Weekend MusicWatch: Piano Powerhouses and Contemporary Choral Music

This weekend’s Oregon music features some spectacular keyboard masters, and a couple of major choral concerts featuring the music of our own time.

Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland sings music by Ola Gjeilo this weekend.

Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland sings music by Ola Gjeilo this weekend.

Portland State University Chamber Choir, Friday, Lincoln Performance Hall, Portland State University.

Prof. Ethan Sperry has led the student chorus to heights not seen since the glory days under former director (and ArtsWatch contributor) Bruce Browne a decade and more ago. Having shocked the world, or at least the college choral community, by taking top honors in one of Europe’s prime choral competitions last year in Italy, and garnering other major laurels, the choir heads to Spain this month for another prestigious contest, this one open only to choirs that have won other major international competitions. But they have to raise the money for the plane tickets, and this fundraising concert offers the opportunity to hear one of world’s most exciting young vocal ensembles singing a variety of music (not just Western classical) with the exuberance of a rock band — while supporting their journey to bring Oregon music making to the world stage. You can also score a copy of the choir’s new, professionally produced CD, Into Unknown Worlds.

Stephen Price & Janet Coleman, Saturday, The Old Church, Portland.

One of Oregon classical music’s great traditions continues for the 43rd year when the venerable emeritus Oregon Symphony violist again does what everyone in this field should be doing more of: commissioning a new work from an Oregon composer (Kenji Bunch’s Concertino for Viola and Piano), mixing it with a 20th century composition (Shostakovich’s doomy 1975 Viola Sonata) and earlier classics (an arrangement of Telemann’s great viola concerto, plus music by Villa-Lobos and Mozart) — and making it possible for as many listeners as possible to hear it. The recital is FREE.

PSU Chamber Choir performing in Italy last summer.

PSU Chamber Choir performing in Italy last summer.

Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland, Saturday and Sunday, St. Philip Neri Church, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview


Third Angle New Music, Thursday and Friday, : Studio2@Zoomtopia, Portland.

Read my ArtsWatch preview.


Tamara Stefanovich, Sunday and Monday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University.

Read Claire Sykes’s ArtsWatch preview of Monday night’s recital. Stefanovich’s Sunday show includes music of Beethoven, Bartok, and the great American composer Charles Ives.


Cascadia Composers, Friday, First Christian Church, Eugene.

Read my Eugene Weekly preview.


3Leg Torso, Sunday, First Presbyterian Church, Portland.

The Celebration Works series features the irrepressible “world chamber music” ensemble whose music can charm classical, jazz and world music fans.


Tom Royer Benefit, Monday, Jimmy Mak’s, Portland.

The veteran Portland drummer needs a lung transplant, his singer wife, Lily Wilde, is recovering from surgery, and neither can work, so Portland jazz musicians like the Quadraphonnes, Ken DeRouchie Band
, Mel Brown B–3 Organ Group, Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes, and the DK Stewart Sextet are playing to help pay the piper.


Portland Cello Project, Walters Cultural Arts Center, Hillsboro.

The champ cellistas play their arrangements of hip hop, classical, and other hits west of the hills.


Vancouver Symphony Orchestra chamber players, Sunday, Kiggins Theatre, Vancouver, WA.

Soprano Christina Kowalski joins clarinetist Igor Shakhman and pianists Michael C. Liu and Kathryn Hobbie in music by Mahler, Stolz, Lehar, Cooke, Schoonenbeck, Gershwin, Gluck, Schumann and Rossini.


Eugene Symphony, Thursday, Hult Center, Eugene.

Read my Eugene Weekly preview.


Oregon Symphony, Saturday and Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.

Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads singer Ann Hampton Callaway and the band in evergreen music by Barbra Streisand.


Jacky Terrasson Trio, Tuesday, Jimmy Mak’s, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview.


Blue Cranes with Jessica Lurie Quartet, Tuesday, Alberta Street Pub, Portland.

One of Oregon’s most accessible yet visionary jazz outfits (recently featured on WNYC’s invaluable New Sounds show) opens for a similarly appealing quartet led by the Seattle-turned-New York saxophonist/composer.


And don’t forget that there’s live, original music in places other than concert halls this weekend: Oregon Ballet Theater’s collaboration with Portland’s Pink Martini;  California composer Tom Peters’ original score for F.W. Murnau’s vampire classic Nosferatu, at the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium Sunday, part of the Northwest Film Center’s always enticing Reel Music Festival. While not live performances, opera fans can see big-screen projections of the Metropolitan Opera’s latest production in its Live in HD series, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (check the site for local viewing options), and of the San Francisco Opera’s productions of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah (Friday) and Rossini’s La Rondine (Sunday) at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland in OMSI and Portland Opera’s Opera on Screen program.
Want to read more about Oregon music? Support Oregon ArtsWatch!
Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

Comments are closed.