vie de boheme

Music News & Notes

Recent happenings in Oregon music

Been awhile since we rounded up recent news in Oregon classical music, so here’s some items that lit up our screens in recent months.

Laurels and Plaudits

• Composition Champ. University of Oregon composition professor Robert Kyr was one of four American composers to win this year’s American Academy of Arts and Letters $10,000 Arts and Letters Award for outstanding artistic achievement by a composer who has arrived at his or her own voice.

Mia Hall Miller

Mia Hall Miller

Wonder Woman. Pacific Youth Choir founder and director Mia Hall Miller received the Oregon Symphony’s 2016 Schnitzer Wonder Award, a $10,000 prize that “honors an individual or organization that directly works to build community through the next generation of artists and/or student musicians.” Now in its 13th year, PYC boasts almost 300 singers in 10 choirs.

Violin Virtuosa. Portland violinist Fumika Mizuno is the only Oregonian selected among the 109 young musicians (age 16-19) from across the country for the fourth annual National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. It’s her second stint with the NYO, which (after a training residency in New York) performed with the great pianist Emanuel Ax at Carnegie Hall in July, then played concerts led by Valery Gergiev at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, in Montpellier France, Copenhagen, and Prague.

• Operatic ascent. Portland tenor A.J. Glueckert was one of six winners of the $10,000 George London awards, one of America’s oldest vocal competitions.

Eugene jazz musician Tony Glausi. Photo: Tyler Sams. 

Eugene jazz musician Tony Glausi. Photo: Tyler Sams.

Trumpeter on the rise. Eugene jazz trumpeter and composer Tony Glausi has been named the recipient of the 2016-17 Laurie Frink Career Grant, a biennial $10,000 award to give a “young brass player an opportunity for serious study or to undertake a creative project.” One of America’s most revered brass instrument teachers, Frink, who died in 2013, played in some of the finest jazz orchestras (including those of Maria Schneider, Benny Goodman Orchestra, Mel Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, John Hollenbeck, Darcy James Argue and more), performed with Broadway orchestras, co-wrote the definitive book on trumpet improvisation, and mentored some of today’s top trumpeters including Dave Douglas and Ambrose Akinmusire. Read Gary Ferrington’s ArtsWatch profile of Glausi.

The Marylhurst Chamber Choir performs at the 2016 Cork International Choral Festival.

Choral Voyagers. Marylhurst University’s premiere choral ensemble, the Marylhurst Chamber Choir, was one of only 34 choirs from around the world, and the only American choir invited to perform at the Cork International Choir Festival in Cork, Ireland in May. It placed third to choirs from Sweden and Turkey in a close contest for the placed third in the festival’s top honor, the Fleischmann Award and won the Peace Award for the choir that best embodied the spirit of the festival.


Speaking of surfeits, tonight, July 14, Portland classical music fans face at least a three-pronged dilemma.

Lara Downes is in town for Portland International Piano Festival

By a narrow margin, OAW’s top recommendation is Portland International Piano Festival’s recital by Lara Downes, who offers an all-American program of music by three of our greatest composers: Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and George Gershwin.

She’s performing a different program tomorrow (Friday) night at Portland’s Vie de Boheme wine bar, presented by the city’s Classical Revolution group:  a baker’s dozen of contemporary composers “reimagining” J.S. Bach’s allegedly soporific Goldberg Variations. (That story’s a myth, BTW.)  She presenting a workshop on the latter tomorrow (Friday) morning at the Forestry Center as part of PIP. If these commissions are anywhere near as successful as Anthony De Mare’s splendid similar project involving Stephen Sondheim’s music that rocked the World Forestry Center Tuesday night, we’ll be in for a treat indeed.

Adam Hurst

Also tonight, at Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium, Chamber Music Northwest presents a cellistic concert of music by Bach, Milton Babbitt, Igor Stravinsky and Gaspar Cassado, all featuring the redoubtable cellist Fred Sherry, who’s been a persistent and cheerful promoter of contemporary music for decades. The concert also features Pavel Haas’s second string quartet and the usual passel of top American classical players, including the wonderfully sensitive pianist Shai Wosner, one of my favorite CMNW musicians. The concert repeats Friday night at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall.

And speaking of cellos, fans of contemporary, rather neo-romantic cello music can catch the latest release from Portland cellist Adam Hurst, who’s frequently seen sawing away with great aplomb at the Portland Airport, Farmers Markets, and other public venues. Better to rehearse in public, and put the hat out. He’s performing with pianist Vince Frates at The Old Church in downtown Portland.

Oregon ArtsWatch Archives