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
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.
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
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
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.
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”
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.
William Byrd Festival
St. Patrick’s Church, Portland.
The annual summer festival closes with English conductor Mark Williams playing organ interludes and leading the great Portland choir Cantores in Ecclesia in Renaissance English music by Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Tomkins, Thomas Weeklies, and more, including the festival’s namesake himself.
Britt Festival Pavilion, Jacksonville.
Oregon’s best orchestral music program of the summer features music director Teddy Abrams, a rising star in American classical music, leading the orchestra in a reprise of Michael Gordon’s Crater Lake-inspired world premiere commission, Natural History (see Marc Mohan’s ArtsWatch review of last month’s premiere) techno-influenced San Francisco composer Mason Bates’s Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, and Mussorgsky’s ever-popular Pictures at an Exhibition.
Trinity Cathedral, 147 NW 19th Avenue, Portland.
The closing weekend of Trinity’s multimedia art exhibition showcasing the work of 47 Arab, Persian, and Jewish contemporary artists from 15 countries features a free performance by the Portland Middle Eastern music ensemble.
Montavilla Jazz Festival
Portland Metro Arts, 9003 SE Stark Street, Portland
One of Oregon’s busiest and best jazz musicians, keyboardist/trumpeter/drummer George Colligan headlines the third annual neighborhood gathering-turned-summer-jazz essential. Opening night includes the premiere of young parent Colligan’s original composition, Fathers and Sons with Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble, while the transplanted New Yorker and Portland State prof’s New York Trio (with renowned drummer Rudy Royston and bassist Boris Kozlov) closes the festival on Sunday. Familiar Portland jazz names like guitar star Dan Balmer, pianist/composer Gordon Lee, trumpet titan Thomas Barber, pianist Kerry Politzer (Colligan’s spouse), and more highlight the other shows throughout the weekend.
“The Barber of Seville” (film)
August 21 and 25
Living Room Theaters, Portland.
Italian stage director Damiano Michieletto’s recent Paris Opera production of Rossini’s operatic farce hits the big screen.