Weekend MusicWatch: When Choirs Collide

Oregon Repertory Singers, depicted in this vintage photo featuring original long time music director Gilbert Seeley, celebrate their 40th anniversary in concerts this weekend.

Oregon Repertory Singers, depicted in this vintage photo featuring original long-time music director Gilbert Seeley, celebrate their 40th anniversary in concerts this weekend.

Choral and vocal concerts abound on Oregon stages this weekend, along with other musical riches… but maybe it’s too much of a good thing? In Portland, several of the city’s top choral/vocal groups are performing in two days, making it difficult or impossible to catch them all, although starting times are staggered enough that true vocaholics, like certain obsessive ArtsWatchers, can actually cram in multiple concerts. But even most music lovers’ ears and wallets won’t permit such overindulgence. Isn’t the Portland choral calendar supposed to prevent these sort of choral conflicts? Maybe we need more choral collusion to avoid such choral collisions.

The Ensemble, Friday, First Christian Church, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview. 

Maria de Buenos Aires, Third Angle New Music, Friday, Wonder Ballroom, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview.

Cappella Nova, Friday, Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College, Portland. The choir and L&C Women’s Chorus sing 20th and 21st century music influenced by earlier styles, including Swiss composer Frank Martin’s great Mass for Double Choir.

Sangeeta Bandopadhyay, Hindole Majumdar & Rose Okada, Friday, Ananda Temple, Beaverton. The singer and tablawallah, two of Kalkota’s traditional music stars join Portland Indian music maven Okada on sarangi for a concert of Hindustani vocal music.

Kendra Shank & John Stowell, Friday, O’Connor’s Vault, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview.

Oregon Repertory Singers, Saturday and Sunday, First United Methodist Church, Portland. The adventurous large choir celebrates its 40th anniversary with its largest ever assemblage of singers performing one of the greatest (yet seldom performed, because of its difficulty) of all choral masterworks, Thomas Tallis’s “Spem in Alium” (“Hope in Any Other”) for 40 individual parts, along with music from Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil (Vespers), works by two of today’s hottest choral composers, Eric Whitacre and the young Latvian Eriks Esenvalds, rising star Paul Mealor, and more.

Choral Arts Ensemble, Saturday and Sunday, The Old Church, Portland. The choir celebrates two major Oregon treats, wine and roses, in music by Oregon native Morten Lauridsen (his Rose Songs), Eric Whitacre, Verdi, Mozart, Brahms, and more.

Eugene Concert Choir, Saturday, Hult Center, Eugene. Music by Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein and Randall Thompson, plus traditional folksongs, gospel tunes and hymns, classics by Woody Guthrie and Louis Armstrong, and music by Eugene faves the Sugar Beets. The choir is also presenting a shorter version of the show, with classic country and folk tunes, for kids (including young singers from around town) Saturday morning in the Hult lobby.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Portland State University Opera, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, Lincoln Hall, PSU. British director David Edwards, so impressive in PSU’s 2012 production of Dialogues of the Carmelites, returns with another mid-20th century classic, Poulenc’s pal Benjamin Britten’s popular 1960 setting of Shakespeare’s magical comedy. PSU’s well-endowed, award winning annual opera productions often rival those of professional companies.

Victor Rathnayake & Nanda Malini, Buckley Center Auditorium, University of Portland. Two of the most renowned Sri Lankan classical singers, who between them have performed in nearly 3000 concerts, pair up for this rare showcase.

Festival Chorale Oregon, Saturday, First Presbyterian Church, Salem, and Sunday, Mt. Angel Abbey, Silverton. The choir sings that pillar of Western music, J.S. Bach’s mighty b minor Mass.


Chiara String Quartet, Friday, Southern Oregon University Recital Hall, Ashland. The foursome in residence at Harvard University performs quartets by Brahms, Mozart and Brooklyn it-boy Nico Muhly.

A Class Act,  Thomas Lauderdale, Friday, The Old Church, Portland. The Pink Martini pianist/ sparkplug performs in the 20th anniversary edition of the annual benefit concert he founded for the Bill & Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship Fund.

Classical Up Close, Thursday, Maranatha Church, Portland; Friday, West Linn Lutheran Church; Sunday, Cedar Hills United Church of Christ; Tuesday, Saint David of Wales church, Portland. On Thursday, Oregon Symphony musicians play music by Ravel, Paganini, and OSO percussionist Sergio Carreno. Friday’s show features music by Grieg, American composer Robert Beaser, and more. Sunday’s concert reprises Carreno’s violin and percussion piece and adds lowdown sounds by Mozart and Edgar Meyer, plus a Shostakovich string quartet and a Schubert quartet movement. Tuesday’s includes Portland composer Kenji Bunch‘s playful Paraphraseology, Bartok’s lovely Contrasts, a Bach cello sonata, and more. See ArtsWatch’s story about the program.

FearNoMusic, Sunday, Evans Auditorium, Lewis & Clark College. The dauntless Portland new music ensemble plays compositions by the teenage composers in its valuable Young Composers Project.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series, Sunday, Kiggins Theatre, Vancouver, WA. Oregon Symphony concertmaster Sarah Kwak and pianist Cary Lewis play Grieg’s Violin Sonata No. 3 a movement from the famous sonata by Cesar Franck, the DTQ Quartet plays a Mendelssohn string quartet, and a brass trio plays music by the fine American composer Eric Ewazen and VSO conductor Salvator Brotons.

University of Oregon student ensembles, Sunday, Beall Concert Hall. The free concert features award winning composer David Eisenband‘s Amergin and Cessair, a 15-minute dramatic duet for two choirs and chamber orchestra conducted by Chris Boveroux, plus music by Shostakovich, Messiaen, Mozart, and Saint-Saens. Live Stream webcast available.

Regina Carter, Monday, Jimmy Mak’s, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview. 


Oregon Symphony, Pacific Youth Choir, Saturday and Monday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland. Read ArtsWatch’s preview of Saturday’s “Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy.” That concert, and Monday’s OSO concert featuring the music of the great film composer John Williams, who’ll be conducting, are both sold out. Contact the OSO box office for information on possible ticket availability.

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