Weekend MusicWatch: Cascadian Connection

Portland choir Cappella Romana  premieres Steinberg's Passion Week on Friday at St. Mary's Cathedral.

Portland choir Cappella Romana premieres Steinberg’s Passion Week on Friday at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

There’s lots of new music on tap from Oregon composers this weekend, and also another world premiere — of a major work that’s more than eight decades old.

Cascadia Composers, Friday, Central Lutheran Church, Eugene, Sunday, Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church, Portland. One of Oregon’s most vital classical music generators has long featured the music of composers from Eugene, so it’s about time Cascadia staged its first concert at the other end of the Willamette from its usual Portland haunts. The show includes chamber music by two of the city’s most vital and appealing composers, Paul Safar and Mark Vigil, along with works by some of Portland’s top composers, including Cascadia founder David Bernstein, Mike Hsu, ArtsWatch contributor Jeff Winslow, Art Resnick and more, all played by first-rate musicians from various chamber and orchestral groups in both cities. What a treat to see this growing creative cross fertilization (after the recent Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble/Contemporary Portland Orchestra Project concerts) between two of Oregon’s creative capitals. Remember you can check out the music of many of these composers at ArtsWatch’s Oregon ComposersWatch.

Manuel Barrueco, Friday, First Congregational Church, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview.

Musica Maestrale, Friday, Saints Peter and Paul Episcopal Church, and Saturday, Community Music Center, Portland. The historically informed quartet plays late Baroque sonatas from italy (Scarlatti, Vivaldi) and Germany (Telemann).

Matices, Friday, Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon. The Seattle-born Latin American ensemble, whose members include musicians from Mexico, Cuba, Chile and the US, plays contemporary and traditional Brazilian, Cuban, and other Latin music, including jazz.

Stafford Centennial Mini-concert, Saturday, Evans Auditorium, Lewis & Clark College. Originally part of the college’s big William Stafford centennial celebration honoring Oregon’s beloved poet laureate, this short (30 minutes) concert is now a free, independent mini-event, thanks to the snowstorm that forced rescheduling.Resonance Ensemble (led by L&C music chair Katherine FitzGibbon), Third Angle pianist Susan Smith, and L&C faculty, students and alums will perform settings of Stafford’s poetry by  L&C faculty composer Michael Johanson and two of his composition students.

Celebration of Mazurkas, Sunday, Polish Hall, Portland. Choreographer Agnieszka Laska’s valuable Polish music series has illuminated classical music long overshadowed — like its country of origin — by its neighbors. Three excellent Portland pianists (Dianne Davies, Ruta Kuzmickas, Mitchell Falconer) perform mazurkas by three outstanding Polish composers: Fryderyk Chopin, Karol Szymanowski, and Roman Maciejewski, while the MT Duo, Tatiana Kolchanova and Mary Rowell, play more Chopin/Wieniawski mazurkas and traditional Polish folk tunes. The three beat traditional Polish dance that’s not a waltz shares a name and region of origin with yummy cakes that will also be served.

Cappella Romana, Friday, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview of the world premiere of Passion Week by  20th century Russian composer Maximilian Steinberg.

Bravo! Vancouver Chorale, Saturday, Crossroads Community Church, Vancouver. Accompanied by the Washington Chamber Orchestra, the 50-voice choir sings Mozart’s mighty Requiem, and the orchestra plays his sublime Clarinet Concerto.


Oregon Symphony with Pink Martini, Saturday and Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland. Two of Oregon’s favorite bands, together again, with the von Trapp family singers reprising songs from their current album with PM, Dream a Little Dream.

Vancouver Symphony, Saturday and Sunday, Skyview Concert Hall, Vancouver. The orchestra plays a pair of Sibelius classics, Symphony #7 and Karelia overture, and the winners of its annual young artists competition star in piano concertos by Saint Saens and Grieg, and Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy.

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

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