wyatt true

Delgani Quartet preview: Cascadian perspectives

Eugene ensemble premieres Benjamin Krause’s celebration of Cascade mountainscape


Delgani String Quartet artistic director Wyatt True and composer Benjamin Krause have a natural history. The violinist had performed Krause’s Uv’Chein Variations for violin and piano (2012) while both were students at the University of Oregon, and True later commissioned him to compose The Activity of Sand and Movie Music for Portland as part of his 2015 Oregon Multimedia Project.

So when the Eugene quartet received a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation’s Creative Heights Initiative to provide the score to a video documentary inspired by the towering mountain peaks visible from the Dee Wright Observatory atop the Mckenzie Pass, True suggested that Krause, currently visiting professor of music at Indiana’s Valparaiso University, was a natural choice. The other ensemble members — violinist Jannie Wei, violist Kimberlee Uwate and cellist Eric Alterman —agreed.

Oregon’s Cascade Peaks. Photo: Terry Kneen.

“We wanted it to result in something tangible that could be enjoyed by people throughout the state who would otherwise not be able to hear the music in concert,” True explains, “perhaps by people more interested in nature than string quartets, or students learning about the Cascades in school.” That was natural, too: actively engaged in performances throughout the Pacific Northwest, the ensemble frequently commissions new works for string quartet and has developed an extensive educational program.

Krause’s new String Quartet No. 1 “Cascades,” which premieres this month, supplies the musical component to Delgani’s Cascade Quartet Project, which connects music to landscape through composition, performance, and documentation. The quartet premieres the four-movement, 25 minute piece in Salem October 29, followed by November performances in Eugene and Portland.


Oregon Media Project: Channeling Oregon’s beauty into music

Oregon composers write new music to accompany images of Oregon


The beauty of Oregon’s sweeping landscapes from the Pacific Ocean to the high desert country has long inspired artists — perhaps none more than photographer and University of Oregon professor emeritus Don Hunter. Even in his 90s, Hunter was a one-person show, packing three projection screens, six projectors, and sound equipment into his station wagon and setting out across the state and beyond to share with audiences his Oregon story programs comprising multi-image, music and narration. When age made it impossible for him to take his show on the road, Hunter donated his collection of 150,000 colored slides to the Lane County Historical Society in 2010

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Oregon’s landscapes inspire new Oregon music for violin and piano. Photo: Terry Kneen.

When  Eugene violinist Wyatt True discovered the Hunter collection, he was inspired to explore the idea of  of combining photographs of  Oregon with music. He conceived an evening of original music for violin and piano with projected imagery, and submitted the idea in a funding proposal to Mu Phi Epsilon, a professional music fraternity. When he was awarded the MPE’s Beth Landis Violin Scholarship in 2013, True commissioned Oregon composers Benjamin Krause and J.M. Gerraughty to write new works for violin and piano inspired by four distinct Oregon land- and cityscapes: Portland, the Willamette Valley, sand dunes, and the high desert. Violinist True and pianist and David Servias, accompanied by projected photographs, will premiere both  new works on October 25 at Oregon State University (where Dr. Servias teaches) and the University of Oregon on October 27.