MusicWatch Weekly: Orchestras unleashed

Symphonic splendor returns to Oregon stages

Several of Oregon’s symphony orchestras open their seasons this weekend, two of them featuring operatic music, and there’s more from Greece, Tuva, Brazil and beyond to greet autumn’s arrival. If you have more music recommendations for ArtsWatch readers, please note them in the comments section below.

Dale Chihuly's sculptures make up the set and grab the headlines, but Bartok's music really draws blood in the Oregon Symphony's concerts this weekend.

Dale Chihuly’s sculptures dominate the stage and the headlines, but Bartok’s music really draws blood in the Oregon Symphony’s concerts this weekend.

Eugene Symphony
September 22
Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene.
The orchestra opens Danail Rachev’s final season as music director with Brahms’s fourth symphony, Schumann’s cello concerto (starring the cool Seattle cellist Joshua Roman, who does much hipper things there), and Webern’s Passacaglia.

Similar Fashion, Mike Gamble and Bonepocket
September 22
Turn Turn Turn, 8 NE Killingsworth, Portland.
Logan Hone’s LA-based sax-viola-guitar-drum ensemble draws on jazz, contemporary classical music and rock, which isn’t too far from Portland guitarist-composer Gamble’s influences.

Liima, Blue Cranes
September 22
Doug Fir Lounge, Portland.
The Danish/Finnish improvisatory band includes members of avant-garde rockers Efterklang plus percussion, while Blue Cranes cooks up jazz that’s always worth hearing.

Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra
September 23, First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson, Portland; September 25, Mt. Hood Community College Theater, NE 29th and Kane Street, Gresham.
Star Wars, Harry Potter, Schindler’s List, and on and on. The orchestra plays movie music by world’s leading film composer, John Williams.

pngHuun Huur Tu
September 24
Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St. Portland.
The amazing Tuvan throat singers add electronica and other Western music to their traditional influences.

Cappella Romana
September 24
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland.
Read my ArtsWatch preview of the vocal ensemble’s 25th anniversary concert.

Newport Symphony
September 24 & 25
Newport Performing Arts Center.
The orchestra plays an unusual program of mostly rarely heard yet attractive mid-20th century music by Stravinsky (his first little small orchestra suite), longtime Oregon coast resident Ernest Bloch (Suite Modale for flute and strings), American composer Gunther Schuller’s Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee, plus a Mozart overture and a Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody.

Soprano Ani Maldjian joins Portland Chamber Orchestra this weekend in 'The Diary of Anne Frank.'

Soprano Ani Maldjian joins Portland Chamber Orchestra this weekend in ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.’

Portland Chamber Orchestra
September 24, Nordia House, 8800 SW Oleson Rd., Portland, and September 25,  Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of one of the most intriguing orchestral concerts of the season, featuring Grigory Frid’s “monodrama” The Diary of Anne Frank and an early Shostakovich gem.

September 23-October 2
John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts, 868 High Street, Eugene.
Read my Eugene Weekly preview of the Shedd’s production of Lionel Bart’s ever-popular 1960 musical.

Oregon Symphony
September 24-26
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
“You can open any door in my castle,” the mysterious middle aged prince told his new young bride, “except that one.” Read the rest of my Willamette Week preview of the orchestra’s performance of another operatic drama, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Ghost, a new piece commissioned from 27-year-old composer Chris Rogerson, and more.

Beaverton Symphony Orchestra
September 25
Village Baptist Church, 330 SW Murray Blvd, Beaverton.
This free multicultural concert celebrates contributions of refugees and immigrants with performance of Japanese koto music by Oregon Koto-Kai, Iraqi music by composer-singer-guitarist Ronny Hermiz, and Latin American music by Grupo Condor, plus Western classical music from the BSO strings.

Oregon Bach Collegium 
September 25
United Lutheran Church, 22nd and Washington Streets, Eugene.
The historically informed early music group features rarely heard early 17th century German music for voices, organ and Baroque trombones.

Márcia Guimarães and Julia Brown
September 25
First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive, Eugene.
The respected veteran Sao Paolo-based lyric soprano joins the veteran Rio de Janeiro-born Eugene pianist in a free afternoon concert of Brazilian art songs.

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One Response.

  1. Bob Priest says:

    My Dale Chihuly story:

    Toru Takemitsu was Seattle Spring composer-in-residence for the 1992 festival. Among many calls, one came in inviting Toru over for a guided tour of DC’s studio.

    Upon arrival, we were greeted by an assistant who regretted to inform us that DC couldn’t be present.

    Back in the car after the tour, Toru offered his summation of DC’s work via one crisply whispered word, “Kitsch.”

    I have another knee-slapper about DC’s Seattle meeting with The Dalai Lama that I’ll share another time . . .

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