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MusicWatch Weekly: Pans, premieres and partnerships

By Brett Campbell
June 29, 2016
Featured, Music

Two coast musical festivals conclude, two veteran jazzmen return, while Oregon’s two great summer music festivals team up in several concerts in Eugene and Portland. Please let ArtsWatch readers know about other recommended music events in the comments section below.

The Chamber Music Northwest audience joined composer Andy Akiho onstage at Mississippi Studio./Jim Leisy

The Chamber Music Northwest audience joined composer Andy Akiho onstage at Mississippi Studios the last time he performed in Portland. Photo: Jim Leisy.

Chamber Music Northwest, Andy Akiho
June 29-July 1
Alberta Rose Theater and Lincoln Hall, Portland
Still safely under 40, South Carolina-born, New York-based composer Andy Akiho first won attention in contemporary classical music circles for his unusual choice of instrument: the steel pan that we usually associate with calypso music and spring break-oriented soft drink commercials. In Akiho’s adept hands, it becomes an astonishingly expressive vehicle for improvisation and Akiho’s rhythmically driven and increasingly sophisticated original compositions, often teamed with other instruments like cello and looping pedal. Akiho’s previous appearances at Chamber Music Northwest were some of the most thrilling in memory, and this time around, he’s back with two completely different showcase concerts (with the July 29 Alberta Rose show also including one of Schubert’s great piano trios) that feature not just steel pan but also piano, cello, percussion (from star percussionist Ian Rosenbaum), violin, and string quartet. His Portland State showcase with Orion Quartet on July 1 includes the premiere of the fourth movement of his massive, still growing LIgNEous Suite. Collectively spanning a decade of Akiho’s compositions, they top the list of new music offerings at this summer’s edition of CMNW.

Marcin Wasilewski Trio
June 30
Polish Hall, 3832 N Interstate Ave. Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of this excellent Polish jazz trio’s only Oregon appearance, one of the best jazz shows of the summer.

Martin Wasilewski leads his jazz trio at Polish Hall. Photo: ECM records

Martin Wasilewski leads his jazz trio at Polish Hall. Photo: ECM records

Oregon Bach Festival
A Trio of Trios, June 29, Beall Hall, Eugene
Moving forward in time from its predominant Baroque focus, the festival this year places the spotlight on the triumvirate of top Classical era composers. This Chamber Music Northwest concert repeats Monday’s show in Portland and features trios by Mozart (his big K. 563 Divertimento, one of his finest chamber works), Haydn and Beethoven.

Baroque Concerti with Monica Huggett, June 30, Beall Hall, Eugene
The energetic Portland Baroque Orchestra violinist and director Monica Huggett returns to Beall June 30 to lead experienced new music specialists, including the great Dutch flutist Wilbert Hazelzet, in Baroque masterpieces by J.S. Bach, Telemann and more.

Berwick Academy with Robert Levin, June 30, Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, Portland; and July 1, Beall Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene
More historically informed Classical-era music is featured in two Beall concerts led by scholar and fortepiano master Robert Levin, with repeat performances sponsored by Chamber Music Northwest at Kaul Auditorium. The June 30/July 1 Berwick Academy concert includes Haydn’s stirring Symphony #103, Mozart’s darkly beautiful Piano Concerto #24, and a Beethoven overture.

New Pathways, July 1-4, Aasen-Hull and Beall Halls, UO, Eugene. Read Gary Ferrington’s ArtsWatch preview of these Oregon Composers Forum concerts.
New Pathways II: Features the music of composers-in residence Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon and David Crumb with performances by symposium guest artists Gomez, Barth, Hennings, Shields, Park, Ziegler, and Cheung at 8 pm Friday, July 1 in Aasen-Hull Concert Hall.
New Pathways III: The American Creators Ensemble (ACE) with OBFCS guest artists and performers showcase artists featuring Sound of Late, Krause, Giuca, and Evers performing music by symposium composers at 1 pm on Saturday July 2 in Aasen-Hull Concert Hall.
New Pathways IV: Features Estelí Gomez and the OBFCS vocal fellows in a concert of music by symposium composers at 8 pm on Sunday, July 3 in Beall Concert Hall. Live Stream
New Pathways V: The American Creators Ensemble with OBFCS guest artists and performers showcase artists perform music by symposium composers on July 4 at 8 pm in Beall Concert Hall. Live Stream

• OBF All-Stars with Robert Levin, July 2, Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, Portland; and July 3, Beall Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene
Levin leads renowned German clarinetist Eric Hoeprich and other period instrument specialists one of Mozart’s own favorites, his breezy piano and winds quintet, and Beethoven’s later quintet it inspired and more.

The Oregon Bach Festival premieres James MacMillan's European Requiem. Photo: Hans van der Woerd.

The Oregon Bach Festival premieres James MacMillan’s European Requiem. Photo: Hans van der Woerd.

MacMillan Requiem, July 2, Hult Center, Eugene
When the Oregon Bach Festival commissioned what turned out to be his European Requiem back in 2012, James MacMillan couldn’t have known how prophetic that title might have turned out to be. Read the rest of my Eugene Weekly preview of one of Oregon’s most significant classical music concert of the summer: the major new choral orchestral work by a leading European composer. And read Bob Hicks’s ArtsWatch profile of Sir James. Alas, the title has meaning even beyond a lament for a certain European political ideal; the Requiem commission was really spearheaded (as was the festival’s overdue but welcome embrace of historically informed period instrument performances) by the late OBF executive director, John Evans, who died unexpectedly in May, and is dedicated to his memory.

Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy, July 3, Hult Center, Eugene
Anton Armstrong leads the singers in Haydn’s St. Nicholas Mass plus music by Bach, Handel and more.

Punch Brothers with Gabriel Kahane, July 5, Hult Center, Eugene
Read my Eugene Weekly interview with Portland homeboy and Punch Brother heavyweight leader/composer/mandolinist/singer Chris Thile.

There’s much more at the OBF, including organ recitals, free concerts, lecture demonstrations (including the legendary Discovery Series, this year focusing on Bach’s Christmas Oratorio), with more to come next week.

New York pianist and arranger Dick Hyman performs at Siletz Bay Music Festival this weekend

New York pianist and arranger Dick Hyman performs at Siletz Bay Music Festival and in Portland this week.

Siletz Bay Music Festival
June 29-July 2
Salishan Spa and Golf Resort
On June 29, abetted by his Oregon Festival of American music colleague, the great jazz clarinetist Ken Peplowski, legendary pianist, soundtrack arranger, and American music expert Dick Hyman plays his own settings of Shakespeare’s words, sung by Nicole Greenidge Joseph, Clairdee, and Rocky Blumhagen. They’ll return to perform big band music on July 1.

On July 2, Portland Chamber Orchestra music director Yaacov Bergman leads the orchestra in Mozart’s Piano Concerto #23, featuring pianist Adam Jackson, Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, Mozart opera arias (featuring Joseph), and the overture to the same Rossini opera coming to Portland Opera next month.

On Independence Day, the orchestra backs Joseph in some of Copland’s lovely Old American Songs and a spiritual by Moses Hogan, followed by the premiere of Hyman’s clarinet concerto, Three Delights, featuring Peplowski. All the guest stars join for a closing Gershwin tribute.

Estonian National Opera Boys’ Choir
June 30
St. John the Baptist Church, Oregon Episcopal School, 6300 SW Nicol Rd. Portland
Singers from one of the world’s greatest choral traditions are conducted by one of the most admired masters, Hirvo Surva, a legend in Eastern European music, in music by the great Estonian composers Arvo Pärt, and Veljo Tormis, and their contemporaries, as well as classics.

Astoria Music Festival performs "Little Women."

Astoria Music Festival performs “Little Women.”

“Little Women”
July 1-2
Astoria Music Festival, Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center, Astoria
Read my Eugene Weekly preview of Mark Adamo’s 1998 operatic adaptation of Alcott’s enduring novel, a reprise of Eugene Opera’s May production starring the vibrant Portland soprano Hannah Penn and directed by Mark Beudert.

Dick Hyman & Ken Peplowski
July 5
Jimmy Mak’s, 221 NW 10th Ave. Portland
After their Siletz shows, two of the most accomplished living interpreters of vintage jazz — both frequent guests and music directors at the Shedd in Eugene— join the veteran Portland rhythm section of Dave Captein and Gary Hobbs and singer Clairdee in this fundraiser for Portland Chamber Orchestra.

Waterfront Blues Festival
July 1-4
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland
The annual benefit for Oregon Food Bank features legends like Maceo Parker, Dr. John, Femi Kuti, Curtis Salgado, and many, many more blues, zydeco, rock and other stars.

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