MusicWatch Weekly: Unwalled sounds

Music and musicians from diverse origins invade Oregon stages

Quick, before the walls go up, grab your chance to catch music and performers from Greece, Brazil, Poland, Indonesia, France, Taiwan, California, Germany, Chicago, and yes, even music grown right here in Oregon. Plus: still more pianists! Feel free to suggest other shows in the comments section below.

PSU Opera's 'The place where you Started,' starring Hannah Consenz, concludes this weekend. Photo: Chad Lanning.

PSU Opera’s ‘The Place Where You Started,’ starring Hannah Consenz, concludes this weekend. Photo: Chad Lanning.

“The Place Where You Started”
November 16-20
Portland State Opera, Studio Theater, Lincoln Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Ave. Portland.
PSU’s acclaimed opera program has been renowned for four decades of presenting first class versions of the classics. Now they’re adding a fall production for new and unusual operas — including this world premiere by USC composer Mark Lanz Weiser and screenwriter/librettist Amy Punt, created especially for these PSU singers. The timely story involves a screenwriter’s turbulent relationship with an undocumented immigrant with a tragic past. Tickets online.

Ian Christensen, George Colligan’s Theoretical Planets
November 16
Alberta Street Pub, 1036 NE Alberta St, Portland.
The Portland tenor saxophonist, who’s squarely in the classic tradition yet manages an original approach, has just released a new album, Finding, on the always intriguing Portland Jazz Composers’ PJCE records. This performance with his well- matched ensemble, probably the jazz show of the week, also features Portland jazz stalwart George Colligan’s quartet.

John Krausbauer and Indira Valey
November 16
Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of this Creative Music Guild concert.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
November 16
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Portland.
The Chicago sibling septet bouncily blends funk, hip hop, and jazz.

Eugene Symphony
November 17
Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene.
Read Gary Ferrington’s ArtsWatch preview of this concert that features the masterful pianist Stephen Hough playing Beethoven, a powerful Shostakovich symphony, plus “Ode to the Future” created by Oregon Young Composers Project.

Tom Bergeron Brasil Band
November 17, Western Oregon University, Smith Recital Hall, Monmouth, November 18, The Jazz Station, Eugene, November 19, Coelho Winery, 111 5th St. Amity.
The terrific saxophonist’s quintet plays jazz from the musically fecund state of Minas Gerais by some of Brazil’s finest composers, including Toninho Horta, Flávio Venturini, João Bosco, and the great Milton Nascimento, all curated by the band’s Brazilian bassist, Wagner Trindade.

Maciej Grybowski performs at Portland's Polish Hall.

Maciej Grybowski performs at Portland’s Polish Hall.

Maciej Grzybowski
November 18
Polish Hall, 3832 N Interstate Ave. Portland.
The Polish pianist plays music by contemporary Polish composer Pawel Mykietyn, the great 20th century Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, some of Debussy’s great Preludes, Mozart, Brahms and another Polish composer, name of Chopin.


“An Evening Of Blues & Ballads”
November 18
Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, 868 High Street, Eugene.
Jazz historian, saxophonist and radio host Carol Woideck leads a quintet in jazz classics.

Portland Columbia Symphony
November 18, First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson St. Portland, and November 20, Reynolds High School Performing Arts Center, 1698 SW Cherry Park Rd, Troutdale.
Portland’s “other” orchestra has taken the lead in performing music by 20th and 21st century American composers. This highly recommended all-American concert features Leonard Bernstein’s ever-popular, ever-exuberant overture to his operetta Candide, Ferde Grofe’s classic Grand Canyon Suite, California composer Sara Graef’s Cooling in the Peppermint Wind, and University of Oregon flute prof Molly Barth, one of the world’s most admired flute virtuosos, as the soloist in contemporary Michigan composer Michael Daugherty’s Trail of Tears. Although he’s better known for his pop culture-influenced fun pieces, this powerful flute concerto evokes the spirit of the Cherokee people who suffered and survived the five month winter 1838-9 death march to Oklahoma.

Portland Baroque Orchestra
November 18-19, First Baptist Church, and November 20, Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, Portland.
If you think organ music necessarily involves colossal church instruments, then again. Baroque composers mostly wrote for smaller chamber organs (some called “portative”) that made zingy accompanying or even lead instruments in small ensembles, more like the reedy B-3 sound of those great ‘50s and ‘60s jazz organ trios, or Farfisa-driven ‘60s garage bands. This concert of organ concertos by Handel, CPE Bach, and Mozart stars one of the world’s finest Baroque keyboard players, Alexander Weimann, who directs Vancouver BC’s Pacific Baroque Orchestra. The show also includes another instrument that once played a much more prominent solo role than today, a bassoon concerto by 18th century English composer Capel Bond featuring terrific young PBO bassoonist Nate Helgeson.

“My Sweetest Life”
Cascadia Composers and The Ensemble, November 18, St. Luke’s – San Lucas Episcopal Church, Vancouver WA; November 19, Central Lutheran Church, Eugene; November 20, Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church, 2828 SE Stephens Street, Portland.
Carlo Gesualdo was notorious for murdering his wife and her lover, but the Italian nobleman was also one of the most visionary and forward looking composers of the late Renaissance, writing hauntingly beautiful music that has influenced composers even down to our own century. The superb vocal ensemble made up of some of Portland’s finest singers performs some of Gesualdo’s spellbinding madrigals along with music by some of today’s top Oregon composers, including Jan Mittelstaedt, Brandon Stewart, Stacey Philipps, Paul Safar and more.

“An Evening of Traditional Javanese Gamelan Music”
November 19
Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan Ensemble, Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside, Portland.
This concert of traditional Javanese vocal and percussion music (with flute, fiddle, and other Indonesian instruments) features Javanese guest artists Midiyanto (who led the gamelan program at Lewis & Clark College and and now leads the program University of California, in addition to frequent performances all over the world), singer Heni Savitri, and guests from Seattle and Ireland. Full disclosure: I’ll be playing and singing too.

Venerable Showers of Beauty plays Javanese gamelan music Saturday.

Venerable Showers of Beauty plays Javanese gamelan music Saturday at Portland’s Hipbone Studios.

“Through the Looking Glass”
November 19
Consonare Chorale, Imago Dei Community, 1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland.
The veteran choir gives its inaugural performance in its new venue, singing contemporary music by Sarah Hopkins,  David Child, Matthew Emery and more.

Satori Men’s Chorus, Sky In The Road
November 19
Central Lutheran Church, 1820 NE 21st Avenue, Portland.
The choir joins the folk duo (Daniel Rhiger and Rahmana Wiest) in choral settings of poetic texts.

Dromeno
November 19
Hellenic-American Cultural Center & Museum, 3131 NE Glisan St. Portland.
Read Maria Choban’s ArtsWatch preview of this concert of Greek and other Balkan music by the two-generation Seattle-based ensemble.

Stephen Hough plays in Eugene and Portland. Photo: Hiroyuki Ito.

Stephen Hough plays in Eugene and Portland. Photo: Hiroyuki Ito.

Oregon Symphony
November 19-21
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
Guest conductor Ludovic Morlot drives down I5 from Seattle, meeting MacArthur “genius” grantee and renowned English pianist Stephen Hough, who’s driving up from Eugene after his performance with the ESO, for a program of the French music that the Seattle Symphony music director specializes in: music from Debussy’s The Prodigal Son, Chausson’s Symphony in B-flat, Saint-Saëns’ “Egyptian” Piano Concerto No. 5, and  Ravel’s  sly and shapely Waltz (La valse).

“Soldier’s Tale”
November 20
VSO Chamber Music Series, Kiggins Theater, 1011 Main St, Vancouver, WA.
Musicians from the Vancouver Symphony conducted by PSU prof Ken Selden and Stumptown Stages’ Kirk Mouser, who narrates Igor Stravinsky’s wry and wonderful 1918 chamber septet.

Ching Yun Hu performs Sunday at the University of Oregon.

Ching-Yun Hu performs Sunday at the University of Oregon.

Ching-Yun Hu
November 20
Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene.
The award winning Taiwanese pianist plays Schubert, Chopin, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff.

Cascadia Concert Opera
November 20
St Helen’s Catholic Church, 1350 W. 6th Ave. Junction City.
Astoria’s North Coast Chorale joins the singers in operatic music by Gershwin, Sullivan, Bizet, Puccini, Mozart, Verdi, and more.

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