News hits: Kalmar re-ups, Paul Pintarich, Third Rail, Bonnie Bronson

Carlos Kalmar has re-upped with both the Oregon Symphony and Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival (above)/Photo: Norman Timonera

Carlos Kalmar has re-enlisted for another term at the Oregon Symphony, according to the symphony. His contract, due to end in 2013, was extended to 2015. The terms of the deal weren’t discussed.

The symphony release said Kalmar’s contract “was renewed in recognition of his significant accomplishments,” and then it mentioned the roaring success of the symphony’s springtime Carnegie Hall concert, with its inventive “Music for a Time of War” program. A recording of “Music for a Time of War” will be released on CD later this year, Kalmar’s first Oregon Symphony recording. The symphony has committed to three more during the next four years.

The Oregon Symphony position is one of the three that Kalmar occupies. He’s the longtime artistic director and principal conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, and he’s just begun a five-year contract as music director of the Orquesta Sinf√≥nica de RTVE (Spanish Radio/Television Orchestra) in Madrid.

The Oregonian reports the death of Paul Pintarich, who served as its book critic and editor for many years. Pintarich died of complications from injuries suffered in a house fire earlier this month. A complicated man, Pintarich loved literature and writing and could turn a beautiful sentence himself. He was 72.

Third Rail Repertory Theatre has announced the casting for its season opener, “The Pain and the Itch.” Duffy Epstein and John San Nicolas will be joining Third Rail ensemble members Valerie Stevens, Damon Kupper, Jacklyn Maddux, and Amy Beth Frankel in Bruce Norris’s dark comedy set at a family Thanksgiving dinner. We know how dire those can become. The show opens Oct. 14.

“The Pain and the Itch” will be Third Rail’s first in the Winningstad Theater, and set designer Sean O’Skea has some interesting things to say about the space, which is designed after the British courtyard theaters, small but with multiple tiers.

“I was thrilled when I heard Third Rail was moving into the space. It really is a perfect venue for them. So many of Third Rail’s scripts are intimate – even voyeuristic. Their shows aren’t about cast-of-thousands stage pictures; they are about a sideways glance, a subtle change of inflection, or an alteration in the actor’s breathing. The two previous company homes have been very traditional proscenium-style houses. The whole audience is basically seeing the show from one angle. While it’s easy to design in proscenium, it’s not always very exciting, and the actor/audience relationship is very formal.

“The Pain and the Itch” has a domestic setting and calls for a lot of doors and windows, so I wasn’t able to completely abandon an end-stage configuration. But I was able to thrust the living room of the setting,where most of the action takes place, out into the house. We have wrapped some of the orchestra seating around on the sides of the thrust.

One of the highlights of First Thursday will be a show of work by the late Bonnie Bronson at Pacific Northwest College of Art. But Bronson’s legacy will spill over a lot this month. For example, the Hoffman Gallery at Lewis & Clark College will show work by each of the 20 recipients of fellowships from the Bonnie Bronson Fund, which was established in 1992, two years after the artist’s death, to honor regional artists. That’s an impressive list, from this year’s fellow, Nan Curtis, to the first fellow, Christine Bourdette. The show opens September 7 and runs through December 11.

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