Weekend MusicWatch: Keyboard Kings (and a Queen)

A flock of fine pianists and an organist compete for your attention with several uncategorizable TBA Festival musical performances this weekend.

Eugene Symphony, Thursday, Hult Center, Eugene.

German pianist Markus Groh takes the keyboard for Brahms’s dramatic Piano Concerto #2, after the orchestra opens its season with Strauss’s On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Kodály’s Dances of Galánta and a couple of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances.


Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Friday, First United Methodist Church, Portland and Sunday, Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham.

The Columbia Symphony welcomes its new music director Steven Byess this weekend. Photo:  J.A. Huddleston.

The Columbia Symphony welcomes its new music director Steven Byess this weekend. Photo: J.A. Huddleston.


Chamber Music Northwest favorite Anna Polonsky is the soloist in one of the 20th century’s most utterly delightful orchestral works, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, and Steven Byess leads the orchestra for the first time since becoming its new music director in Ravel’s orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky’s ever-popular Pictures at an Exhibition.


Ben Folds, Oregon Symphony, Saturday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview of the orchestra’s latest pairing with an indie rock star — but note that, happily, the symphony tells us that after rehearsing Folds’s piano concerto, they now plan to play the whole thing, meaning we’ll get to hear both its surprising second movement and its piquant third as well as its more derivative opener.

Newport Symphony Orchestra, Saturday and Sunday, Newport Performing Arts Center.

Adam Flatt leads the NSO in Brahms’s Tragic Overture, Mozart’s breezy Sinfonia Concertante for winds, and Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Weber.


Time-Based Arts Festival, Thursday-Sunday, The Works at Fashion Tech, and Lincoln Hall, PSU, Portland.

Grouper's Liz Harris provides live music for Paul Clipson's new film Hypnosis Display at Portland's TBA Festival.

Grouper’s Liz Harris provides live music for Paul Clipson’s new film Hypnosis Display at Portland’s TBA Festival.

TBA’s second weekend hums with late night music. On Thursday, Venezuelan-American chill DJ Arca spins electronic club music, while Friday features the electronic textures of Oneohtrix Point Never (a/k/a experimental composer Daniel Lopatin). On Saturday at Portland State University, the fine composer Liz Harris (better known under her nom de muse Grouper) provides original live music to Hypnosis Display, a 16mm film by Paul Clipson.


Herbie Hancock Quartet, Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview of the legendary jazz pianist’s latest Oregon show.


Igor Kamenz, Sunday and Monday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University.

Read Jana Hanchett’s ArtsWatch preview of Portland Piano International’s season-opening recital.


Jonas Nordwall Sunday, Temple Beth Israel, Portland.

The virtuoso organist and native Portlander has performed from Japan to China to Switzerland to Portland’s own Organ Grinder Pizza as well as its First United Methodist Church, where he’s served as music director for more than two decades. The church choir and Cantor Ida Rae Cahana in music by Lewandowski, Janowski and Davidson, and Nordwall will play tunes by Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, and Harry Potter —  er, that is, John Williams.


 David Haney and friends, Friday, private home, Portland.

In this CD release and benefit for the four-decade old magazine of jazz, Cadence, pianist Haney (who publishes it out of Portland now) and guests play a house party that features a work for pianist and narrator based on the life of another under appreciated jazz piano innovator, Herbie Nichols, whose promising 1950s career was cut short by his tragically early death from leukemia — but not before he’d made some critically acclaimed, belatedly recognized records that combined influences as diverse as the music of his parents’ native Caribbean islands, Bartok, Satie, and Dixieland. Info and RSVP at cadencemagazine@gmail.com.


Cascadia Concert Opera, Saturday, Lincoln City Cultural Center.

The company takes its reading of Menotti’s popular (this is the third Oregon production in as many years) The Old Maid and the Thief to the coast.


Portland Opera Resident Artists, Tuesday, The Old Church, Portland.

The company’s new crop of rising young singers previews its upcoming season with songs from each show.


Opera on Screen, Friday and Sunday, Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, Portland.

Portland Opera and OMSI’s partnership that brings high-definition broadcasts to OMSI’s big Empirical Theater screen continues with Puccini’s La Rondine (rarely staged, although Portland State University produced it a couple years back) and another relative rarity, Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah.


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