Weekend MusicWatch: Mallets Aforethought

Percussion eruptions highlight Oregon concerts this weekend, which also features banjos, cellos, voices and more.

This weekend’s striking Oregon music menu features not one but two sparkling contemporary marimba concertos, plus a another percussion extravaganza involving mallets and native Northwest Douglas Fir instruments, not to mention banjo, cellos, trios and more.

Third Angle New Music, Friday, Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview of the new music experience of the week, featuring an immersive composition by Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon.

Timber! Members of Mantra Percussion join Third Angle New Music Friday.

Timber! Members of Mantra Percussion join Third Angle New Music Friday.

Bela Fleck, Oregon Symphony, Saturday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview of the orchestra’s latest — but not last — collaboration with a superior non-classical musician. The concerto was premiered by the Nashville Symphony, as was the next concerto written by a rocker that the Oregon Symphony is covering, Ben Folds’s Piano Concerto. The NSO is led by former Eugene Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero, who seems eager to actually commission works by American composers. Oregon could sure use another music director like that now.

Portland Chamber Orchestra, Sunday, Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College, Portland.

Montreal-based Portland native Chad Heltzel and Lewis & Clark College prof Brett Paschal are the featured soloists (on piano and marimba, respectively) in a pair of concertos: the contemporary Brazilian composer/percussionist Ney Rosauro’s Marimba Concerto (brought to international attention by the great Scots percussionist Evelyn Glennie) and a keyboard concerto by J.S. Bach, and the orchestra also plays music by Danish composer Carl Nielsen and the second concerto grosso by long-time Oregon coast resident Ernest Bloch.

Samita Sinha, Friday and Saturday, Winningstad Theater, Portland.

In this TBA Festival performance, the singer/composer/improviser’s Cipher blends her classical Hindustani music training with electronics, tabla rhythm machine, drones, loops, silence, folk and pop influences, plus sound, lighting and costume design in a theatrical solo exploration of vibrational forces and more.

Samita Sinha | Cipher | February 25, 2012 from The Watermill Center on Vimeo.

Tanya Tagaq, Friday and Saturday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University.

Another intriguing TBA Festival show gathers the acclaimed throat singer, a drummer, violinist, and original score by  composer Derek Charke’s and pits them against the famous (and famously racist) 1922 silent film Nanook of the North in what could be a creatively tense pairing.

Tim Hecker, Sunday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University.

One of the TBA festival’s more atmospheric, sometimes unsettling music shows brings the Canadian dark ambient electronic sound artist to his Portland debut.

Maya Beiser & Portland Cello Project, Monday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University.

Read my ArtsWatch preview of this TBA Festival concert featuring one of contemporary classical music’s most charismatic performers uncovering some distinctly un-classical music, including a major recent composition by a University of Oregon grad.

Quadraphonnes, Saturday, Jimmy Mak’s, Portland.

The inventive sax quartet, which plays everything from Philip Glass to classic jazz, releases its second album, which ranges into Latin, funk, and other territories.

Salem Chamber Orchestra, Saturday, Amadeus Restaurant, and Sunday, Hudson Hall, Willamette University.

The band kicks off its 30th season Saturday with a late night show at an intimate restaurant space featuring a tasty program of 20th century music by Stravinsky (A Soldier’s Tale) and Berio (Folk Songs). Sunday’s concert features a Mozart overture, a Beethoven symphony, a Sibelius waltz and a 1999 concerto for marimba and strings by contemporary French composer Emmanuel Séjourné that’s becoming one of the most popular classical works for the instrument, featuring former Third Angle percussionist Mark Goodenburger (a frequent performer with Portland Baroque Orchestra)  as soloist.

Portland Classic Guitar, Friday, St. Anne’s Chapel, Marylhurst University.

The essential classical guitar series opens its new season with performances by four fine Oregon guitarists, including PCG proprietor William Jenks playing Vivaldi with members of the Portland Chamber Orchestra, Peter Zisa playing Sor and Tedesco (including flutist LeeAnn McKenna), Mario Diaz performing preludes by veteran Portland composer Bryan Johanson and more, and Dan Cosley premiering his own latest solo composition, a “cubist blues” called “Echoland.”

Pebble Trio, Friday, Tabor Space, Portland.

Peripatetic improvising pianist Thollem McDonas returns to Portland for another encounter with two of Oregon’s finest improvisers, bassist Andre St. James and drummer Tim DuRoche.

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

Portland Piano International artistic director Arnaldo Cohen escapes from a burlap sack to play Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1 for the second time in two years. Wait, sorry, that was Richter. The all-Tchaikovsky program also features the stirring Symphony #4, Slavonic March, and perhaps will answer the burning question: “Tchaikovsky. Was he the tortured soul who poured out his immortal longings into dignified passages of stately music, or was he just an old poof who wrote tunes?”

Jim PepperFest, Saturday, Parkrose High School Performing Arts Center, 12003 NE Shaver St., Portland.

Friends and former bandmates (with help from choreographer Luciana Proaño) return for the second year to celebrate the music of Oregon’s greatest Native American jazz musician.

Mysore Manjunath & Mysore Nagaraj, Saturday, Rasika School of Music and Arts, Hillsboro.

In this Rasika concert, the veteran violin brothers play south Indian music with a pair of percussionists.

Fanna-Fi-Allah, Saturday, First Baptist Church, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview of this Sufi Qawwali music concert.

Amelia Trio, Saturday, private home, Depoe Bay.

You may have wondered what happened to this rising young group, featured on classical radio programs like St. Paul Sunday and Performance Today. Quick answer: two of them had a baby, and the other moved to Willamette University. Now they’re back, this time playing Brahms, Chopin, and contemporary composer Daron Hagen.

Cascadia Concert Opera performs next Wednesday at Portland's Old Church.

Cascadia Concert Opera performs next Wednesday at Portland’s Old Church.

Cascadia Concert Opera, Wednesday, The Old Church, Portland.

The little company that specializes in bringing concert readings of operas to intimate spaces that don’t get enough of it take on a more substantial work than in its preceding five seasons: Beethoven’s only opera, Leonora. Oops, strike that, maybe Fidelio is a better title.

Alice Davenport, Peter Thomas, Raleigh Williams, Sunday, Atrium Courtyard, Eugene.

The singer, guitarist and lutenist perform 16th and 17th century Spanish songs in a free afternoon concert.

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