Weekend MusicWatch: Coasting into festival season

Oregon's major musical action this weekend happens at the coast, but other musical delights await inland.

Sergey Antonov stars at the Astoria Music Festival and its Portland preview concert this weekend.

Sergey Antonov stars at the Astoria Music Festival and its Portland preview concert this weekend.

Oregon’s major musical action this weekend happens at the coast, as the Astoria Music Festival opens the summer musical festival season. But a few other musical delights await inland.

Astoria Music Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Liberty Theater, Astoria. Two of the Northwest’s most nationally renowned opera stars, Richard Zeller and Angela Meade, perform in Saturday’s opening concert version of Verdi’s La Traviata with the festival orchestra, and Meade returns with Amber Wagner and Amy Hansen in Richard Strauss’s powerful Four Last Songs Sunday afternoon.

Astoria Music Festival Portland Preview Friday, The Old Church, Portland. Oregon Symphony concertmaster Sarah Kwak, charismatic cellist Sergey Antonov, and pianist Cary Lewis play Edvard Grieg’s piano and violin sonata in c, Erno Dohnanyi’s Brahmsian cello sonata, and a radiant trio by Brahms himself that, thanks to revision, dates from both early and late in his career.

Ron Blessinger performed at Third Angle's Porch Music earlier this summer.

Ron Blessinger performed at Third Angle’s Porch Music last summer.

Third Angle New Music, Sunday, Irvington neighborhood, Portland. The ensemble reprises last year’s enjoyable porch music strolling performance and fundraiser. Read my Willamette Week preview.


ViVoce, Saturday and Sunday, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Portland. Portland Revels’s splended women’s a cappella ensemble sings classical, contemporary and folk music from Israel, Romania, Bosnia, Slovakia, Georgia, North America, England, Ireland, Scotland and Bulgaria, interspersed with folk tales and poetry read by Anne Louise and Bob Sterry.

Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Saturday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland. The 140-voice choir sings music of Cole Porter, with some dance and other showbiz to boot.

Bach Cantata Vespers, Sunday, St. James Lutheran Church, Portland. Soloists Christine Welch Elder, Les Green, and Kevin Walsh join the St. James Bach Choir and orchestra in J.S. Bach’s Cantata 194, Most Highly Desired Festival of Joy, which could be the theme song for Oregon’s summer classical music season. The series regularly and commendably commissions new music from contemporary composers, and this month features a new motet by Carson Cooman.

Unistus Chamber Choir, Sunday, Milwaukie Lutheran Church, Portland. The Oregon City-based choir sings some of the music (mostly by Estonian composers including the great Veljo Tormis) it’ll be performing next month on its tour of Estonia—including an appearance at the world’s largest choral gathering, Laulupidu in Tallinn.


Venerable Showers of Beauty, Saturday, Headwaters Theater, Portland. The great American composer Lou Harrison, who was born in the Irvington neighborhood Third Angle is performing in Sunday and who worked often with the Portland Javanese percussion (and more) ensemble, called gamelan music “the most sensuously beautiful music on the planet,” and this concert of traditional and 20th century Javanese music shows why. (Full disclosure: I’m playing in that show, and I agree with Lou!) This concert features special guest musicians from Seattle’s Gamelan Pacifica, an acclaimed young Javanese female solo vocalist (pesindhen), Heni Savitri, and will be directed by Midiyanto, one of the world’s most renowned Javanese musicians, who taught at Lewis & Clark College for many years before moving on to head gamelan studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

Choro Das 3, Tuesday, The Old Church, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview.

MAAR, Saturday, Oaks Park, Portland. As part of the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, the trio (Britt Pernille Frøholm on hardanger fiddle/fiddle, Irene Tillung on accordion, Ellen Brekken on bass) plays traditional music and more from Norway.

Dawn of Midi, Tuesday, Doug Fir Lounge CK, Portland. The Brooklyn-based Moroccan/Indian/Pakistani American trio unleashes its global electronic soundscapes.


Galen Fous, Sunday, Sapphire Lounge, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview.

Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio, Tuesday, Jimmy Mak’s, Portland. The rising young Chilean saxophonist, who won last year’s Thelonious Monk competition and performs with greats like Joe Lovano and McCoy Tyner, makes her Oregon debut.

Want to read more about Oregon music? Support Oregon ArtsWatch!

Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch

Comments are closed.

Oregon ArtsWatch Archives