Weekend MusicWatch: Super vocals and intimate locals

Portland composer and violist Kenji Bunch performs with 45th Parallel Saturday in Portland.

Portland composer and violist Kenji Bunch performs with 45th Parallel Saturday in Portland.

One glittery opera star will be getting a lot of attention this weekend, but Oregonians have several chances to hear great classical singing right here. And while that national mega-spectacle surrounds eight minutes of action with several hours of hype, Oregonians can find substantive, intimate music on stages around the state.

Gerald Finley, Friday, Lincoln  Hall, Portland State University. In this Friends of Chamber Music concert, the great Britain-based Canadian baritone sings Schubert’s beautifully bleak song cycle, Winter’s Journeyaccompanied by pianist Julius Drake. Here’s a fascinating interview.

Portland Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, Friday and Sunday, Keller Auditorium, Portland. See Angela Allen’s preview.

Manu Srivastava, Friday, Evans Auditorium, Lewis & Clark College, Portland. One of America’s top Hindustani singers and teachers, based in Phoenix, sings north Indian music, accompanied by Kishan Patel on harmonium and tablawallah Saikiran Madhusudan.

Melissa Fajardo, Tuesday, Whitsell Auditorium, Portland. Portland Opera’s resident artist sings music of Mahler, Britten, Bizet and Rossini.


45th Parallel, Saturday, Alberta Rose Theater, Portland. The weekend’s top music recommendation features Portland’s valuable chamber music presenting organization again taking a different perspective on American music this time through the lens of one of its greatest manifestations, bluegrass. Founder and violinist Greg Ewer and guest violist Kenji Bunch both play in bluegrass bands, and they’ll join Portland bluegrass stars Jackstraw and guest beatboxer Gabe Gleason, in surveying a wide range of music by American composers from the 19th (George Chadwick), 20th (William Grant Still), and 21st centuries (Mark O’Connor, James Stephenson, Oregon Symphony percussionist Sergio Carreno and Portland’s own Bunch himself, playing one of my favorite recent works by anybody, The 3 Gs. Here it is live at the late, lamented Portland venue, the Woods.

William Kanengiser and Scott Tennant, Friday, St. Anne’s Chapel, Marylhurst University. In this Portland Classic Guitar concert, the founding members of the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet play a solo set each featuring mostly 20th century sounds, including Debussy, Leo Brouwer, Rodrigo, Turina, and others, including Portland’s own guitar/composer eminence, Bryan Johanson, then join for some duets. Here’s a video of LAGQ playing Oregon native Ralph Towner’s most famous composition, Icarus, which allows me to remind you that Towner’s band, Oregon, has been named this year’s Portland Jazz Masters by the Portland Jazz Festival, where they’ll be appearing next month.

And that reminds me that an exhibition of some of Diane Russell’s portraits of PDX Jazz Festival luminaries opens this weekend at the unpronounceable Portland5 Centers for the Arts, followed by an opening reception at next week’s First Thursday.

Diane Russell's portraits of Portland Jazz Festival stars like Thara Memory are on display.

Diane Russell’s portraits of Portland Jazz Festival stars like Thara Memory are on display.

Her portrait of venerable Oregon jazz master Thara Memory, in turn, reminds me that his African American History Month music extravaganza happens Saturday at Portland’s Jimmy Mak’s jazz club.

Salem Chamber Orchestra, Saturday, Hudson Hall, Willamette University, Salem. The band plays a gorgeous program: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; Ravel’s At the Tomb of Couperin, and contemporary American composer Aaron Kernis’ radiant Musica Celestis

3 Leg Torso, Sunday, First Presbyterian Church, Portland. The quintessential Portland “world chamber music ensemble” brings its ever-enjoyable mix of classical, global, Eastern European and Oregon influences to the always-enticing Celebration Works series.

Mousai Remix, Sunday, Cyril’s @Clay Pigeon Winery, Portland. The quartet composed of Oregon Symphony string players performs music of Schubert and Shostakovich to benefit Bravo Youth Orchestras.

Bach-a-thon, Sunday, St. James Lutheran Church, Portland. The Portland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists’ annual come-and-go-as-you-please Bachfest features a septet of organists and the music of you know who.

Chamber Music Amici, Monday, Wildish Theater, Springfield. The present and former University of Oregon faculty musicians play Argentine nuevo tango master Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion, Smetana’s 1855 Piano Trio, and 19th century American composer George Templeton Strong’s The Village Music Director, which musically recounts the results when the title character falls asleep and his mischievous students take advantage.

Vadym Kholodenko,  Monday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University. Sunday’s Portland Piano International concert is sold out, so unless you have a ticket or get lucky with the wait list, you can’t hear the 27-year-old Ukrainian pianist play the Rachmaninoff sonata above, but on Monday, the latest Cliburn competition winner plays the Russian composer’s arrangements of music by J.S. Bach, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and more, plus music by his younger contemporary Nikolai Medtner. Here’s an interview from an earlier stop on his tour.


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