MusicWatch Weekly: Festival endings, beginnings and continuations

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.

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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