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.

Jimmy Mak’s 20th Anniversary Celebration
July 14-16
Jimmy Mak’s, Portland
Saxophone star Patrick Lamb (who played the Portland jazz club’s opening show), blues belter Curtis Salgado and Soul Vaccination close out the legendary (and on the move) jazz venue’s party.

Eugene Onegin”
July 14-17
Portland Opera, Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Read Christa Morletti Mcintyres ArtsWatch preview and Bruce Browne’s ArtsWatch review.

Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
July 15-17
Cathedral Park, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the oldest free jazz festival west of the Mississippi.

Oregon Renaissance Band 
July 15
Lawless Farmhouse, Beaverton
The Portland ensemble brings its homemade period instruments and ale-hailing music by di Lasso, Ravenscroft and other mid-millennium composers at the new Farmhouse performance series.

David Benoit
July 15
Winningstad Theatre, Portland
The smooth jazz pianist plays a solo show.

Bob Ostertag
July 16
Leaven Community Center, 5431 NE 20th Ave, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the renowned avant garde improviser/composer/electronic musician’s Creative Music Guild show.

Maxwell Rochette as Cowardly Lion, Drew Christensen as Tin Man, Anne-Marie Plass as Dorothy and Aaron Hobson as Scarecrow in PHAME's concert staging of "Wizard of Oz," running July 16-17.

Maxwell Rochette as Cowardly Lion, Drew Christensen as Tin Man, Anne-Marie Plass as Dorothy and Aaron Hobson as Scarecrow in PHAME’s concert staging of “Wizard of Oz,” running July 16-17.

The Wizard of Oz
July 16-17
St. Mary’s Academy Mainstage, 1615 SW 5th Ave. Portland
The cast of PHAME Academy’s big summer production includes the excellent Lauren Modica and other performers with and without disabilities, including some of the stars from last year’s Up the Fall. 

Eugene Symphony performs thrice outdoors this week.

Eugene Symphony performs thrice outdoors this week.

Eugene Symphony
July 16, Cuthbert Amphitheater, Eugene; July 18, Bohemia Park, Cottage Grove; July 19, Nichols Band Shell, Roseburg.
The orchestra’s annual free concert in the park offers bon bons from Dvorak (one of his Slavonic dances), Tchaikovsky (a waltz from his ballet Swan Lake, the ever-popular Variations on a Rococo Theme and — bang! — the inevitable closing explosive 1812 Overture), Suppe, Weber, Sousa, John Williams’s Star Wars theme, even a dash of Cole Porter. Eugene Symphonic Band’s opening set for the sold-out (if that’s the word) Cuthbert show features more Star Wars music, more Sousa (and Monty Python), an Irving Berlin tribute, a sing along, Elmer Bernstein’s glorious theme from The Magnificent Seven, and various other American tunes.

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

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