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.

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

One Response.

  1. bob priest says:

    Portland Opera & commissioning contemporary PDX operas?
    Hahahaha, good one!

Comments are closed.

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