MusicWatch Tonight: Piano, Cello and more

Speaking of surfeits, tonight, July 14, Portland classical music fans face at least a three-pronged dilemma.

Lara Downes is in town for Portland International Piano Festival

By a narrow margin, OAW’s top recommendation is Portland International Piano Festival’s recital by Lara Downes, who offers an all-American program of music by three of our greatest composers: Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and George Gershwin.

She’s performing a different program tomorrow (Friday) night at Portland’s Vie de Boheme wine bar, presented by the city’s Classical Revolution group:  a baker’s dozen of contemporary composers “reimagining” J.S. Bach’s allegedly soporific Goldberg Variations. (That story’s a myth, BTW.)  She presenting a workshop on the latter tomorrow (Friday) morning at the Forestry Center as part of PIP. If these commissions are anywhere near as successful as Anthony De Mare’s splendid similar project involving Stephen Sondheim’s music that rocked the World Forestry Center Tuesday night, we’ll be in for a treat indeed.

Adam Hurst

Also tonight, at Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium, Chamber Music Northwest presents a cellistic concert of music by Bach, Milton Babbitt, Igor Stravinsky and Gaspar Cassado, all featuring the redoubtable cellist Fred Sherry, who’s been a persistent and cheerful promoter of contemporary music for decades. The concert also features Pavel Haas’s second string quartet and the usual passel of top American classical players, including the wonderfully sensitive pianist Shai Wosner, one of my favorite CMNW musicians. The concert repeats Friday night at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall.

And speaking of cellos, fans of contemporary, rather neo-romantic cello music can catch the latest release from Portland cellist Adam Hurst, who’s frequently seen sawing away with great aplomb at the Portland Airport, Farmers Markets, and other public venues. Better to rehearse in public, and put the hat out. He’s performing with pianist Vince Frates at The Old Church in downtown Portland.

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