Dynamic duos — pairs of composers, performers, even ensembles — dot the week’s Oregon musical match-ups, but trios, quartets, and larger aggregations are also available for your enjoyment. You can find another dozen or so classical listings on the All Classical radio calendar (and why not toss them a contribution during the station’s fundraiser?) and even that omits several, so feel free to let readers know about other music events of interest in the comments section below.
Third Angle New Music, Studio 2@Zoomtopia, Portland
One of the more inventive concerts in recent years saw Third Angle adeptly blending recorded excerpts of conversations between two of America’s most influential composers, John Cage and Morton Feldman, with performances of their music at Portland Art Museum in 2012, including Feldman’s magnificent Rothko Chapel, with help from singers from Resonance Ensemble. This smaller scale production boasts some important midcentury American music by Cage, Feldman (including the Oregon premiere of a long-lost 1966 work for guitar) and their New York School friend and colleague, Christian Wolff, plus a movement from a 1925 composition by Anton Webern; Cage and Feldman’s mutual admiration for the daring Second Viennese School composer ignited their friendship.
“Choir on Fire”
PSU Chamber Choir, Man Choir, and Vox Femina, First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson Street, Portland
Portland State University’s international award winning top choirs sing music by the great contemporary European composers Eriks Esenvalds and Veljo Tormis, plus works by Verdi, Elgar and Bollywood music and Indian pop, with help from Indian percussionists.
March 11 & 13
Village Baptist Church, 330 SW Murray Blvd, Beaverton
If you missed the Oregon Symphony’s spectacular performance of Holst’s The Planets last month, you can catch it here — this time accompanied by an original video of imagery from NASA missions throughout our solar system. Pianist Eloise Kim joins the orchestra for Liszt’s first piano concerto, and the program also includes one of Stravinsky’s suites for small orchestra.
First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1126 SW Park Ave, Portland
The Portland choir celebrates its first decade with music by Samuel Barber (Agnus Dei, the great 20th century American composer’s setting of his famous string Adagio for chorus), Oregon composer Jason Heald (a Shakespeare sonnet setting for harp and choir), and more music by Ola Gjeilo (Tundra for women’s voices and string quartet), Hildegard of Bingen, and others.
Lyrical Strings Duo
March 12, Beaverton City Library auditorium, 12375 SW Fifth St. Beaverton, and March 13, Soma Space, 4050 NE Broadway St. Portland
Prague-born violinist Lucie Zálešáková and classical guitarist Stephen Osserman celebrate the release of their enchanting second album, On An Overgrown Path with afternoon performances of folk- and gypsy-inspired classical music from their new CD (including compositions from Bohemia, Moravia, Poland and Ukraine by Janacek, Martinu, Wieniawski and Lysenko) along with older favorites and new arrangements.
“The Old School”
Portland Baroque Orchestra
March 12, First Baptist Church; March 13, Reed College, Portland
Baroque, Brandenburg concerto (#6), Monica Hugget directing … fab if familiar PBO fare, but this recommended concert also offers the rarer opportunity to hear the band with voices (soprano Molly Quinn, alto Laura Thoreson, tenor David Hendrix, and baritone Sumner Thompson) singing cantatas by J. S. Bach (the gripping Actus Tragicus), one of his many musical relatives, Johann Christoph Bach, and his much more renowned (in their time) colleague, Georg Philipp Telemann.
Lincoln Hall, Portland State University
In these Portland Piano International recitals, the rising star plays music by JS Bach, Brahms, Liszt, Debussy, Tchaikovsky and more.
” Songs From Nature”
March 12, Living Savior Lutheran Church, 8740 SW Sagert Street, Tualatin, and March 13 Saint Matthew Catholic Church, 447 SE 3rd Avenue, Hillsboro
Artistic director candidate Jason Sabino leads the 66 voice choir in music from the Americas, including works by Randall Thompson and contemporary composer John Corigliano’s powerful Fern Hill.
March 12 & 14
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland
One of the orchestra’s most interesting concerts of the season is an all-20th century program (if you count Debussy’s beguiling 1894 Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun as being way ahead of its time in setting the stage for 20th century music) featuring Aaron Copland’s spellbinding theater music for Irwin Shaw’s aborted 1940 play about what famous radio host Jean Shepherd called the Night People, Quiet City;longtime Oregon resident Ernest Bloch’s big, rarely heard 1938 Violin Concerto (featuring OSO concertmaster Sarah Kwak), which somehow successfully melds Old Testament, late Romantic and Native American influences; and Bela Bartok’s dark, dramatic music for a rather grisly 1920s pantomime, The Miraculous Mandarin.
March 14 and 15
Lincoln Performance Hall, Portland State University 1620 SW Park Ave, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the incomparable string foursome’s latest Oregon visit.
University of Oregon Saxophone Studio and Oregon Composers Forum
Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon
This free concert, the culmination of a five month collaboration between UO student composers and sax students of UO prof Idit Shner, features premieres for sax duos, trios, and quartets written for this performance. The show will also be live streamed.
Well-Strung & the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus
Adrianna Hill Grand Ballroom, 918 SW Yamhill St. Portland
The hunky singing string quartet joins the big Portland choir to perform pop and classical covers and original songs.
Portland Opera Resident Artists
Portland Art Museum, Whitsell Auditorium, Portland
Soprano Katrina Galka and mezzo Abigail Dock, accompanied by Portland Opera Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor Nicholas Fox, sing music by Poulenc, Schumann, Schubert, Berlioz, and a tribute to Judy Garland featuring American songbook standards by Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers and more. The intimate recitals program is a great way to hear rising young singing stars in a wider range of repertoire.