Weekend MusicWatch

Highlights from this weekend's Oregon music scene

Fans of vocal and choral music should find an abundance — maybe an overabundance — of recommended concerts on Oregon stages this weekend, and there are plenty of chamber and orchestral offerings available too. As always, if you know of more shows ArtsWatch readers should consider, please post recommendations in the comments section below.

XX Digitus Piano Duo pianists Momoko Muramatsu and Maria Garcia give their debut full-length concert Thursday.

XX Digitus Piano Duo pianists Momoko Muramatsu and Maria Garcia give their debut full-length concert Thursday.

XX Digitus Piano Duo
May 14
The Old Church, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of this excellent, mostly 20th century program (plus a Portland composer’s world premiere) by a pianistic piano pair that impressed us mightily in a recent Cascadia Composers concert.

“The Light Within: The Germany Concert”
May 14
University of Oregon Chamber Choir, Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene.
On the eve of its departure for Germany’s prestigious Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition, the award winning chorus sings an admirably varied program of sacred and secular music by ancient (Purcell, Brahms, Palestrina, and others) and modern (Stephen Paulus, Oregon native Morten Lauridsen, Scotland’s James MacMillan, Stacey Gibbs) choral masters, plus a high-speed medley of 16 American folk songs in four minutes.

Eugene Symphony
May 14
Hult Center, Eugene.
To close its season, the orchestra plays one of Haydn’s sparkling cello concertos, Strauss’s tone poem A Hero’s Life, and Samuel Barber’s famous Adagio for strings.

“Renaissance MayFest”
May 15-16
Eugene Vocal Arts, Oregon Renaissance Band, St. Paul’s Parish Hall, 1201 Satre St., Eugene.
The ensemble’s annual dinner-performance features madrigals by English composer Thomas Morley, sacred music by the great Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria, plus authentic dances, food, decor, costumed actors, and the historical instruments (violin, recorders, sackbutts, viola da gamba, krummhorns, lute, tabor) fashioned by Portland early music mavens Phil and Gayle Neuman.

Roberto Fabbri and Alberto Cumplido
May 15, Marylhurst University, Wiegand Hall, Lake Oswego.
May 17, St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, Nehalem.
The Italian and Chilean guitarists are both composers as well as internationally recognized performers, so along with 19th century music by Fernando Sor and Anton Diabelli, they’ll play originals —  including an homage to Eddie Van Halen.

“New American Classics”
May 16
FearNoMusic, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., Portland.
Despite what the backward-looking repertoire of most chamber music groups and festivals would suggest, classics are still being made. We won’t know for years whether the two attractive works by esteemed 21st century American composers on this program by Portland’s adventurous new music ensemble — Stephen Harke’s piano quartet King of the Sun and Osvaldo Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind for string quartet and klezmer clarinet — will rise to that exalted level, but they’re all worth hearing right here and now.

David Torn
May 16
Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Portland.
The acclaimed composer, who’s worked with everyone from David Bowie to Don Cherry to Madonna to Tim Berne, plays music from his atmospheric new solo album, in which his guitar slices shadowy near-ambient spaciousness with occasional serrated textures.

Intuitive Music
May 16
Jazz Station, 124 West Broadway, Eugene.
Bassist and composer Lyle Hopkins’s ensemble, featuring composer/flutist and ArtsWatch contributor Daniel Heila and multi-instrumentalist Christian Parkess, plays improvised sounds influenced by the music of John Zorn and John Cage.

Vidyadhar Vyas
May 16
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland.
Accompanied by tablawallah Satish Tare and Vivek Datar on harmonium, the Mumbai-based vocal star sings classical Hindustani music.

David Saffert
May 16
Curious Comedy Theater, Portland.
With direction from the sequined one’s long time music director Bo Ayars, the Portland pianist revives his tribute to Liberace, a hit at the recent Fertile Ground Festival. This performance benefits Portland’s KQAC classical radio.

Portland Peace Choir.

Portland Peace Choir.

Portland Peace Choir
May 16
Unity of Portland, 4525 SE Stark St., Portland.
The annual free concert includes choral arrangements of music by Peter, Paul and Mary, Harry Belafonte, Cat Stevens, Cyndi Lauper, and Holly Near, plus a choral suite with lyrics arranged from President Lincoln’s writings.

“From Darkness to Light”
Cappella Romana, May 16, 8 pm, St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1739 NW Couch St, and May 17, 2 pm, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 147 NW 19th Ave. Portland.
Esteemed British composer Ivan Moody conducts Portland’s stellar vocal ensemble in rarely heard contemporary European choral works. Moody, an expert on the music of Alfred Schnittke, leads 26 singers in a performance of the great 20th century Russian composer’s powerful Verses of Repentance, along with a piece by Galina Grigorjeva, Rachmaninoff’s Concerto for Choir, and Moody’s own Anastasis setting of Eastertide texts in Greek and English.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
May 16-17
Skyview Concert Hall, 1300 NW 139th Street, Vancouver, WA.
Spanish clarinetists Juanjo and Tolo Mercadal join the orchestra in the Concerto for Two Clarinets by Franz Krommer, and the VSO closes its season with a selection chosen by ballot by audience members, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.


The Korean kayagum is one of the instruments featured at Portland State on May 17.

The Korean kayagum is one of the instruments featured at Portland State on May 17.

May 17
Portland State University, Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom, 1825 SW Broadway, Portland.
A couple years ago, PSU’s Asian Studies program presented a fascinating concert of music featuring traditional Asian zithers from Japan (koto), Korea (kayagum), and China (guzheng), enabling Oregon listeners to hear the similarities and differences in the music and the instruments. They’re doing it again.

Instant Composers Pool Orchestra
May 17
Redeemer Lutheran Church, 5431 NE 20th Ave. Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the venerable Dutch free-jazz big band’s latest Oregon appearance.

Laura Wayte and Julia Brown
May 17
First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, Eugene.
The soprano and organist offer a wide-ranging recital of music from the 17th century to the present: Mozart, Monteverdi, Max Reger, Hugo Wolf, Maurice Ravel and contemporary composers Naji Hakim and Grigor Arakelian.

PSU Chamber Choir performs May 17.

PSU Chamber Choir performs May 17 and 19.

The Little Match Girl Passion
Portland State Chamber Choir
May 17
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, 1112 SE 41st Ave., Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the award winning student choir’s Oregon premiere of the recent Pulitzer Prize winner by David Lang. The choir will also sing a free outdoor performance on the evening of May 19, on Portland’s Waterfront Park, where homeless Oregonians might actually get to hear a piece inspired by homelessness.

Oregon Symphony, Pink Martini
May 19
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
The retro-popsters join the even more retro orchestra for a salsafied take on Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and other classics.

“PSU Celebrates the Music of Tomas Svoboda”
May 20
Lincoln Recital Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave., Portland.
In this free concert, Portland State University’s School of Music faculty and students perform the music of the school’s emeritus professor, Tomas Svoboda, in honor of Oregon’s greatest living composer’s 75th year.

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