Seattle Opera Barber of Seville
Picture of Matthew Neil Andrews
Picture of Matthew Neil Andrews
Matthew Neil Andrews
Music editor Matthew Neil Andrews is a composer, writer, and alchemist specializing in the intersection of The Weird and The Beautiful. An incorrigible wanderer who spent his teens climbing mountains and his twenties driving 18-wheelers around the country, Matthew can often be found taking his nightly dérive walks all over whichever Oregon city he happens to be in. He and his music can be reached at monogeite.bandcamp.com.
Composer Oscar Bettison. Photo by Sarah Bettison.

Building and rebuilding

Composer Oscar Bettison talks about making cool music and helping the Oregon Symphony kick off its season.

MusicWatch Weekly: Second summer chills out

Happy Indonesian Independence Day! Seventy-four years ago today, Indonesia declared its independence from the Netherlands after three centuries of Dutch colonialism (I’ll bet you thought they were always just about tulips and weed). To celebrate, here’s a little video (if you can’t

Ryan Thorn as The Officer and Martin Bakari as The Visitor in Portland Opera's new production of Philip Glass's In the Penal Colony. Photo by Cory Weaver.

MusicWatch Weekly: Happy accidents

Allow me to get personal for a moment. You, my dear readers, know that I’m involved in this vibrant local music scene I’ve been writing about every week for the last three years. As a student at Portland State University, I walk

Harpist and composer Sage Fisher. Photo by Matt Hook.

MusicWatch Weekly: Hot and cold running summer

Portland summers have a little something for everyone. If you like your summers dry, hot, and aggressive, you can easily get your fill of blinding, baking, oppressively sweaty sunpocalypse. If you like your summers bitter, cloudy, soggy, and unseasonably cold—well, you’ll get

MusicWatch Weekly: Flutes and strings and weirdos

Chamber Music Northwest seems a lot quieter since the clarinet circus left town. After last week’s brouhaha—a wide swath of concerts featuring upwards of a hundred clarinets—the audiences at Thursday night’s Copland/Shaw concert and today’s New@Noon felt hushed, rapt, attentively relaxed in

Singers Zachary Lenox, Hannah Penn, and Vanessa Isiguen, and basset horn players Todd Kuhn, James Shields, and Richard Hawkins perform Mozart at CMNW. Photo by Tom Emerson.

MusicWatch Weekly: clarinets cut loose!

“Good afternoon! I’m David Shifrin, and I play the clarinet!” A big roomful of laughing clarinetists goes “woooo!” and welcomes the Chamber Music Northwest Artistic Director to Portland State University’s Lincoln Performance Hall for the first of the festival’s five New@Noon concerts.

Column Zero: Summer comes alive

We here at Oregon Arts Watch tend to pay a lot of attention to Oregon composers. In a sense, our job is made easier by the problem outlined yesterday by Senior Editor Brett Campbell: we like local composers, living or recent, diverse

Music makes the message come alive

The first movement of Melissa Dunphy’s new choral composition LISTEN sets texts from Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, with lines like “I thought he respected my work” and “When I was asked, I had to tell the

‘As One’: e pluribus unum

by MATTHEW ANDREWS Portland Opera’s As One is, on one hand, about one type of transgender experience (there are many); on the other hand, it’s not really about being transgender, any more than the Barber of Seville is about being a barber.

FearNoMusic: Musical Terroirists

Kenji Bunch is either an oenophile or he’s been reading Jeff VanderMeer. The Fear No Music artistic director introduced the ensemble’s fifth annual Locally Sourced Sounds concert post-concert Q&A with a discussion of the somewhat esoteric term terroir, used to describe the

Oregon Symphony Orchestra: Nightmares before Christmas

By MATTHEW ANDREWS In my comfy balcony seat in Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, I realized with a start that I was about to hear, for the first time ever, a real live orchestra performing the music of my favorite composer. It

Oregon & Vancouver Symphony Orchestras: reanimating the exquisite corpse

By MATTHEW ANDREWS Two Northwest orchestras—one in Portland, one in Vancouver—recently put on a couple of concerts epitomizing the Perfectly Ordinary Symphonic Concert. In November, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performed music by Hector Berlioz, Aram Khachaturian, and Felix Mendelssohn; in December, Oregon Symphony

Fear No Music: music of migration and more

by MATTHEW ANDREWS Portland contemporary classical music organization Fear No Music is a civic treasure. It cultivates audiences, artists, and composers through outreach and education programs. It keeps the classical tradition alive, performing select works from the contemporary classical canon while spending

‘The Little Prince’: flight of imagination

By MATTHEW ANDREWS This weekend at downtown Portland’s lovely Dolores Winningstad Theatre, Opera Theater Oregon premieres its new production of The Little Prince. That’s the whole run, so if you’re going you’d better get a move on. The opera—with libretto by British

Resonance Ensemble: amplifying ‘Hidden Voices’

It’s a testimony to Portland choral group Resonance Ensemble’s sense of community that they collaborate with and share their concerts with other artists—sometimes several. At Resonance’s October 21 Hidden Voices concert, the choir shared the spotlight with journalist-turned-poet S. Renee Mitchell, BRAVO

Choral Arts Ensemble & Cappella Romana: many ways of being many 

Portland’s choral scene is so abundant it has its own calendar. With such an bounty of choirs, it’s no surprise that they represent many different ways of singing together. Two concerts in October—Choral Arts Ensemble’s season opener on October 13 at Rose

Oregon Symphony preview: puppety ‘Petrushka’

This weekend, in the season’s first batch of SoundStories concerts, the Oregon Symphony Orchestra performs Petrushka in a puppety production directed by visual artist Doug Fitch. The OSO excels at this “classical-plus” sort of thing: classical music plus movies, classical music plus

Austin Hartman: conversing with Beethoven

Violinist Austin Hartman joined Pacifica Quartet last year— just in time to embark on performances of Beethoven’s complete string quartets, which the ensemble brings to Portland State University in a series of five concerts presented this week by Friends of Chamber Music.

Oregon Symphony: borrowed batons

Guest conductor Jun Märkl dashed out onto the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall stage, cueing the snare drummers mid-stride as he hopped up onto the podium and launched the oldest orchestra west of the Mississippi—your Oregon Symphony Orchestra—into our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra & Nicole Buetti: keeping orchestra music alive

“Good evening everyone!” Vancouver Symphony Orchestra music director Salvador Brotons told the full house at Skyview Concert Hall. “This evening: all American music. We usually play only the dead composers,” including this night’s classics by Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber. But this

Bridgetown Orchestra over troubled water

Story and photos by MATTHEW ANDREWS The spare music starts up, scales and single notes slowly traversing the speaker array around the room. A vast drone-hum like an industrial air-conditioning unit rises up almost subliminally and suddenly shuts off, weighty in its

‘Contralto’ and ‘Queer Opera Experience’: queer is a verb

Queer, like pride, is a verb. As a verb, it can have two opposing meanings: to problematize, and to normalize. In a single September weekend, Portlanders heard both, in very different approaches to queering art music. Third Angle’s September 14 season opener

Oregon Symphony: reaching for the stars

by MATTHEW ANDREWS The Oregon Symphony Orchestra started its season in September with two of the more unusual, less typically classical types of concerts it regularly produces. The first was part of the film-with-live-score series, always among the OSO’s most popular concerts;

45th Parallel: expanding universe

by MATTHEW ANDREWS This year, 45th Parallel goes through a double shift, as the Portland-based classical music organization enters its 10th season and adds “Universe” to its appellation, reflecting a broadening of its roster and repertoire. This happens just as founder and

Indian Summer

Two recent concerts of Indian classical music—one presented by Kalakendra, the other by Dance Mandal and Michael Stirling—made a good contrast in listening experiences. One was a family affair, local vocalist Stirling accompanied by his friend Joss Jaffe on tabla and his

Imani Winds: unapologetically bold

What’s special about Imani Winds, besides their overall badassery as a woodwind quintet, is that the group boasts two composers—horn player Jeff Scott and flutist Valerie Coleman. Although Coleman is taking a break from performing with the group, her presence (physical and

Andy Akiho: systems within systems

In the midst of a five-week music festival, a weird mid-week show starring composer-performer Andy Akiho felt like a village gathering. Akiho’s music, after all, is geared towards pretty specific tastes: challengingly colorful modern classical music, complex rhythmic grooviness and modern sonorities, rooted

Chamber Music Northwest: music of defiance and transcendence

Chamber Music Northwest celebrated Bastille Day 2018 with music by two of France’s greatest composers and two of the myriad composers they inspired. The first program featured mostly music by Stravinsky, who spent many of his most creative years in Paris, with a

Nokuthula Ngwenyama: in the middle of things

Primal Message is “based on the idea of communicating the things we learn to communicate with each other: our intelligence, our emotions, our goodness,” its composer, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, told the audience at its Chamber Music Northwest premiere in July. A meditation on communication

Caballito Negro: embracing the void

I almost don’t want to tell you about Abbie Weisenbloom House in southeast Portland, where Ms. Weisenbloom has been hosting living room potluck shows for most of a decade. Like surfers and brunch enthusiasts, I don’t want to give up a sweet

Oregon Symphony 2018: bridging divides

I went and heard the oldest orchestra west of the Mississippi perform live six times during the first half of this year, from January’s Brahms v. Radiohead mashup to May’s season-closing Mahler’s Seventh Symphony. That’s more than once a month. By comparison,

Makrokosmos IV review: screwy, spiritual music for a summer evening

Story by MATTHEW ANDREWS Photography by Masataka Suemitsu Summer evening, Northwest Portland’s Vestas building, next to the Lego wind turbine. A box truck’s worth of vibraphone and xylophone and timpani and chimes and cymbals and crotales and tam-tams and on and on;

Uday Bhawalkar review: a quick primer on Indian music appreciation

You’ve probably heard Indian classical music before. Perhaps you’ve listened to a Ravi Shankar tape or watched videos of his daughter Anoushka, or maybe you’ve encountered its distinctive sounds in a Bollywood movie. If you’re extra lucky, you might live in a

‘Bodies’ review: Pride is a verb

“One of the most common questions I get is ‘what is pride?’,” said Pride Northwest Executive Director Debra Porta at the Q&A following Resonance Ensemble’s June concert, Bodies. “It’s difficult to put into words.” This echoed Porta’s words from the beginning of

Joan Tower: ‘The voice is in the risks’

I love Joan Tower’s music. It’s right there in the Goldilocks zone: serious but not stodgy, zealous but not brash, subtle but not understated, big and bold but also immediate and intimate, fun and exciting and weird but also somber, emotive, complex,

David Ludwig: telling the earth’s story through music

We chamber music devotees were gathered in Lincoln Performance Hall for one last night of concerti—a program of modern works closing Chamber Music Northwest’s Winter Festival—and the CMNW crew were all in paradoxically high spirits. When Executive Director Peter Bilotta came on

CMNW Council
Blueprint Arts Carmen Sandiego
Seattle Opera Barber of Seville
Stumptown Stages Legally Blonde
Corrib Hole in Ground
Kalakendra May 3
Portland Opera Puccini
Cascadia Composers May the Fourth
Portland Columbia Symphony Adelante
OCCA Monthly
NW Dance Project
Oregon Repertory Singers Finding Light
PPH Passing Strange
Maryhill Museum of Art
PSU College of the Arts
Bonnie Bronson Fellow Wendy Red Star
Pacific Maritime HC Prosperity
PAM 12 Month
High Desert Sasquatch
Oregon Cultural Trust
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