All Classical Radio James Depreist

Classical Up Close: It’s all about those basses (and a lot more)

The chamber musicians wind up their movable feast of a spring season with a pair of concerts featuring a bass quartet, flute, steel pan drums, and composers from Haydn to Andy Akiho.

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What's better than a single double bass? A quartet of double basses, playing Peter Hansen's "Basso Bossa" at Classical Up Close's season-ending concert at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Beaverton. From left: Chris Kim, Mariya-Andoniya Andonova, Colin Corner, and  Kaden Henderson.
What’s better than a single double bass? A quartet of double basses, playing Peter Hansen’s “Basso Bossa” at Classical Up Close’s season-ending concert at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Beaverton. From left: Chris Kim, Mariya-Andoniya Andonova, Colin Corner, and Kaden Henderson.


Photographs by JOE CANTRELL


And just like that, it’s over until next year. On Wednesday, May 8, at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Beaverton, Classical Up Close finished its eleventh season of casual, friendly, and free performances around greater Portland, wrapping things up on a high note.

Make that a high note of low notes. The season-closing concert came to a resounding climax with a performance of Peter Hansen’s Basso Bossa, a piece written for not one, not two, not three, but four double bassists. Bowing through the musical depths for Classical Up Close were bassists Chris Kim, Mariya-Andoniya Andonova, Colin Corner, and  Kaden Henderson.

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From the beginning the driving creative concept of Classical Up Close has been to get small groups of Oregon Symphony musicians out of the concert hall and into places where people gather, breaking down barriers and making connections in places ranging from book stores and cafes to libraries and churches.

This season, which began April 17 with a pop-up performance at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, touched down for casual pop-up shows at gathering spots such as Powell’s City of Books, Costello’s Travel Caffe, the Beaverton City Library, and Westmoreland’s Union Manor. The season’s half-dozen full-length concerts, each emceed by All Classical Radio host Christa Wessel, were in church halls; and a week ago, on Saturday, May 5, the musicians set up shop in downtown Portland’s recently reopened Multnomah County Central Library for a pair of afternoon kids’ concerts.

As he was for Classical Up Close’s over-the-airwaves season preview April 12 on All Classical Radio’s Thursdays @ 3 broadcast and the pop-up at Powell’s City of Books, photographer Joe Cantrell was on hand for Wednesday’s season finale at St. Bartholomew and the previous evening’s concert at Red Sea Community Church in North Portland.

Cantrell and his camera captured a wealth of telling moments from the pair of concerts, ranging from affable conversations between musicians and audiences to backstage selfie-snapping and performances of music that ranged from a pair of Andy Akiho percussive pieces to works for flute, piano, trumpet, harp, and other instruments, and compositions ranging from Haydn and Mozart to contemporary composers such as Akiho, Hansen, and James M. Stephenson.

Old and new, the music was fresh, invigorating, accessible, and enjoyable. See — and hear — you next year.

— The Editors

Composer and steel pan player Andy Akiho answering audience questions after the performances of his percussion pieces "Pillar III" and "Portal" at Red Sea Community Church in North Portland.
Composer and steel pan player Andy Akiho answering audience questions after the performances of his percussion pieces “Pillar III” and “Portal” at Red Sea Community Church in North Portland.
Classical Up Close musicians performing Andy Akiho's percussion works beneath the uplifting rise of Red Sea Community Church on May 7.
Classical Up Close musicians performing Andy Akiho’s percussion works beneath the uplifting rise of Red Sea Community Church on May 7.
Musicians and fans mingle freely at Classical Up Close concerts. Here, bassist Colin Corner talks with an audience member after a performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Piano Quintet in C minor at Red Sea Community Church.
Musicians and fans mingle freely at Classical Up Close concerts. Here, bassist Colin Corner talks with an audience member after a performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Piano Quintet in C minor at Red Sea Community Church.
All Classical Radio host Christa Wessel (left), who served as emcee for this season's Classical Up Close full-length concerts, and violinist Shin-Young Kwon, who performed in Jean-Marie Leclaire's Sonata for 2 Violins in E Minor, Op.3 No.5 and Ralph Vaughan Williams' Piano Quintet in C minor at Red Sea Community Church.
All Classical Radio host Christa Wessel (left), who served as emcee for this season’s Classical Up Close full-length concerts, and violinist Shin-Young Kwon, who performed in Jean-Marie Leclaire’s Sonata for 2 Violins in E Minor, Op.3 No.5 and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Piano Quintet in C minor at Red Sea Community Church.
Flutist Martha Long,  performing Claude Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp in Classical Up Close's May 7 concert at Red Sea Community Church.
Flutist Martha Long, performing Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp in Classical Up Close’s May 7 concert at Red Sea Community Church.
Harpist Matthew Tutsky and violist Amanda Grimm, who performed Claude Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp with flutist Martha Long at Red Sea.
Harpist Matthew Tutsky and violist Amanda Grimm, who performed Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp with flutist Martha Long at Red Sea.
Documenting the moment: Christa Wessel created a selfie after each intermission, and others were eager to get in on the act.
Documenting the moment: Christa Wessel created a selfie after each intermission, and others were eager to get in on the act.
Classical Up Close musicians are also members of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, and the boss gets in on the action, too: David Danzmayr, the symphony's music director, works the door, handing out programs.
Classical Up Close musicians are also members of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, and the boss gets in on the action, too: David Danzmayr, the symphony’s music director, works the door, handing out programs.
Violinist Jeong Yoon Lee and cellist Seth Biagin playing Mozart's Duo for Violin and Cello, K.424 (after the Duos for Violin and Viola K.424) in Classical Up Close's season-ending concert May 8 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.
Violinist Jeong Yoon Lee and cellist Seth Biagin playing Mozart’s Duo for Violin and Cello, K.424 (after the Duos for Violin and Viola K.424) in Classical Up Close’s season-ending concert May 8 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.
Pianist Maria Garcia (left) and trumpeter Jeff Work, who performed James M. Stephenson's "Silent Echoes for Trumpet and Piano" at St. Bartholomew's, with emcee Christa Wessel.
Pianist Maria Garcia (left) and trumpeter Jeff Work, who performed James M. Stephenson’s “Silent Echoes for Trumpet and Piano” at St. Bartholomew’s, with emcee Christa Wessel.
That's a lot of bass! Musicians Mariya-Andoniya Andonova, Colin Corner, and  Kaden Henderson share a laugh with a fan after their season-concluding performance of Peter Hansen's "Basso Bossa" for a quartet of double basses (fellow bassist Chris Kim is out of the frame).
That’s a lot of bass! Musicians Mariya-Andoniya Andonova, Colin Corner, and  Kaden Henderson share a laugh with a fan after their season-concluding performance of Peter Hansen’s “Basso Bossa” for a quartet of double basses (fellow bassist Chris Kim is out of the frame).
The season, brought to a satisfying close: Board members Susan Shepperd (left) and cellist/composer Nancy Ives bask in the glow of a job well done.
The season, brought to a satisfying close: Board members Susan Shepperd (left) and cellist/composer Nancy Ives bask in the glow of a job well done.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

I spent my first 21 years in Tahlequah, Cherokee County, Oklahoma, assuming that except for a few unfortunate spots, ‘everybody’ was part Cherokee, and son of the soil. Volunteered for Vietnam because that’s what we did. After two stints, hoping to gain insight, perhaps do something constructive, I spent the next 16 years as a photojournalist in Asia, living much like the lower income urban peasants and learning a lot. Moved back to the USA in 1986, tried photojournalism and found that the most important subjects were football and basketball, never mind humankind. In 1992, age 46, I became single dad of my 3-year-old daughter and spent the next two decades working regular jobs, at which I was not very good, to keep a roof over our heads, but we made it. She’s retail sales supervisor for Sony, Los Angeles. Wowee! The VA finally acknowledged that the war had affected me badly and gave me a disability pension. I regard that as a stipend for continuing to serve humanity as I can, to use my abilities to facilitate insight and awareness, so I shoot a lot of volunteer stuff for worthy institutions and do artistic/scientific work from our Cherokee perspective well into many nights. Come along!

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