Chamber Music Northwest Lincoln Recital Hall Portland State University Portland Oregon

MusicWatch Weekly: small portions

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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.

Lucas Pitts stars in the Portland Ballet’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert.

One place is in a dance performance: the Portland Ballet’s annual live-music enhanced Thanksgiving show this time features John Clifford’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Friday-Sunday at Portland State’s Lincoln Performance Hall. Ken Selden leads the PSU Orchestra and opera singers in Mendelssohn’s ever-sparkling score, accompanying an 80+ member cast in one of the season’s most reliably entertaining events.

An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas features Chicago/Broadway musical star Evan Tyrone Martin reminding us why Cole was one of the last century’s finest singers. Friday-Sunday at Portland’s Winningstad Theatre.

Evan Tyrone Martin covers Nat King Cole this weekend.

Speaking of Portland State, a free recital Tuesday at Lincoln Hall celebrating the PSU String Scholarship Fund features some of the city’s finest classical musicians, including cellist Hamilton Cheifetz, violinist Tomas Cotik, pianist Julia Lee and PSU students playing Vivaldi, Bach, Gliere, Handel, Popper, Granados, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven.

Speaking of unforgettable, as the Disney behemoth promo machine reminds us often, this is a year of the Mouse — the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse’s debut. And on this family-focused weekend, the Oregon Symphony performs live, while scenes from some of Disney’s films (Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, The Lion King, and more are projected on a jumbo screen above the orchestra. Saturday tickets are available, but Sunday’s performance at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is almost sold out.

And speaking of sell outs, you might want to hurry up and grab tickets to next weekend’s Opera Theater Oregon performance of Rachel Portman’s 2003 opera, The Little Prince, which we’ll tell you about in more detail next week, because Saturday’s show at Winningstad Theatre is almost sold out already.

Choral music fans may have to venture to the coast to hear them, but the acclaimed Minnesota men’s vocal ensemble Cantus is always worth hearing, and thanks to Neskowin Chamber Music series, you can do that on Sunday at The Chapel at Camp Wi-Ne-Ma, on Wi-Ne-Ma Road, off Highway 101, where the octet will sing a diverse holiday program that includes an Austrian carol, a Welsh lullaby, 20th century works by Randall Thompson and John Rutter, the inevitable Biebl “Ave Maria” and a few other seasonal standards, even a Pogues song.

VS Guitar Duo plays Romani music Monday at the University of Oregon.

VS Guitar Duo brings their three-generation tradition of Russian Romani music to the University of Oregon’s Berwick Hall on Monday. The centuries long migration of Romani people has spread some of the world’s most compelling music around the globe, and it’s evolved with every culture it touches. Vadim and Sasha Kolpakov will play music from throughout the Romani diaspora including American jazz, Spanish Flamenco, Latin tunes and rhythms and more — all linked by a common, and uncommonly durable, music thread.

Hope all ArtsWatch readers have a relaxing holiday full of gratitude. If you have more musical recommendations, please tell the rest of us about them in the comments section below. And if you’re grateful for the insights we provide you about Oregon arts — particularly if you’re a music presenter or performer who’s gained audience members, support for your grant proposal, or other benefits from our coverage, please consider showing your gratitude by clicking on the button below. The more support we have, the more extensive, responsive and diverse our music coverage can be. We at ArtsWatch are certainly grateful for all our readers and supporters and the artists who make Oregon an even more wonderful place to live. Happy Thanksgiving all.

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

Brett Campbell is a frequent contributor to The Oregonian, San Francisco Classical Voice, Oregon Quarterly, and Oregon Humanities. He has been classical music editor at Willamette Week, music columnist for Eugene Weekly, and West Coast performing arts contributing writer for the Wall Street Journal, and has also written for Portland Monthly, West: The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Salon, Musical America and many other publications. He is a former editor of Oregon Quarterly and The Texas Observer, a recipient of arts journalism fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (Columbia University), the Getty/Annenberg Foundation (University of Southern California) and the Eugene O’Neill Center (Connecticut). He is co-author of the biography Lou Harrison: American Musical Maverick (Indiana University Press, 2017) and several plays, and has taught news and feature writing, editing and magazine publishing at the University of Oregon School of Journalism & Communication and Portland State University.

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