A pair of formidable pianists, a pre-eminent percussionist, a couple of cool choirs, and an accomplished accordionist lead this weekend’s Oregon classical music parade. As always, if you know of other musical events of interest to ArtsWatch readers, please let us know in the comments section below. And check the All Classical radio cultural events calendar for more.
Hurt Center, Eugene.
Read my Eugene Weekly concert preview and my ArtsWatch story about the orchestra’s 50th anniversary season, which opens with this concert. Nodding to featured composer Mason Bates’s DJ background, the symphony just added a free, late-night after-Party at Hi-Fi Music Hall, with DJ Nara of High Step Society mixing American jazz with electronic music technology.
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland.
The award winning Argentine singer/composer/ guitarist joins American harmonica master Kevin Carrel Footer for a musical exploration of the territory that links tango and blues.
Musette Explosion, Courtney von Drehle & Gideon Freudmann
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the accordion-led trio that plays music inspired by early 20th century Paris, and listen to Terry Gross’s interview with accordionist Will Holshouser on NPR’s Fresh Air.
September 25 & 26
Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 East Main St. Hillsboro.
The Pink Martini founder and bandleader, who’s been exploring his classical side more in recent years, gives a pair of solo recitals, including some Schubert and some surprises, including collaborators.
Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra
September 25, Lincoln Hall at PSU, 1620 SW Park Ave. Portland, and September 27, Mt Hood Community College, NE Kane Dr. & 29th St.
The orchestra plays two of Tchaikovsky’s most (over)familiar works: his first piano concerto and last symphony. At least it gives us a chance to show this clip again. No word whether Third Angle pianist Susan Smith will try it this way.
Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park at Market, Portland.
The Russian virtuoso makes his Portland debut with a program that includes, over two-days, Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich’s 20th century equivalent of J. S. Bach’s 18th century classic: all 24 Preludes and Fugues, one of the great recent keyboard cycles. Saturday’s recital also includes a Schubert masterwork.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway Ave. Portland.
The orchestra’s new artist in residence, master percussionist Colin Currie, joins the band in one of the great sacred works of recent years, the explosive Veni Veni Emmanuel, by his fellow Scot James MacMillan. The program also includes music by Cherubini and excerpts from Bedrich Smetana’s My Country, including the ever-popular “The Moldau.”
Newport Performing Arts Center, 777 W. Olive Street, Newport.
Adam Flatt leads the orchestra in the vibrant “Courtly Dances” from Benjamin Britten’s 1953 opera Gloriana, Haydn’s exhilarating Symphony #87, and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
7 pm September 26, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 426 E. 4th Plain Blvd. Vancouver, WA.
2 pm September 27, St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 1428 22nd Ave. Longview, WA.
This yearly choral re-creation is such a unique endeavor that it deserves notice. Chor Anno (loosely translated “annual choir”) is a group of current and former music educators (from elementary to college), with few exceptions. Founded in 2009 by Howard Meharg, the 31-voice ensemble will offer primarily a cappella pieces by Runestad, Copland and Olleson, and a NW premier by John Muehleisen. Director Meharg, known for his long and successful tenure as choral director at R. A. Long High School in Longview and as champion of the Northwest American Choral Director’s Association, convenes the group in Vancouver for two weekends of rehearsals (May and August) and this upcoming grand weekend of concerts. The singers journey from Tri-Cities, WA, Boise, ID, Pullman, WA, Tacoma, and surrounds of Portland; the award for longest trek goes yearly to Nicole Lamartine, director of choral activities at University of Wyoming, Laramie, who was appointed Associate Director of Chor Anno in 2015. A dozen singers from the inaugural year continue to sing with the group. Many of the singers (ArtsWatchers will recognize some of them from other choirs) get paid to sing in other performances throughout the year; they lift their voices in Chor Anno only for the joy. — Bruce Browne.
Portland choral conductor Bruce Browne directed the choral programs at Portland State University for many years and led Portland Symphonic Choir, Choral Cross Ties, and many other choirs. He has guest conducted Chor Anno and his wife sings in the group.
The Byrd Ensemble
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, 1112 SE 41st Ave, Portland.
The fine Seattle-based choir, joined by Portland singer-scholar Kerry McCarthy, sings a gorgeous program of Renaissance sacred music by John Sheppard, John Taverner, Thomas Tallis, and more, offering a chance to hear this music in a more intimate, transparent setting than usual.
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