Brett Campbell

 

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

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.

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

Gabriel Kahane’s American Tour

Composer's Oregon Bach Festival composition is one of several inspired by places -- including Oregon

Composers draw inspiration from many places — a melodic phrase, chord progression, a poem, a memory, even mathematical processes.

Gabriel Kahane often finds musical ideas in actual places, the kind you can find on a map app. And why not? Writers and painters have long used urban or rural landscapes as subjects; many works by Oregon composers described in ArtsWatch over the past few years were inspired by the state’s natural beauty. Sufjan Stevens has devoted whole albums to songs somehow related to a single US state.

Songwriter and composer Kahane seems especially inspired by the relationship between people and historic places, as in his poignant albums about his Los Angeles birthplace, Where are the Arms and The Ambassador, and a musical set in a midcentury Bohemian artists’ rooming house in his current hometown of Brooklyn.

Gabriel Kahane. Photo: Josh Goleman.

Gabriel Kahane. Photo: Josh Goleman.

On July 8, Oregonians can hear Kahane’s latest place-related composition. The 35-year-old composer’s Oregon Bach Festival showcase, Gabriel’s Guide to the 48 States, sets surprisingly moving, Great Depression-era words mostly drawn from the Federal Writers Project’s famous travel/ culture/ history guides (some written by famous authors John Cheever, Zora Neale Hurston, Saul Bellow and others in part as a way of supporting unemployed artists), which “serve as a time capsule of a very different America than the one in which we now live,” Kahane’s notes explain. A couple of the sections come from the WPA Oregon guide.

“Its very meaningful to me to have the Oregon premiere,” Kahane adds. “Two of the most substantial, emotionally weighty parts of the piece have to do with Oregon.”

Continues…

Chris Thile: Punching through Categories

Portland homeboy and Punch Brother heavyweight musician embraces classical, folk, bluegrass and other music -- as long as it's great

“Until I was 15 or 16, I couldn’t have cared less about classical music,” Chris Thile admits. “I grew up playing fiddle tunes where the whole point is getting people’s bodies to move, and I thought classical music was completely divorced from the body.” Although he had family members who played classical music, Thile had already won the national mandolin championship at age 12. “I thought I was doing more hip music,” he recalls. “You guys do that powdered-wig music.”

Chris Thile. Photo: Brian Stowell.

Chris Thile. Photo: Brian Stowell.

Then his grandmother played him legendary pianist Glenn Gould’s second recording of JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations. “He kicks into that first variation and it just took my head off,” Thile remembers. “He was playing with as much groove as I’ve heard anyone play with. All of my biases against classical music just went away. I thought I didn’t love classical music. How wrong I was.  At first, I thought I wasn’t interested in hip hop, either. I was wrong about that too. I took that attitude with me through the whole music world.”

Continues…

Two coast musical festivals conclude, two veteran jazzmen return, while Oregon’s two great summer music festivals team up in several concerts in Eugene and Portland. Please let ArtsWatch readers know about other recommended music events in the comments section below.

The Chamber Music Northwest audience joined composer Andy Akiho onstage at Mississippi Studio./Jim Leisy

The Chamber Music Northwest audience joined composer Andy Akiho onstage at Mississippi Studios the last time he performed in Portland. Photo: Jim Leisy.

Chamber Music Northwest, Andy Akiho
June 29-July 1
Alberta Rose Theater and Lincoln Hall, Portland
Still safely under 40, South Carolina-born, New York-based composer Andy Akiho first won attention in contemporary classical music circles for his unusual choice of instrument: the steel pan that we usually associate with calypso music and spring break-oriented soft drink commercials. In Akiho’s adept hands, it becomes an astonishingly expressive vehicle for improvisation and Akiho’s rhythmically driven and increasingly sophisticated original compositions, often teamed with other instruments like cello and looping pedal. Akiho’s previous appearances at Chamber Music Northwest were some of the most thrilling in memory, and this time around, he’s back with two completely different showcase concerts (with the July 29 Alberta Rose show also including one of Schubert’s great piano trios) that feature not just steel pan but also piano, cello, percussion (from star percussionist Ian Rosenbaum), violin, and string quartet. His Portland State showcase with Orion Quartet on July 1 includes the premiere of the fourth movement of his massive, still growing LIgNEous Suite. Collectively spanning a decade of Akiho’s compositions, they top the list of new music offerings at this summer’s edition of CMNW.

Marcin Wasilewski Trio
June 30
Polish Hall, 3832 N Interstate Ave. Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of this excellent Polish jazz trio’s only Oregon appearance, one of the best jazz shows of the summer.

Martin Wasilewski leads his jazz trio at Polish Hall. Photo: ECM records

Martin Wasilewski leads his jazz trio at Polish Hall. Photo: ECM records

Oregon Bach Festival
A Trio of Trios, June 29, Beall Hall, Eugene
Moving forward in time from its predominant Baroque focus, the festival this year places the spotlight on the triumvirate of top Classical era composers. This Chamber Music Northwest concert repeats Monday’s show in Portland and features trios by Mozart (his big K. 563 Divertimento, one of his finest chamber works), Haydn and Beethoven.

Baroque Concerti with Monica Huggett, June 30, Beall Hall, Eugene
The energetic Portland Baroque Orchestra violinist and director Monica Huggett returns to Beall June 30 to lead experienced new music specialists, including the great Dutch flutist Wilbert Hazelzet, in Baroque masterpieces by J.S. Bach, Telemann and more.

Berwick Academy with Robert Levin, June 30, Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, Portland; and July 1, Beall Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene
More historically informed Classical-era music is featured in two Beall concerts led by scholar and fortepiano master Robert Levin, with repeat performances sponsored by Chamber Music Northwest at Kaul Auditorium. The June 30/July 1 Berwick Academy concert includes Haydn’s stirring Symphony #103, Mozart’s darkly beautiful Piano Concerto #24, and a Beethoven overture.

New Pathways, July 1-4, Aasen-Hull and Beall Halls, UO, Eugene. Read Gary Ferrington’s ArtsWatch preview of these Oregon Composers Forum concerts.
New Pathways II: Features the music of composers-in residence Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon and David Crumb with performances by symposium guest artists Gomez, Barth, Hennings, Shields, Park, Ziegler, and Cheung at 8 pm Friday, July 1 in Aasen-Hull Concert Hall.
New Pathways III: The American Creators Ensemble (ACE) with OBFCS guest artists and performers showcase artists featuring Sound of Late, Krause, Giuca, and Evers performing music by symposium composers at 1 pm on Saturday July 2 in Aasen-Hull Concert Hall.
New Pathways IV: Features Estelí Gomez and the OBFCS vocal fellows in a concert of music by symposium composers at 8 pm on Sunday, July 3 in Beall Concert Hall. Live Stream
New Pathways V: The American Creators Ensemble with OBFCS guest artists and performers showcase artists perform music by symposium composers on July 4 at 8 pm in Beall Concert Hall. Live Stream

• OBF All-Stars with Robert Levin, July 2, Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, Portland; and July 3, Beall Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene
Levin leads renowned German clarinetist Eric Hoeprich and other period instrument specialists one of Mozart’s own favorites, his breezy piano and winds quintet, and Beethoven’s later quintet it inspired and more.

Continues…

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