Weekly MusicWatch: Space frogs, party operas, new music

It's time to celebrate in Oregon music this week

On stage this weekend around Oregon: pair of opera parties—one set at a masked ball, the other featuring music for wedding parties and drinking songs—joins new music by Oregon composers in no fewer than eight shows, a pair of top choral concerts, and a musical for horns about interplanetary frogs. Plus chamber music, orchestra music, Indian music, Japanese music and more.

Third Angle New Music
April 21-2
Studio 2@Zoomtopia, 810 SE Belmont, Portland
Multitalented Oregon Symphony bassoonist Evan Kuhlmann programmed, arranged and stars in a show featuring music by Pulitzer Prize winning American composers Steve Reich (his zingy Electric Counterpoint, composed for jazz guitar god Pat Metheny, here somehow transformed into a bassoon showcase) and David Lang (the wittily titled Press/Release, which refers not to media relations but to operating a keyed instrument), plus compositions by Frank Zappa and Kuhlmann himself.

Northwest Horn Orchestra
April 21
Alberta Rose Theater, 3000 NE Alberta, Portland
For their tenth anniversary party, a dozen and a half of the region’s top horn players play music by Bach, Barber, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Debussy, and more — including the world’s first French horn musical, Marshification, about alien amphibian invaders. Does Trump know about this?

PICA brings Japanese sound artist Tetsuo Amide's latest creation.

PICA brings Japanese sound artist Tetsuo Umeda’s latest creation to Portland.

Tetsuya Umeda
April 22
Old Freeman Factory, 2638 NW Wilson St., Portland
Portland Institute of Contemporary Art brings the Osaka-based sound and installation artist to “create a sonic landscape from characteristics found above the ceiling or behind the wall, in lighting systems and structures, and construction of the building.”

Nayan Ghosh and Ishan Ghosh
April 22
The Music Room, 5395 SW Elm, Beaverton
The renowned Hindustani sitar and tabla master and his tabla-wallah son make their first ever Portland appearance at the new intimate performance space (Jalsaghar) created by Oregon Indian musician Josh Feinberg.

Oregon Composers Forum
April 22
Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon
Free concert features premieres of music by UO student composers.

PSU Opera's "The Bat" opens this weekend.

PSU Opera’s “The Bat” opens this weekend.

“The Bat” (Die Fledermaus)
April 22-May 1
Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave. Portland State University
PSU’s symphony orchestra accompanies the school’s national award winning opera program’s new full-scale production of Johann Strauss’s bubbly operetta, sung here in English and set in a masquerade ball.

“The Overview Effect”
April 21-23
Portland Center Stage
Read my ArtsWatch preview of composer Tylor Neist’s music-infused theater project. There’s an additional matinee performance on Thursday.

Tylor Neist's 'The Overview Effect" concludes at Portland Center Stage.

Tylor Neist’s ‘The Overview Effect” concludes at Portland Center Stage.

“Gentle Numbers in Eternity”
April 23
Mitsuki Dazai and Tessa Brinckman, Beaverton City Library auditorium, 12375 SW Fifth St. Beaverton
In this latest entry in the ever-intriguing afternoon Music in Small Spaces series, two of Oregon’s most adventurous musicians, the koto virtuosa and flutist celebrate National Poetry Month with performances of poems by Emily Dickinson, Portland composer Jack Gabel, Heid Erdrich, Carl Sandburg, Nellie Wong and Terrance Hayes, along with music by Japanese and American composers including Gabel, Yuji Takahashi, Ichiro Higo, John Neptune, Hiroshi Morikawa and Jim Franklin

Amalia Osuga stars in the University of Oregon's production of “Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night,” by Dominick Argento,

Amalia Osuga stars in the University of Oregon’s production of “Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night,” by Dominick Argento,

UO Opera Ensemble
April 23-4
Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon
Along with bibulous songs from great operas by Mozart, Strauss (yep, the batty one onstage at PSU), and more, this performance features Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night, a monodrama by Dominick Argento starring the Dickens character.

Classical Up Close
Various dates and venues, Portland
The admirable outreach program spearheaded by Oregon Symphony concertmaster Sarah Kwak and sponsored by All Classical Portland returns for a second year with “blitz” afternoon performances at Powell’s Bookstore and the Oregon Symphony offices, with lots more to come throughout the month. Read my ArtsWatch feature from last year.

“Extradition”
April 23
Leaven Community Center (formerly Redeemer Lutheran Church), 5431 NE 20th Ave. Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the latest concert in a new series devoted to music in the mid-20th century avant garde American tradition, by both local and nationally renowned composers.

The Music That Makes Us
April 23
Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave. Portland
The closing festival culminates PSU and Disjecta’s month long exhibition celebrating the art and music of Portland’s Kenton neighborhood. Read Grace Kook-Anderson’s ArtsWatch’s feature.

“Night, Too, Shall Be Beautiful”
April 23-24
Choral Arts Ensemble, The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave. Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of this concert featuring contemporary homegrown music by members Cascadia Composers as well as major contemporary choral composers like Morten Lauridsen, and Eric Whitacre.

Oregon Symphony cellist Nancy Ives gets up close and personal with young fans at a Classical Up Close event last year.

Oregon Symphony cellist Nancy Ives gets up close and personal with young fans at a Classical Up Close event last year.

“Critical Mass”
April 23-24
Oregon Repertory Singers, First United Methodist Church. 1838 SW Jefferson Street, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the choir’s performance of masses by Vaughan Williams and Frank Martin.

Oregon Symphony
April 23-5
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland
Violinist Simone Lamsma stars in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, and the orchestra also performs Shostakovich’s first symphony and Nielsen’s Greece-inspired Helios overture. Let’s hope the concerto goes better than it did in the video below.


Camerata PYP
April 24
Wieden+Kennedy, 224 NW 13th Ave., Portland
Portland Youth Philharmonic’s chamber orchestra continues its admirable exploration of American music for chamber orchestra with Portland composer (and PYP alum and mentor) Kenji Bunch’s Nocturne for String Orchestra, the great West Coast ultramodernist Henry Cowell’s lovelyHymn and Fuguing Tune No. 2, and a couple of Spring-y selections: contemporary Chicago composer James Stephenson’s Printemps and an un-American classic, Vivaldi’s “Spring” concerto from his Four Seasons.

Hearing The Future
April 24
Eliot Chapel, Reed College, Portland
Read Artslandia’s preview of FearNoMusic’s annual showcase of new music by members of its admirable Young Composers Project, who work with the new music ensemble’s musicians for months to develop their compositions.

Son de Madera
April 24
The Old Church Concert Hall, 1422 SW 11th Ave, Portland
The Veracruz based ensemble makes its first visit to Portland to perform traditional songs, dances and poetry of Southern Mexico.

Wayne Thompson Tribute
April 24
Alberta Abbey, Portland
This celebration of the life of the longtime Oregonian reporter/editor/jazz journalist features memories and music by star Portland jazz pianist Randy Porter, with Dave Captain, Gary Hobbs and David Evans.

Ova Novi Ensemble
April 25
Beall Concert Hall, UO, Eugene
This free concert performed by UO students features music composed by women, including works by Pauline Oliveros and Cara Haxo.

Want to read more about Oregon music? Support Oregon ArtsWatch!
Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

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