Weekend MusicWatch

Chamber music, opera, orchestral music, and new music by composers from Oregon and beyond highlight the weekend's music calendar

One festival continues, another opens, and there’s new music by Oregon composers and more on the agenda this weekend and beyond. As always, be sure to check KQAC’s cultural events calendar for more listings, and feel free to alert our readers to other worthy music events in the comments section below.

Portland Opera's The Elixir of Love opens Friday.

Matthew Grills stars as Nemorino in Portland Opera’s The Elixir of Love, which opens Friday. Photo: Cory Weaver.

“In Good Hands”
July 16
Cascadia Composers, The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave., Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of this afternoon concert that includes music by 15 Oregon composers.

Fair Trade Trio
July 19
Pink Palace, 4072 NE 10th Ave., Portland.
Co-sponsored by Oregon’s Sound of Late, who’ll also perform, this house concert brings members of New York’s young Fair Trade Chamber Music Society to play a splendid program by contemporary American composers Jennifer Higdon, Pauline Oliveros, 20th century Canadian composer Murray Adaskin and Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos, and Oregon’s own Nayla Mehdi.

Chamber Music Northwest
July 15-21
Various venues, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of this weekend’s classical-meets-comedy shows, plus Dianne Davies’ ArtsWatch preview of Igudesman & Joo’s show, and our interview with the pair’s pianist. On July 17 CMNW throws a birthday bash and concert at Portland Center Stage for PDQ Bach’s amanuensis Peter Schickele, a fine composer in his own right (and under his own byline), that includes music by both, followed by a midday July 18 family concert at Reed College in which he narrates “The Schickele_Web_PhotoEmperor’s New Clothes,” and the world premiere of his new Clarinet Quintet on Saturday and Sunday along with music by Brahms and Haydn. This Wednesday’s Club Concert includes French music from Rameau to Messiaen, and features CMNW’s young Protege Project players at Alberta Rose Theatre. The festival concludes its survey of Beethoven violin sonatas on July 16. Two young string quartets, the Dover and Miro, play separately (Beethoven, Dvorak) and then together (Mendelssohn’s amazing Octet) on June 21.

Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
July 17-19
Cathedral Park, Portland.
The oldest continuous free jazz festival west of the Mississippi River enters its 35 year with a new presenter, the Jazz Society of Oregon, and more than a dozen performers, including rising star Hailey Niswanger’s PDX Soul, Blueprints Trio, Thara Memory’s national award-winning American Music Program, Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra, La Rhonda Steele, and more. There’ll also be a late night venue for nocturnal jamming.

“The Elixir of Love”
July 17, 19, 23, 25 & 30; August 1
Portland Opera, Newmark Theatre.
The company closes its 50th anniversary season in the relatively intimate confines of Portland’s Newmark Theatre, with Gaetano Donizetti’s fizzy 1832 ode to intoxicants and placebos, which tells the story of Nemorino, who tries to fulfill his lust for the abundantly endowed (financially, that is) and polyamorous Adina, with help from a spurious potion (not a date rape drug, but rather the 18th century equivalent of MDMA) that allegedly will make him irresistible to women, supplied by the huckster Dr. Dulcimara. Antics and reversals ensue, and the real aphrodisiac is revealed to be something more noble (as well as something else less so — money) than a magic cocktail. Conducted by Nicholas Fox and directed by Ned Canty, this version, like Eugene Opera’s production last year, is set in America’s late 19th century Wild West. The August 1 performance is preceded by a daylong, family-friendly Street Fair beginning at noon, followed by a free outdoor simulcast of The Elixir of Love that evening.

Eugene Symphony
July 18, Cuthbert Amphitheater, Eugene; Sunday,  July 19 Stewart Park, Roseburg; July 20, Bohemia Park, Cottage Grove.
The free tickets are all snapped up for the Eugene show, although some returns might be available at the ticket gate. Depending on which show you see, these family friendly free concerts might include well-known music by Rossini, Holst, Sousa, John Williams, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky (hint: boom!),  Lloyd-Webber,  and more.

Oregon Coast Music Festival
July 21
Marshfield High School Auditorium, Coos Bay
The annual festival’s opening classical concert, conducted by Oregon native James Paul, features music by Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Sibelius, and Beethoven’s magnificent seventh symphony.

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