MusicWatch
Chamber Music Northwest Imani Winds and BodyVox Beautiful Everything The Reser Beaverton Oregon

MusicWatch Monthly: the darkling buds of May

There’s an old Oregon saying: “April showers bring May showers.” Our famously persnickety springs tend to veer from warm noon-times of glorious blooming sunshine to those long desperate afternoons of deep drizzling gloom that have our S.A.D. souls begging the gods, “when

MusicWatch Weekly: hearing the future

Music, like any other art form, must prove itself to each generation if it’s going to last. That’s why classical music and jazz organizations increasingly sponsor shows suited to kids and families, like Oregon Symphony’s Sci-Fi at the Pops shows Saturday and

MusicWatch Weekly: psychedeliclassical

Classical music still lags a ways behind, say, the reggae community when it comes to appropriately celebrating 4/20. Admittedly, the some of the thrill has kind of, uh, gone up in smoke since Oregon finally ended the preposterous cannabis Prohibition, but it’s

MusicWatch Weekly: females in the foreground

Women’s History Month just passed, but fortunately, times are changing enough that Oregon performers and presenters are no longer confining half the human race’s creative accomplishments to only one-twelfth of the calendar year. Several concerts this week focus on women’s voices and

MusicWatch Weekly: across the ages

Oregonians today are lucky to be able to hear live performances of music from several centuries, not just the narrow 150 year swath of Central European music that once dominated classical concerts. This week’s concert schedule includes music from the Renaissance, Baroque,

MusicWatch Weekly: spring songs

These dark days, it does indeed take a lot of audacity to hope, much more than it did when those words first inspired the nation. Portland Gay Men’s Chorus’s concert of that title includes pop faves like Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me”

MusicWatch Weekly: spring awakenings

As 21st century America belatedly recognizes that gender isn’t always a binary phenomenon, artists have increasingly illuminated its fluid, spectral reality, as Oregonians have seen in recent Time Based Art Festival performances, last fall’s Contralto show by Third Angle, and more. Now

MusicWatch Weekly: virtuoso visits

Back when musical minimalism was the young brash upstart, naysayers called the style simplistic, faddish, and worse. “Never last,” many pundits predicted. Wrong. Half a century on, the style echoes not just in the music of its still-vibrant pioneers like Terry Riley,

MusicWatch Weekly: natural classical

Oregonians live in a nexus between the natural world that drew so many of us here and the human-created environment that nurtures us. That juxtaposition has inspired several of this week’s musical highlights. • Read my ArtsWatch preview of Habitat, Third Angle

MusicWatch Weekly: global musical tour

If America, or at least its government, seems a little crazy these days, and you can’t afford to skip the country, the week offers several opportunities for virtual world travel through music. • PDX Jazz Festival’s irresistible double feature The Soul of

MusicWatch Weekly: jazz tributes

Today’s jazz is often about tributes to yesterday’s jazz, especially the post-bop through fusion music of the late 1950s through the ‘70s. It’s easy to understand why — that music is a pinnacle of human artistic achievement that still delights millions of

MusicWatch Weekly: American originals

When Chamber Music Northwest favorites the Dover Quartet, one of America’s hottest youngish string quartets scheduled a 2004 piece from one of America’s hottest young (then 27 year old) composers on their CMNW program, they might have known that San Francisco-based composer

MusicWatch Weekly: winter light

Welcome to the light edition of MusicWatch! Like everybody else, our New Years resolutions included slimming down both spending and girth. You could trim down your musical meanderings and expenses this week by confining them to the campus of Portland State University,

MusicWatch Weekly: reflections on divisions

As we were saying last week, considering how unfairly under-represented they are on classical concert programs, a startling number of the 21st century’s finest composers in the classical tradition are women, who have managed to surmount centuries of barriers to musical gender

MusicWatch Weekly: women’s works

One of the many problems with the classical music establishment’s (finally) waning historical museum mentality is that if its artistic leaders aren’t careful, they can wind up reproducing yesterday’s regressive social attitudes on today’s stages. Long before classical music had its own

MusicWatch Weekly: hidden figures

Best known as the premier exponent and explorer of the musical traditions of Byzantium and other early Christian music, Cappella Romana has recently branched out into other Orthodox Christian music descended from Byzantine origins, including Russian, Finnish, Ukrainian and more. You’re unlikely

MusicWatch Weekly: dead of winter

If you’re looking for new music in the new year, pickings are slim, but a few shows provide some 21st century sounds. • The Creative Music Guild’s Extradition Series explores the connections between today’s sounds and mid-century 20th modern classical music, especially

MusicWatch Weekly: exploratory opportunities

Like the rest of our post-holiday recuperation, the first week of Oregon’s 2019 concert season starts relatively sluggishly. But there are a few good shows that you might have missed during a busier time of the season. Each offers a great chance

MusicWatch Weekly: ringing out, ringing in

Celebrating a new year’s arrival is a perpetual affirmation of hope over experience. So it’s appropriate that some of Oregon’s end of year events represent elements we need more of in classical music: youthful vitality, widespread participation, inclusive American programming, laughter. •

MusicWatch Weekly: holiday highlights

The winter holiday: a time for rest, reflection, restoration, reconnection. But they too often mean stress: travel, house guests, obligatory cards and gifts. Sometimes by early January, I feel like I need a vacation from my supposed vacation. Which is why it’s

MusicWatch Weekly: American holidays

Millions of Americans celebrate Christmas, but let’s face it, the Yuletide is hardly an American original. Sometimes it seems that about all we’ve contributed to a story that began in the Middle East and was St. Nicked by Europeans, is our characteristic

MusicWatch Weekly: for the children

The Christmas season celebrates a child’s birth and delights kids all over the world. But there’s little comfort and joy for many children today. Even before little Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on that Turkish beach three years ago, children were bearing

MusicWatch Weekly: winter’s tales

Remember when opera lovers despaired of experiencing their favorite art form during Oregon’s indoor seasons? Well, after switching to a summer festival schedule last year, Portland Opera has added back a fall performance and December brings several other operatic opportunities. Opera Theater Oregon

MusicWatch Weekly: small portions

This week is more about connecting with friends and family, contemplating gratitude, and consuming vittles than imbibing music, but Oregon nevertheless offers its usual bounty of concerts this week if you know where to look. One place is in a dance performance:

MusicWatch Weekly: odd ensembles

The weather’s changing, the climate’s changing, the Congress is changing, our linens are changing (flannel sheet season FTW!) and ensembles coming through Oregon this week are changing the formula for chamber music. • Take the combo of violin, viola, drum, and DJ.

MusicWatch Weekly: generation next

It’s probably too late for the next generations to save our planet from the greed and selfishness of their elders, but at least they’ll have music to console them. Young musicians, like young Americans in general, do give me what little hope

MusicWatch Weekly: solos and duos

Portland Opera opens its season with Verdi’s Bohemian Parisian perennial La Traviata, which runs this Friday night and Sunday afternoon, and next Thursday and Saturday at Portland’s Keller Auditorium. Romanian soprano Aurelia Florian, tenor Jonathan Boyd and Weston Hurt star in this

MusicWatch Weekly: jazz week

It used to be that Portlanders had to wait till winter’s PDX Jazz Festival to catch several strong jazz shows in a row. No more! Just check out this week’s improv-oriented offerings. • Wednesday. One jazz’s rising young stars, Jazzmeia Horn (besides bearing

MusicWatch Weekly: freedom songs

In focusing on the music of the past, classical music programming has too often ignored the concerns of the present. But over the past couple years, some Portland classical music organizations have focused on issues of social and especially racial justice —

MusicWatch Weekly: human voices

Portland’s big choirs once again present fans of choral music with some difficult choices. As happens too often — there’s a choral calendar that you’d think might help prevent this — several have scheduled shows on the same weekend, making it impossible

MusicWatch Weekly: American landscapes

Composers from around the country are commemorating the 50th anniversaries of the National Trails System Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by writing new music inspired by American landscapes. Like so many of the rest of us here in the Northwest, members of

MusicWatch Weekly: centennial celebration

Has any musician ever had a year like Leonard Bernstein did between November 1943 and December 1944? The 25-year-old wunderkind won national fame for fill-in conducting the New York Philharmonic on short notice in a nationally broadcast concert from Carnegie Hall, conducted

MusicWatch Weekly: time of the season

Yes, the Zombies no doubt played their iconic 1967 hit at Monday’s show at Revolution Hall, but there’s more seasonal music in the air this week. One of those iconic Portland fall traditions is to bring the family and some blankets and

MusicWatch Weekly: voicing identity

When making the transition to align their bodily appearance with their true identities, transgender women must learn to deal with the fact that their old voices don’t transition biologically, even with hormone treatment. One of them, New York composer Sarah Hennies, turned

MusicWatch Weekly: female gaze

Women: bad, deceptive, must be tamed. Seeking knowledge: bad, dangerous to entrenched power. Blind obedience: good. That’s how a certain sexist serial Twit might regard the Adam & Eve myth, which describes original sin, all right — by a misogynistic patriarchy against

MusicWatch Weekly: something in the water

We Oregonians can’t wait to for summer, and then when it gets here, we kvetch — the heat! The smoke! The kids underfoot! Not enough concerts! Wait, that hasn’t been true for awhile. But school’s back, for some, the heat wave is

MusicWatch Weekly: hot summer jazz

What began as an informal neighborhood musical soiree has blossomed into one of Portland’s jazz treasures. The fifth annual Montavilla Jazz Festival  at Portland Metro Arts, 9003 SE Stark, is headlined by the Grammy-nominated team of primo pianist Randy Porter’s Trio with jazz

MusicWatch Weekly: August catch-up

Keeping up with even the segment of Oregon’s increasingly busy music scene ArtsWatch can afford to cover (and we’d love to do more, if our readers and Oregon music institutions will help us pay for it) is nearly impossible when the season’s

MusicWatch Weekly: American classics

Every summer, The Shedd’s Oregon Festival of American Music approaches its two-week series of concerts, films, talks and more from different angles, but the Eugene festival’s perennial subject — American pop music from the 1920s to just before the rise of rock

MusicWatch Weekly: comings and goings

Portland’s summer music scene would feel incomplete without Portland SummerFest Opera in the Park, the annual free, family friendly opera performance in Washington Park Amphitheater, with the audience arrayed on their blankets gazing down at singers and orchestra on the amphitheater stage.

MusicWatch Weekly: indoor opera, outdoor jazz

When Portland Opera switched to a summer season last year, one stated reason was to avoid competition with other similar events. But operas and their American-born cousins, stage musicals, seem to be proliferating this summer. There’s no glass slipper or fairy godmother,

MusicWatch Weekly: pan man returns

Andy Akiho’s previous Chamber Music Northwest appearances with percussionist pal Ian Rosenbaum revealed both performance virtuosity — on the 39-year-old New Yorker’s unlikely instrument, the steel pan — and also a distinctive and appealing compositional imagination. In one of the summer festival’s

MusicWatch Weekly: passions and improvisations

J.S. Bach’s two surviving Passions (St. Matthew and St. John) remain pinnacles of Western music, more than a quarter millennium after he constructed them. Neither is on the program at this year’s Oregon Bach Festival, but this summer, Oregon does offer a

MusicWatch Weekly: festivalpalooza!

Acclaimed piano duo Stephanie & Saar once again return to Northwest Portland’s Vestas building Thursday to collaborate with Portland Percussion Group and other Portland performers in a five-hour marathon show. This time, the Makrokosmos Project 4: Dadapalooza program features one of the

MusicWatch Weekly: festival season

It’s not just the thermometer that’s heating up — summer music festival season is officially underway, bringing with it music by Oregon composers. Wednesday’s Astoria Music Festival concert at Astoria’s Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center, 588 16th Street, features a dozen

MusicWatch Weekly: sax attacks!

A squadron of saxophone sorcerers descends on Oregon’s music scene this week, many combining jazz with classical influences. British saxman and MC Soweto Kinch has been blending jazz, funk, hip hop and poetry in original ways for years, garnering a passel of

MusicWatch Weekly: stagy sounds

This year’s PAMTA Awards may be history, Cabaret has closed and Les Miz and Portland Gay Men’s Chorus’s United States of Broadway don’t arrive till next week, but this week still offers abundant opportunities to hear music that originated in musicals, opera

MusicWatch Weekly: choral collaborations

Normally many of us have to wait till August’s William Byrd Festival to hear the fine Portland choir Cantores in Ecclesia in a public concert. But on Sunday afternoon at the beautiful Mount Angel Abbey outside Silverton, you can hear them sing

MusicWatch Weekly: from Maxville to Vanport to here and now

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting” ― Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting So much of what ails America and Oregon has roots in our history. So much could be prevented or at least

MusicWatch Weekly: Mahlerian May

Mahler’s symphonies seem like a closing chapter, a culmination of big, Romantic orchestral music. So large (and expensive!) are the forces required, that orchestras often save them for the end of the season. On Thursday, Francesco Lecce-Chong concludes his debut season with

Corrib Theatre From a Hole in the Ground Contemporary Irish Theatre Alberta House Portland Oregon
Kalakendra Indian Classical Instrumental Music First Congregational Church Portland Oregon
Portland Opera Puccini in Concert Keller Auditorium Portland Oregon
Portland Center Stage at the Armory Coriolanus Portland Oregon
Cascadia Composers May the Fourth be with you Bold new music for winds and piano Lincoln Recital Hall PSU Portland Oregon
Chamber Music Northwest Imani Winds and BodyVox Beautiful Everything The Reser Beaverton Oregon
Portland Columbia Symphony Adelante Voices of Tomorrow Beaverton and Gresham Oregon
Newport Visual and Performing Arts Newport Oregon Coast
Kalakendra Indian Classical Instrumental Music First Congregational Church Portland Oregon
Triangle Productions Perfect Arrangement Portland Oregon
NW Dance Project Moving Stories Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
Oregon Repertory Singers Finding Light 50th Season Portland Oregon
Portland Playhouse Passing Strange Portland Oregon
Imago Theatre Carol Triffle Mission Gibbons Portland Oregon
Maryhill Museum of Art Goldendale Washington
Portland State University College of the Arts
Bonnie Bronson 2024 Fellow Wendy Red Star Reed College Reception Kaul Auditorium Foyer Portland Oregon
PassinArt Theatre and Portland Playhouse present Yohen Brunish Theatre Portland Oregon
Pacific Maritime Heritage Center Prosperity of the Sea Lincoln County Historical Society Newport Oregon Coast
Portland Art Museum Virtual Sneakers to Cutting Edge Kicks Portland Oregon
High Desert Museum Sasquatch Central Oregon
Oregon Cultural Trust donate
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