News & Notes: Salem in our sights, Bach festival schedule, more!

We have had more news from the Oregon Arts Commission here the past couple weeks than in the entire history of the site, I think. That’s ArtsWatch’s fault, though, for not actually tracking what the commission and its sister organization (brother? cousin?), the Oregon Cultural Trust, have been doing. Since 19-year director Christine D’Arcy was let go a couple of weeks ago, ArtsWatch’s antennae have tuned into that channel with a little more regularity. All of which is just a preamble to the news that the Governor John Kitzhaber has named two new members to the commission,  Alyssa Dawamana Macy of Simnasho and Christopher Acebo of Ashland. He also reappointed the commission chair, Julie Vigeland from Portland, for another term.

Macy, according to the press release issued by the commission, is a member of the  of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. She currently resides in her tribal community and works for the Vancouver, Washington,- based Native Arts and Cultures Foundation as a development specialist. Acebo is a set and costume designer and associate artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was a member of LA’s progressive Cornerstone Theater Company Cornerstone for several years. Vigeland will serve a second term at the commission, and she’s involved in a large number of other organizations, most prominently Portland Center Stage, where she’s been a board member for many years, chairing the capital campaign for the Gerding Theater at the Armory.

By my count, the 9-member commission has one more vacancy, after commissioners Henry Sayre and Royal Nebeker resigned in protest of D’Arcy’s firing. The commissioners do not hire and fire the executive director; D’Arcy reported to the director of Business Oregon, Tim McCabe, and he and the commissioners will presumably collaborate on finding her permanent replacement. Former assistant director Shannon Planchon is serving as executive director of both the arts commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust on an interim basis. We’re going to be talking about the strange and not-so-wonderful structure of the trust and the commission in the near future.

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The Oregon Bach Festival has announced its 2014 season/Caitlin Estes

The Oregon Bach Festival has announced its 2014 season/Caitlin Estes

The Oregon Bach Festival announced its 45th season schedule, the first developed by new artistic director Matthew Halls, who’ll direct the world premiere of his own reconstruction of Bach’s lost St. Mark Passion. The festival runs June 26 to July 13, headquartered in Eugene but with performances in Portland, Corvallis, Florence, and Newport.

Other highlights include: the first Baroque masterpiece, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers (like the Passion, performed on period instruments), Bach’s Easter Oratorio, Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, and Verdi’s Requiem. Guest stars include pianist Gabriela Montero, organist Paul Jacobs, the Canadian Brass, His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts and more. Artistic director emeritus Helmuth Rilling conducts Mozart’s Requiem and Symphony No. 40, and jazz is on the menu, too. ArtsWatch will track the other highlights, including some new programs, as the June 26-July 13 festival approaches.

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Last winter, Portland cellist/chanteuse Ashia Grzesik told ArtsWatch readers about the first phase of her temporary return to her European roots. Now, back in Oregon to sing Polish immigrant songs at a CD release party tonight (Thursday, Nov. 14), she brings us the rest of the story.

I performed cello songs for a BBQ party gathering to the community under the summer German night, moths dancing in the light, and children dreaming on blankets. Even though I was excited to perform, as often I am, I also found it interesting that a Polish-born cellist, would sing songs of her grandma’s difficult times and life in World War II and working in an industrial factory — in an old Hitler Youth camp. And that this place made the perfect end for her Eastern European Industrial-inspired video. I hope that in some way it ended a story, or continued it through generations, evolving with a more positive light and life than the last couple of chapters. I am grateful to have had these incredible opportunities to create art and narrative with amazing artists, in strange, interesting places.

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Lucinda Parker, 'Aftermath,'  2012, acrylic on canvas, 15.25" x 24"/ Laura Russo Gallery

Lucinda Parker, ‘Aftermath,’ 2012, acrylic on canvas,
15.25″ x 24″/ Laura Russo Gallery

Both Lucinda Parker and Marlene Bauer have created impressive bodies of work during their careers here, evolving creatively, ever-defter technically. They are sharing a show at Laura Russo Gallery, where they’ll give an Artist Talk at 11 am, Saturday, November 16.

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