Weekend MusicWatch

A classic American musical at the opera house leads the musical highlights on Oregon stages.

Drawn from our April and May music calendars, here are a few of this weekend’s Oregon music highlights. If you know of other musical events our readers show know about, please let us all know in the comments section below.

Lyrical Strings Duo, Agnieszka Laska Dancers & Chervona Bambino
April 30
Alberta Rose Theater, 3000 NE Alberta St. Portland.
Musicians and dancers combine in music inspired by Moravian and gypsy sources, featuring folk music and works by Leos Janacek, Antonín Dvořák, Frédéric Chopin, Henryk Wieniawski, Mykola Lysenko, Jeno Hubay, and Bohuslav Martinů, accompanied by Laska’s original choreography.

Lyrical Strings Duo joins Chervona Bambino and Agnieszka Laska Dancers Thursday night.

Lyrical Strings Duo joins Chervona Bambino and Agnieszka Laska Dancers Thursday night.

“Hearing Voices”
May 1, 7:30 pm
Third Angle New Music, Alberta Rose Theater, 3000 NE Alberta St., Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the veteran contemporary music ensemble’s season ending show featuring New Yorker classical music critic and author Alex Ross in performances and discussions of West Coast classical music by Henry Cowell, Portland’s Lou Harrison, John Cage, Harry Partch, Harrison’s protege, 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner John Luther Adams, and more.

“Show Boat”
May 1–9
Portland Opera, Keller Auditorium, SW 3rd & Clay, Portland.
The Portland premiere of director Harold Prince’s award-winning 1994 version of Jerome Kern’’s groundbreaking 1927 musical deals with issues of racial and economic injustice that still resonate today. Along with immortal songs like “Ol’ Man River,” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man,” Portland Opera’s production includes various community events and discussions about the show’s still-relevant themes. The cast features familiar Portland actors and singers (Allen Nause, Susannah Mars, Hannah Penn, Lindsay Ohse) along with national stars (Liam Bonner, Angela Renee Simpson, Arthur Woodley). It’s one of the landmarks of 20th century American music and, as with Eugene Opera’s recent production of Sweeney Todd, a welcome sign of diversity in Oregon opera programming.


“Showboat” opens Friday at Portland Opera. Photo: Cory Weaver.

“Magnetic West”
Oregon Mandolin Orchestra
May 1
Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 East Main St., Hillsboro.
The ambitious mandolinists play Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Bizet, Beatles, Heavens on Earth, a contemporary suite for mandolin orchestra by Iowan composer John Goodin, and excerpts from Portland Cello Project co-founder Gideon Freudmann and Oregon Mandolin Orchestra Music Director Brian Oberlin’s new debut duo album, Magnetic West.

May 2
Ted Clifford, Woodstock Wine & Deli, 4030 S.E. Woodstock Blvd., Portland.
One of Cascadia Composers’ most promising new voices releases Azir, his lovely new album of concise, original non-standard jazz compositions that will appeal to fans of straightahead  jazz and beyond. It’s one of the best Northwest jazz albums I’ve heard this year. Clifford plays piano backed by a stellar duo of the internationally renowned Portland bassist David Friesen and drummer Charlie Doggett.

“A Taste of Our City”
May 2
Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble, Disjecta Interdisciplinary Art Center.8371 N. Interstate Ave., Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of this food themed concert of original Oregon music by members of Portland’s young jazz contingent.

“Shakespeare in Song”
May 2-3
Portland Symphonic Choir, Portland Actors Ensemble, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Portland.
Singers and actors join forces for a Shakespearean salute in music by American composer Emma Lou Diemer, jazz piano great George Shearing, Ned Rorem, and Matthew Harris.

“Points of Departure”
May 3
Sound of Late, home of Bryce Caster, 4072 NE 10th Avenue, Portland.
Read Gary Ferrington’s ArtsWatch preview of this new young ensemble’s debut Portland appearance in a house concert.

“Spring Concert”
May 3, 4 pm
Portland Youth Philharmonic, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, Portland.
The teenage winners of PYP’s 2015 Soloist Competition star in a celebration of 20th century American music. Cellist Annie Zhang plays Tchaikovsky, trombonist Spencer Schaffer takes the lead in José Berghmans’ “The Bearded Lady,” and the award winning orchestra also performs a pair of World War II era American classics: Walter Piston’s 1944 Symphony #2 and Aaron Copland’s exuberant 1938 ballet score, Billy the Kid.

Ani & Nia Sulkhanishvili
May 3
Portland Piano International, Newmark Theatre, Portland.
The Georgian sister duo plays music by Lutoslawski, Dvorak, Ravel, Chick Corea and more.

“Spring Adventures: Thirteen Premieres”
May 4
Oregon Composers Forum, Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene.
Read Gary Ferrington’s ArtsWatch preview.

Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, 

Blue Cranes
May 5
Creative Music Guild, Jimmy Mak’s, 221 NW 10th Ave., Portland.
The acclaimed New York avant jazz altosaxophonist/composer joins pianist Matt Mitchell, clarinetist Oscar Noriega, percussionist Ches Smith and guitarist Ryan Ferreira in this CD release concert for their incendiary new ECM album, You’ve Been Watching Me. Portland’s own jazz stars, Blue Cranes, open this recommended Creative Music Guild show.


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