MusicWatch Weakly: Slim pickings

Choices are limited during this brief, not-so-strong stretch in Oregon classical music

That icy weather chilling the state seems to have also put the classical and jazz music scene into a temporary deep freeze, so we especially need ArtsWatch readers’ recommendations in the comments section below to fill this post up to a decent length. Even so, there’s some sweet shows to warm up the new year. And we’ve added some happy music news tidbits to help.

**UPDATE** the pickings just got slimmer, as Friends of Chamber Music has announced that guest cellist Johannes Moser has canceled his appearance due to the flu. The Pacifica Quartet’s performances Monday and Tuesday will go on — see below for the updated repertoire. The Oregon Symphony’s first-ever Vancouver WA appearance will have to wait a little longer — it’s been canceled, and the January 7 performance moved to January 9. Because of the weekend’s winter weather woes, please check with the venues to make sure any events you’re attending this weekend will actually happen where and when they’re scheduled.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg performs with the Oregon Symphony this weekend. Photo: Christian Steiner.

**UPDATED** Oregon Symphony, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg
Jan. 6, Smith Auditorium, Willamette University, Salem; January 9 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
Like Cher, Prince, Madonna, Sting, Elvis, and other music superstars, she doesn’t even need a last name to sell tickets. Read my Willamette Week preview of the fabulous violinist’s latest show with the orchestra, whose wind and brass sections are also playing a free show at Hillsboro’s Walters Cultural Arts Center Thursday afternoon, sans Salerno-Sonnenberg.

Nabucco” (broadcast)
January 7
Various cinemas
The Metropolitan Opera’s latest Live in HD broadcast to select cinemas features Verdi’s classic.

Byrd Ensemble
January 8
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Portland.
Some of the greatest music of the Renaissance came out of Spain — including Tomas Luis de Victoria’s magnificent Requiem, which highlights a splendid program of too-seldom heard sacred music performed by the Seattle based vocal dectet presented by Cappella Romana. Everything on the program was commissioned by or dedicated to royal members of the Habsburg empire that dominated much of Europe for centuries, and which counted Spanish monarchs Charles V and Philip II (of Armada infamy), including soaring sounds by Cristóbal de Morales, Alonso Lobo And Giovanni Palestrina.

Twelfth Night Handbell Celebration
January 8
First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, Eugene.
Soprano Phoebe Gildea and harpist Noah Brenner join the Handbell Choirs to perform a collection of classic Christmas music from carols to drinking songs.

Pacifica Quartet performs at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall. Photo: John Green.

**UPDATED**Pacifica Quartet
January 9-10
Lincoln Performance Hall, Portland State University 1620 SW Park Ave.
The award winning frequent Portland visitors (based, despite their name, in New York) were supposed to perform German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser in Monday night’s Friends of Chamber Music concert, but he’s flu-stricken in Germany, so instead, Monday’s quartet show will include Puccini’s “Chrysanthemums” quartet, Beethoven’s Op. 18 no. 6 quartet, and one of the all time jewels of chamber music, Ravel’s string quartet. They’ll reprise Ravel on Tuesday, and play quartets by Haydn and Shostakovich.

News & Notes

Bloching the Wayside: Last week, the Oregon Transportation Commission voted to approve proposal from the Ernest Bloch Legacy Project to change the name of the U.S. 101 wayside at Agate Beach to become Ernest Bloch Memorial Wayside. The road runs a few hundred feet from the home where the Swiss-born composer, who moved to Oregon in 1941, lived for decades, near NW Lighthouse Drive and U.S. 101. The Ernest Bloch Memorial currently located at the City of Newport’s Performing Arts Center will be moved to the wayside.

Jazz Pilot: Portland is one of four cities selected as initial markets in the Jazz Forward Coalition’s JazzHubs in America initiative, which recently received a big grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The 18-month pilot program aims to create a new jazz network comprising local jazz oriented organizations and professionals across the country. Those JazzHubs will work together, share resources, stimulate demand for jazz shows and in general “strengthen jazz’s cultural footprint,” according to a JFC press release. “Portland was a top choice for a jazz hub city because of its visionary approach to collective engagement,” said Peter Gordon, CEO of JFC. “At the core of this shared cultural engine is PDX Jazz, who is collaborative at the bone. Their actions embracing the local stakeholders attests to their selfless efforts to work inclusively to grow the Portland market. PDX Jazz’s pursuit of a broader, increasingly diverse audience through shared alliances helps all to enjoy a more robust jazz market.”

Kudos to:

Founding Cascadia Composers president David Bernstein

• David Bernstein, the Portland composer and Cascadia Composers co-founder who was named winner of Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra’s composers contest. CSO music director Steven Byess selected Bernstein’s Gloriana to be performed May 12 and 14 at Portland’s First United Methodist Church.

• Terry Currier, longtime proprietor of Portland’s valuable Music Millennium record store, who’s been selected to receive the Music Business Association’s Independent Spirit Award this May in Nashville. Currier also helped found and runs the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

Charles Stanton, recently named new executive director of Portland Chamber Orchestra, after serving as CEO of Classical Music Indy in Indianapolis, and producing festivals, raising lots of money, curating projects, and providing guidance (as a consultant) to many classical and contemporary music organizations. He’s also a classical musician who’s performed at various European and other venues including experimental music and performance art.

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Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

One Response.

  1. Your mention of the Oregon Symphony’s concerts with Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg makes it seem as though she will be performing at the Walters Arts Center in Hillsboro. That is actually a separate concert featuring the OSO Winds and Brass sections. I’d hate for people to go to that expecting something else (even though it will be fabulous!).

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