world premiere composition by New York-based composer Michael Gordon, commissioned by Britt and inspired by Crater Lake. Can a quintessentially urban East Coast composer create music suitable for one of the West’s great natural vistas? Stay tuned for ArtsWatch’s review. The concerts open the Britt Orchestra’s season.

Britt Festival presents Michael Gordon's new work inspired by Crater Lake at Crater Lake.

Britt Festival presents Michael Gordon’s new work inspired by Crater Lake at Crater Lake.

Vancouver Symphony
July 29
Esther Short Park, Vancouver WA
The free, family friendly concert features music from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Prokofiev’s Symphony #1, Rossini’s William Tell Overture and singers from Opera Quest Northwest in operatic bon bons.

The Piano Guys
July 29
Oregon Zoo
Gateway drug to real classical music, worthwhile entertainment on their own, both or neither? The Utah piano and cello duo has half a billion YouTube views, serious classical repertoire (Rachmaninoff, Vivaldi, et al along with movie and pop tunes) and chops, and an audience any musician would envy.

Portland Festival Symphony
July 30, Cathedral Park, July 31, Laurelhurst Park, Portland
Venerable Portland classical music legend Lajos Balogh joins his designated successor Gregory Vajda (familiar to Oregon Symphony fans), in the 35th annual summer series of free classical music concerts. This year’s program, performed at various Portland area parks over the next month, includes music by Bizet, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Vaughn Williams and the usual kid-participation Toy Symphony. The Laurelhurst concert features brass music.

Beaverton International Celebration
July 30
Howard M. Terpenning Recreation Complex, 15707 SW Walker Rd. Beaverton
The annual party in the park offers music and dance from Asia, Latin America, Europe and beyond.

Want to read more about Oregon music? Support Oregon ArtsWatch!
Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

MusicWatch Weekly: Musical mixology

Intoxicating sounds on Oregon stages this week

This week in Oregon’s bubbly music scene, Portland Opera offers a double shot: Rossini and Tchaikovsky. Chamber Music Northwest swirls some new music into its Beethoven cocktail, and Creative Music Guild mixes much of its double dose of music on the fly. Please let ArtsWatch readers know about other intoxicating musical attractions in the comments section below.

Pants and dresses; Sherman and Kirk. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

BodyVox teams with Chamber Music Northwest this weekend. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Chamber Music Northwest 
July 20-26
Wednesday and Thursday’s concerts at Nordia House and Reed College feature music by Carl Nielsen and Portland composer David Schiff’s arrangement of Grieg’s Lyric Suite.

Read my Willamette Week preview of Friday’s New@Noon multimedia concert at PSU’s Lincoln Hall featuring new music by Bruce Adolphe, Portland’s own Bonnie Miksch and more, and Saturday and Sunday’s Reed College/PSU show that includes Adolphe’s music alongside 20th century classics by Kurt Weill and Darius Milhaud. One of those Adolphe pieces highlights Saturday afternoon’s family concert, Marita and her Heart’s Desire.

Monday’s and Tuesday’s concerts, at Reed and PSU respectively, offer Beethoven’s most popular work (in his own time): his sunny, Mozartian Septet (whose popularity eventually irritated him when he wanted to push his music beyond it), plus his Op. 17 string quartet.

Akropolis Reed Quintet performs in Gresham Friday.

Akropolis Reed Quintet performs in Gresham Tuesday.

Weill’s Threepenny music returns along with the Akropolis Reed Quintet at Tuesday’s free community concert at Mt. Hood Community College. The show also includes new music by young composers Rob Deemer and David Biedenbender.

And don’t forget BodyVox’s collaboration with CMNW, which has several shows left this week. Read Bob Hicks’s ArtsWatch review.

Tony Barba and Tricapitate
July 20
Turn! Turn! Turn! Portland
Saxofans should consider this Creative Music Guild Outset Series show featuring Wisconsin-based Youngblood Brass Band member Barba, who’s all played with jazz legends like Andrew Hill and David Murray as well as popsters including Bon Iver, Mountain Goats, Violent Femmes and more. Sax trio Tricapitate features veteran Portland saxophonists Noah Bernstein and John Savage along with Ralph Carney.

Eugene Onegin”
July 21-26
Portland Opera, Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland
Read Christa Morletti McIntyre’s ArtsWatch preview and Bruce Browne’s ArtsWatch review of Tchaikovsky’s opera, sung in Russian with English subtitles and directed by Kevin Newbury.

The Italian Girl in Algiers”
July 22-August 6
Portland Opera, Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland
While Hollywood still struggles to portray women in truly heroic protagonist roles, Giacomo Rossini’s fizzy 1813 comedy-meets-Harlequin romance stars the titular headstrong woman who outwits a macho royal to score the hunky slave she really wants instead of him. Bubbling with energetic arias and intoxication both hormonal and alcoholic, surprisingly, it’s the first Portland production, and this one’s built especially for the intimate Newmark Theatre.

Aleksandra Romano stars as Isabella in Portland Opera's 'The Italian Girl in Algiers.' Photo: James Daniel.

Aleksandra Romano stars as Isabella in Portland Opera’s ‘The Italian Girl in Algiers.’ Photo: James Daniel.

MYS summer ensembles 
July 21
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave. Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the faculty chamber music concert starring present and former Oregon Symphony musicians.

Lakou Mizik
July 21, WOW Hall, Eugene, and July 22 Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the Haitian collective’s first Oregon appearances.

Extradition Series
July 23
Leaven Community Center: 5431 NE 20th Ave, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of this Creative Music Guild concert featuring a 20th century classic by James Tenney and music by today’s Portland and Seattle performer/composer/improvisers.

Want to read more about Oregon music? Support Oregon ArtsWatch!
Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

MusicWatch Weekly: Jazz and other chamber music

Jazz and classical music festivals highlight Oregon music this week

Jazz takes a bit of a holiday over the summer in Oregon, with fewer shows than usual, but the music blossoms this weekend in Portland, both indoors and out. Meanwhile, Chamber Music Northwest — which ArtsWatch has been covering like flies on honey — continues to hold down the classical end, and you’ll find plenty of other hot Oregon summer music listed below. Please feel free to recommend other concerts of interest to ArtsWatch readers in the comments section below.

Summer Sings
July 13 and 20
Portland Symphonic Choir, PCC Cascade Moriarty Arts Auditorium
This participatory summer tradition provides any Portland singer (though many come from amateur, school, church, or professional choirs) a score and the opportunity to sing one or more classic 18th and 19th century Requiems, directed by some of the city’s top choral conductors: Brahms’s German Requiem on July 13, and Faure’s Requiem on July 20.

The Emerson Quartet will play Beethoven's earlier quartets this summer at Chamber Music Northwest/Photo credit: Tom Emerson

The Emerson Quartet play Beethoven’s earlier quartets at Chamber Music Northwest/Photo credit: Tom Emerson

Chamber Music Northwest
July 13-19
Various venues, Portland
Beethoven’s on tap throughout the annual summer festival, and the pours are supersized this week. Wednesday at Alberta Rose, Zorá Quartet plays his final quartet, Op. 135 (read Angela Allen’s ArtsWatch review of their earlier performance) along with folk- inspired duets by Bartok and Shostakovich’s acclaimed 1940 Piano Quintet.

And on July 15, 16 and 17, the veteran Emerson Quartet (see Alice Hardesty’s interview with its violist Larry Dutton) plays six early Beethoven quartets and six late (and great) ones by his teacher, Haydn, in three different concerts over three days — a rare opportunity to hear one of the most acclaimed ensembles play some of the finest chamber music ever written.

If you want music of our own time, Thursday’s free noon community concert at the Portland Art Museum brings back the Akropolis Reed Quintet in a free, one-hour noon “interactive” concert that takes an architectural view of music by Rameau and Rob Deemer (a 2015 composition), a world premiere (wooHOO!) by Gregory Wanamaker, and Ton ter Doest’s colorful 1990 Circusmuziek.

On Thursday night, the young Dover Quartet plays Beethoven’s  “Harp” quartet, and are joined by CMNW clarinet champ David Shifrin in a quintet by Weber and another by American composer Richard Danielpour’s 2015 clarinet quintet, a world premiere (yay!) inspired by his Iranian father’s birthplace, Hamadan, as well as Persian and Klezmer music.

Another noon new music concert on Friday includes Vancouver BC born composer Joel Hoffman’s 1988 Fantasia Fiorentina for violin and piano, Danielpour’s Clarinet Quintet again and the West Coast premiere of New York composer Martin Bresnick’s 2015 trio And I Always Thought featuring Shifrin, Ani Kavafian and Bresnick’s wife, Lisa Moore, who happens to be one of the world’s most compelling new music pianists.

“Death and Delight” rehearsal from BodyVox on Vimeo.

CMNW’s recurring partnership with BodyVox resumes this week too, taking a Shakespearean turn that includes new choreography to Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet ballet music (arranged for solo piano) and Mendelssohn’s scintillating A Midsummer Night’s Dream theater music performed by piano duo Melvin Chen and Hilda Huang. The pair will also perform keyboard concertos by JS Bach, Mozart and Stravinsky on July 18 at Reed College and July 19 at Portland State.

Continues…

The Oregon Bach Festival ends, Yachats Music Festival begins, Chamber Music Northwest continues, Portland Opera resumes, and downtown Jimmy Mak’s celebrates this week in Portland music.  Please let ArtsWatch readers know about other recommended music events in the comments section below.

Portland Symphonic Choir leads its annual Summer Sings again.

Portland Symphonic Choir leads its annual Summer Sings again.

Summer Sings
July 6, 13, and 20
Portland Symphonic Choir, PCC Cascade Moriarty Arts Auditorium
This participatory summer tradition provides any Portland singer (though many come from amateur, school, church, or professional choirs) a score and the opportunity to sing one or more classic 18th and 19th century Requiems, directed by some of the city’s top choral conductors: Mozart’s Requiem on July 6, Brahms’s German Requiem on July 13, and Faure’s Requiem on July 20.

Matthew Halls leads several Oregon Bach Festival concerts.

Matthew Halls leads several Oregon Bach Festival concerts.

Oregon Bach Festival
Various venues, Eugene
The festival’s Baroque-musicians-in-training Berwick Academy goes back to Bach on July 6 when the superb Baroque violinist Rachel Podger leads a magnificent JSB violin concerto along with Baroque classics by Handel, Lully and Telemann. On July 7, artistic director Matthew Halls leads the Berwick chorus in one JSB’s great cantatas and a too seldom heard 20th century choral classic, Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir. Kahane pere et fils team up for Beethoven and a recent composition by Gabriel Kahane; read my ArtsWatch preview. The festival closes July 10 with Brahms’s third symphony and German Requiem.

Chamber Music Northwest
July 6-13
Various venues, Portland
The Zora Quartet plays Beethoven on Wednesday, while Friday afternoon’s modern music show features composers in the hermetic mid-20th century modernist tradition: Charles Wuorinen’s cello solo for CMNW modernist stalwart Fred Sherry, and the somewhat more scrutable and critically lauded George Benjamin’s series of brief, mysterious piano works. The one piece that reaches beyond the classical music insiders club: a fabulous, Middle Eastern influenced 2014 duo composed for Armenian American violin siblings Ani and Ida Kavafian by Armenian American composer Kristapor Najarian, inspired by Turkey’s 1915 genocide of Armenians.

Thursday’s Orion Quartet concert showcases two enduring masterpieces from the 1820s, Beethoven’s epic Op. 131 quartet and Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden.” Saturday’s show features Tchaikovsky’s major chamber work (his Piano Trio), a Mozart piano quartet and a Hindemith cello/viola duo.

Orion String Quartet, performing twice this week at Chamber Music Northwest. Photo: Lois Greenstein

Orion String Quartet performs at Chamber Music Northwest. Photo: Lois Greenstein.

Zora Quartet plays Debussy’s magnificent string quartet, Beethoven’s last quartet, and 20th century Spanish composer Joaquin Turina’s The Bulfighter’s Prayer at Sunday’s free community concert, while the Dover Quartet tackles old music in Monday’s all-Beethoven program featuring his three breakthrough mid-period Razumovsky quartets.

Piano fans should check out Tuesday’s show featuring music for multiple pianists by Rachmaninoff, Mozart and Schnittke.

Piano!Push!Play!
July 7
Portland Art Museum plaza
The organization that places pianos in outdoor public spaces around the city during the summer, then donates them to worthy causes like community centers, invites performers from Classical Revolution PDX and beyond to perform impromptu concerts. Check the website for updated performer and performance info.

 

Pianopushplay founder Megan McGeorge poses next to a piano she donated to the cause at this summer's opening event.

Pianopushplay founder Megan McGeorge poses next to a piano she donated to the cause at this summer’s opening event.

Jimmy Mak’s 30th Anniversary
July 7-16
221 NW 10th Ave. Portland
The venerable Portland jazz institution, which is moving this summer, celebrates three decades with some of its stalwarts. July 7 brings a reunion of the original Mel Brown B3 Organ Group,
July 8 features jazz giant Thara Memory’s Soul Jazz Review, July 9 offers Bobby Torres’s Latin Jazz Review, while one July 11 has guitarist Dan Balmer leads Three Band Night. Many of the above players will participate in July 12’s jazz-off: The Mel Brown Septet vs. The Mel Brown Sextet.

Yachats Music Festival
July 6-10
Yachats Community Presbyterian Churchx, 360 West 7th Street, Yachats
Pianist Leon Bates leads the roster of chamber musicians and singers at the annual coast festival. Friday’s show includes music by Schubert, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Bach and more. Saturdays concert offers Brahms, Mozart and other opera composers, Faure, Schumann and more. Sunday afternoon’s all American concert features music by pioneer Charles Ives, Gershwin, Duke Ellintonand more, while the evening show includes Purcell, Brahms, Bach, Chopin, Ginastera, and still more.

Eugene Onegin”
July 8-26
Portland Opera, Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Read Christa Morletti Mcintyres ArtsWatch preview.

Farmhouse Performances
July 8-10
This new summer series of intimate, early classical music performances by Portland ensembles is set in a farmhouse by a vineyard at Beaverton’s Lawless Family Farm. On July 8, Raphael Spiro String Quartet playing summery classics by Beethoven, Britten, Dvorak, Mozart, Piazzolla, and Ravel. Baroque specialists Musica Maestrale, with superb Portland soprano Arwen Myers, perform music from some of the very first operas on July 9, while flutist Emma Shubin plays classical to modern works in a nearby Douglas Fir grove on July 10. Local food and wine available.

Zony Mash
July 9
The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark St. Portland
Seattle keyboardist/composer Wayne Horvitz reunites his groovy funk/jazz trio that’s made several albums and been cooking for two decades, on and off.

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Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

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