$50 million? It’s a beginning

ArtsWatch Weekly: An emergency lifeline to Oregon’s cultural sector staves off disaster. But the problem’s still urgent.

Passing the Torch

Cascadia Composers’ In Good Hands expands students’ horizons and brings music to the next generations.

Summer Streams

Chamber Music Northwest, Oregon Bach Fest lead parade of summer shows from onstage to online.

MusicWatch Weekly: The magic is in the middle

There are a handful of things that make a city’s musical culture feel complete. You need several symphony orchestras and large choirs, and they all have to be pretty damn good. You also need several smaller choral and instrumental ensembles overlapping with and supplementing the larger bands; ideally, these smaller units will be a little […]

MusicWatch Weekly: Happy accidents

Ryan Thorn as The Officer and Martin Bakari as The Visitor in Portland Opera's new production of Philip Glass's In the Penal Colony. Photo by Cory Weaver.

Allow me to get personal for a moment. You, my dear readers, know that I’m involved in this vibrant local music scene I’ve been writing about every week for the last three years. As a student at Portland State University, I walk past area composers Kenji Bunch and Bonnie Miksch in the hallways about once […]

Cascadia Composers: crimes against conformity

10th anniversary season-closing concert offers clues to organization’s success by MARIA CHOBAN Guess where I am. A lemon yellow wading pool, aluminum bowls spin bump chime on its blue sparkly surface, kids clang big silver balls at them. Nope, I’m not sitting in a friend’s backyard. A drone dancing with a human robot. Nope, I’m […]

MusicWatch Weekly: psychedeliclassical

Classical music still lags a ways behind, say, the reggae community when it comes to appropriately celebrating 4/20. Admittedly, the some of the thrill has kind of, uh, gone up in smoke since Oregon finally ended the preposterous cannabis Prohibition, but it’s never too late explore the possibilities of imbibing ear-opening music with mind-altering visuals, […]

MusicWatch Weekly: spring awakenings

As 21st century America belatedly recognizes that gender isn’t always a binary phenomenon, artists have increasingly illuminated its fluid, spectral reality, as Oregonians have seen in recent Time Based Art Festival performances, last fall’s Contralto show by Third Angle, and more. Now comes the most produced contemporary opera in North America since its 2014 premiere. As […]

Choral Arts Ensemble at 50: intimacy and approachability

Interview by AARON RICHARDSON David De Lyser is artistic director of Portland’s Choral Arts Ensemble, a chamber choir now celebrating its 50th anniversary season. This weekend, CAE teams up with Cascadia Composers in a concert that includes new seasonal works by local Northwest composers Lisa Neher and Bill Whitley, as well as holiday and seasonal […]

MusicWatch Weekly: American landscapes

Composers from around the country are commemorating the 50th anniversaries of the National Trails System Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by writing new music inspired by American landscapes. Like so many of the rest of us here in the Northwest, members of Cascadia Composers spend lots of time enjoying our wilderness areas, but they also […]

Cascadia Composers at ten

After Dan Brugh came back from music school, whenever he’d be back on Mount Tabor, near where he grew up, “I always wanted to play music there and bring in other composers,” the Portland composer remembers. But back then, there was no organized way for composers to make events like that happen, and showcases of […]

MusicWatch Weekly: voicing identity

When making the transition to align their bodily appearance with their true identities, transgender women must learn to deal with the fact that their old voices don’t transition biologically, even with hormone treatment. One of them, New York composer Sarah Hennies, turned that experience into multimedia drama. Thursday and Friday at PICA, 15 NE Hancock […]

MusicWatch Weekly: festival season

It’s not just the thermometer that’s heating up — summer music festival season is officially underway, bringing with it music by Oregon composers. Wednesday’s Astoria Music Festival concert at Astoria’s Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center, 588 16th Street, features a dozen works by Cascadia Composers, including David Bernstein, Daniel Brugh, Paul Safar, Jennifer Wright, […]

MusicWatch Weekly: a river runs through it

The biggest reasons many of us live here ultimately trace back to the rivers that course through this beautiful land. Much of Oregon’s prosperity stems from our proximity to the Columbia River and its watershed, so it’s appropriate for our artists to draw inspiration from the big river — and from the indigenous Oregonians who […]