Weekend MusicWatch

Oregon's summer heats up, and so does its music scene.

It’s hot out there in Oregon this weekend, and the indoor entertainment schedule is equally sizzling. One major summer music festival ends, three more begin (one that lasts only one night, though it’s a long one), still others continue, and if you want to escape indoors, you have a choice of three operas and a musical along with a panoply of chamber concerts. Check Portland’s all classical radio calendar for still more scorching classical music entertainments, and let ArtsWatch readers know about others (or your thoughts about these) in the comments section below. And stay cool out there!

Piano!PushPlay! returns to the Portland Art Museum Friday.

Piano!PushPlay! returns to the Portland Art Museum Friday. Photo: Benji Vurong.

Chamber Music Northwest Summer Festival
June 22-July 26
Various venues, Portland.
The annual festival, a highlight of Oregon’s summer music season, again brings renowned classical musicians to Portland. This weekend’s shows feature Thursday’s tribute to Brahms; a collaboration with Northwest Dance Project on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; contemporary tango music on Saturday; Sunday’s collaboration with the Oregon Bach Festival featuring Portland Baroque Orchestra violinist Monica Huggett in a Beethoven tribute; and, on Monday and Tuesday, the young Jasper String Quartet performing the West Coast premiere of award winning American composer Aaron Jay Kernis’s new string quartet, “River.”

The Assad Brothers with Romero Lubambo
June 24
Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland.
The famous Brazilian guitar bro duo celebrate 50 years of performing together (not to mention with musicians like Yo Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Astor Piazzolla, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and more) with a concert of music by some of Brazil’s most famous composers, including Villa Lobos, Egberto Gismonti, Baden Powell and more, including Lubambo, a formidable jazz guitarist who’s collaborated with many top jazzers himself.

Siletz Bay Music Festival
June 24-30
Various venues, Lincoln City.
The other coast festival’s opening week kicks off Wednesday with pianist Mei-Ting Sun playing Chopin, Ravel, Schumann, and more. Schubert, Strauss and Brahms are also on that concert as well as on Thursday’s chamber music program. Friday’s free chamber music concert features music by Dvorak and Żeleński, while Saturday’s soiree includes music by Faure, the jazzy French pop classical pianist and composer Claude Bolling, and Vaughan Williams. Sunday’s intimate afternoon concert includes tangos by Piazzolla, Mark O’Connor’s popular “Appalachia Waltz,” music by Peter Schickele, Stravinsky and more. Monday’s free chamber concert features sonatas by Mozart and Chopin and a quartet by Schumann, while Tuesday’s piano and percussion concert offers Bartok’s great sonata for those forces, and two piano works by Debussy and Rachmaninoff.

Oregon Music Festival
June 24-July 1
First Baptist Church and Lincoln Performance Hall, Portland.
Wednesday night’s recital features the Croatian-Maltese piano and accordion Duo Mascagni. Thursday’s concert includes large-scale chamber music of Bohuslav Martinû, Astor Piazzolla, and Franz Schubert. Saturday’s show stars resident artists from the Seattle Symphony and elsewhere performing still more too-seldom-played works by Martinů: Sinfonietta la Jolla and  Sinfonia Concertante, plus Schubert’s Symphony No. 3. In Tuesday’s penultimate concert, the students of the festival’s Orpheus Academy perform Piazzolla’s tango-tinged Four Seasons of Bueno Aires plus Martinů’s Divertimento, and Mahler’s string orchestra arrangement of Schubert’s famed  String Quartet No. 14 , “Death and the Maiden.”

“Makrokosmos Project”
June 25
DUO Stephanie and Saar, Blue Sky Gallery, 122 NW 8th Ave., Portland.
Read Jana Griffin’s ArtsWatch preview of the duo pianists and their guests’ all-evening performance of music by the great American composer George Crumb’s masterpiece Makrokosmos for Amplified Piano,  Portland’s own master Kenji Bunch, and more.

“The World’s Largest Louie, Louie Sing-A-Long”
June 25
Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave.

Portland’s valuable Know Your City sponsors this collective celebration of the rock anthem born in Portland, featuring The Kingsmen (of course), Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls, Heavy City, The Beat Goes On Marching Band and a supporting cast of perhaps dozens of delirious backup singers, including you. (Bring sunscreen and stay hydrated.)

Astoria Music Festival
June 25– 28
Clatsop Community College and Liberty Theatre, Astoria.
The festival turns to opera on its closing weekend. On Thursday and Friday nights, its apprentice artists perform in a new fully staged production (steered by the inventive Bay Area stage director Brian Staufenbiel) of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, set in Astoria, with Columbia River Bar Pilots, the Coast Guard, a pirate and more. Saturday afternoon’s matinee organ recital by Christoph Bull sports a Bach/Mendelssohn mashup, an organ arrangement of Ravel’s Bolero, more J.S. Bach music, some of Bull’s original arrangements and compositions, and works by Ralph Vaughan Williams and a piano man, one William Joel. On Saturday night, the Enso Quartet plays Sibelius’s d minor string quartet, and are joined by peripatetic Portland pianist Cary Lewis in Dvorak’s A major piano quintet. The festival’s Sunday grand (opera) finale at the lovely Liberty Theatre features the Pacific Northwest premiere of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, his opera about tumultuous life of Mary, Queen of Scots, with Northwest native Angela Meade in the title role, Portland stars Richard Zeller and Angela Niederloh, Matthew Hayward, Alexandra Deshorties, Aaron Blake and the festival chorus and orchestra.

“HMS Pinafore”
June 25-28
Mago Hunt Center, University of Portland
Mock’s Crest’s  production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s spoof of British Royal Navy life sails off into the sunset after this closing weekend.

The Creation OBF Preview with Matthew Halls from Oregon Bach Festival on Vimeo.
Oregon Bach Festival
June 25-July 12
Various venues, Eugene.
The major highlight of June’s concerts in the venerable festival: the debut of an exciting new Oregon music institution, the Berwick Orchestral Academy that teaches the art of historically informed performance, with OBF music director Matthew Halls leading them in music by Beethoven. Read my Eugene Weekly feature. Berwick faculty early music stars also get their own chamber music showcase. Another Portlander, rock-star-turned-all-purpose diva Storm Large reprises the Seven Deadly Sins she committed with the Oregon Symphony a couple years ago, one of the great collaborations between Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. Read my Eugene Weekly preview. The festival opens with Haydn’s mighty oratorio The Creation on June 25. Halls, OBF founding music director Helmuth Rilling and Edward Maclary lead the fascinating Discovery Series, devoted this year to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and the festival offers many, many more concerts, talks, free shows and more, with further highlights coming in July.

Piano! Push Play!
June 26
Portland Art Museum.
Read my 2013 ArtsWatch feature about this nobly intentioned community music organization and its energetic founder, pianist Megan McGeorge. Then read my Willamette Week preview of this free, all day event featuring ten pianos (and many more pianists) arrayed outside the Art Museum. The instruments will then be distributed throughout the city for performances all summer.

“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”
June 26-28
The Shedd, Eugene.
Read my Eugene Weekly preview of  this new production of Frank Loesser and Abe Burrows’ Pulitzer- and Tony-winning 1961 spoof of mid-20th century American corporate culture.

Berkshire Choral International
June 27
Trinity Episcopal Church, 147 NW 19th Ave. Portland.
Even before moving to Oregon, Lewis & Clark College music prof and Resonance Ensemble music director Katherine FitzGibbon taught at this well-known choral academy’s summer workshops, which take place in different cities around the world. and this year, one is happening in her own city. The intensive, week-long training program attracts more than 100 amateur choristers from around the country, and culminates in a public performance led this time by Seattle Pro Musica director Karen Thomas and featuring Henry Purcell’s Baroque masterpiece Dido and Aeneas” and Mozart’s choral triumph, Vesperae Solennes de Confessore.

Porch Music”
June 27
Irvington neighborhood, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of Third Angle New Music’s preview of its upcoming season. There will be trees. But it wouldn’t hurt to bring water.

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