Weekend MusicWatch: Thoroughly Moderne March

The new Free Marz Trio closes March Music Moderne Sunday. Photo: Chris Leck

The new Free Marz  String Trio closes March Music Moderne Sunday. Photo: Chris Leck

After a scintillating — and for some of us, exhausting — opening week, the final weekend of Oregon’s March musical madness, March Music Moderne, arrives, plus other chamber music concerts that flirt with modernity. All MMM listings are in Portland unless otherwise specified, and information on all of them are at the March Music Moderne website, which contains info about films, lectures, and other concerts not listed here.

Post-Haste Reed Duo, Thursday, Hipbone Studio, $10. Sean Fredenburg and Javier Rodriguez play new music for saxophone and bassoon by 20th century composers Louis Andriessen, Heinz Holliger and John Steinmetz.

Judith Cohen, Friday, Portland Piano Company. Free. The Seattle pianist plays an excellent program of music by Andriessen, Peter Maxwell Davies (the contemporary English composer whose music has been all over this year’s MMM), Satie, and more, including the late, great 20th century American composer and longtime Seattle resident Alan Hovhaness.

Arnica Quartet, Friday, Community Music Center, $10. The Portland foursome covers one of the 20th century’s great chamber music cycles, Benjamin Britten’s three powerful string quartets.

Oregon ComposersWatch Showcase, Saturday noon, TaborSpace, free. OAW’s own composers showcase gets its official launch with a one-hour lunchtime concert/chat with three of Portland’s most happening composers, Bonnie Miksch, Jedadiah Bernards, and Christopher Corbell. Two of them will be combining the latest tech (iPad, computer software) with acoustic instruments and all three will chat with us about composing and making a career as a composer in Oregon’s volatile 21st century arts culture. Bring your questions and curiosity!

Demolition Duo, 4 pm Saturday, Performance Works Northwest. $5-$15. Two of Portland’s finest improvising virtuosos on their instruments, flutist/saxophonist John Savage and drummer Ken Ollis, celebrate the release of their new album on Portland’s PJCE Records, joined by fine guests like bass clarinet master Jonathan Sielaff and top jazzers like Blue Cranes’ Joe Cunningham and guitarist Dan Duval. The festival’s inclusion of musicians more associated with the jazz and avant improv scenes demonstrates its wide range.

MC Hammered Klavier, 7:30 pm Saturday, Community Music Center. Read MCHK’s own preview of this tribute concert celebrating the 75th year of the dean of Portland composers, Tomas Svoboda.

Recalled to Life, 11 pm Saturday, St. David of Wales Episcopal Church, $10. The festival’s best tagline — “21st-century music with 13th-century lighting” — includes some of the best musicians in the Classical Revolution PDX orbit (pianists Beth Karp and Gulchin Tarabus, singer Valery Saul) plus guest flutist Amalia Blumberg and bassoonist Joel Kleinbaum in an appealing program of music by Portland’s own David Schiff (the deliciously jazzy “After Hours”), Britten, Astor Piazzolla, the fine New York based violist Ljova, and more.

Friends of Rain, noon Sunday, Gregg Pavilion, Lewis & Clark College, $5-$10. The valuable Lewis & Clark faculty new music ensemble plays music by two of Portland’s top composers, PSU’s Miksch and Lewis & Clark’s Michael Johanson, plus works by James Harley and three works by Chicago-based composer in residence Mischa Zupko, whose expressive music on this program ranges from nearly neo romantic Rising to the taut Occupy.

Oregon Symphony, 3 pm Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $22-$98. The return of the orchestra’s tango program includes OSO violinist Erin Furbee’s excellent Tango Pacifico band (which includes other symphony musicians), tango dancers from Seattle, and music by the great 20th century nuevo tango composer Astor Piazzolla, OSO pops conductor Jeff Tyzik, Manuel de Falla, Chick Corea, Carlos Santana and more.

Electric Marzena Land (6 pm) and Free Marz String Trio (7:30 pm), Sunday, Community Music Center. The first concert in this free, festival closing double feature includes words and music by the renowned Vancouver BC-based soundscape composer Hildegard Westerkamp, the fine Portland composer Susan Alexjander, writer Sherman Alexie and more, including — jeepers, creepers, where’d they get those peepers?! — The Residents. The late show includes the acclaimed young Bulgarian-British composer Dobrinka Tabakova, filmscore legend Ennio Morricone, imaginative 20th century writers Ray Bradbury and the brilliant Italo Calvino, plus this year’s MMM commissions: nine new tangos for string trio based on the appealingly off center, early 20th century French composer Erik Satie’s “Perpetual Tango.”


As happens every year, several other concerts that also fit the festival’s rubric weren’t included for one reason or another, such as conflicting dates — a testament to the city’s relative abundance of 20th and 21st century music.

Raphael Spiro String Quartet, Friday, The Old Church, Portland. Donation. To benefit a new musicians union-sponsored scholarship fund, the quartet (named after a revered longtime Oregon Symphony player and teacher) of players from the Oregon Symphony and other orchestras plays music by Piazzolla, Hamza El Din (both commissioned by the Kronos Quartet), Shostakovich, Ravel, Mozart and Mendelssohn.

Marcelo de la Puebla, Friday, Wiegand Hall, Marylhurst University and Sunday (with William Jenks), St. Catherine Episcopal Church, Nehalem, $15-$49. The Chilean guitarist, a strong exponent of new music, gives the US premieres of new works by contemporary Chilean and French composers.

3 Leg Torso, Krebsic Orkestar, Friday, Star Theater, Portland. As if Portland’s world chamber music ensemble weren’t wild enough, they’re teaming up with the city’s popular 14-piece Balkan big band, plus the acoustic trio Three for Silver.

Vagabond Opera, Chervona, Friday, WOW Hall, Eugene, $12-$20. VO’s theatrical melange of cello, clarinet, sax accordion, operatic vocals, burlesque, and Hot Club jazz makes a potent pairing with the ever-energetic gypsy/klezmer/ Balkan/brass band (plus guitar, accordion, vocals and more) band at this Bohemian Russian dance party.

Igor Lipinski, Friday, Polish Hall, Portland. $15-$20. See Jana Hanchett’s preview.

Oregon Bach Collegium, Sunday, United Lutheran Church, Eugene. Baroque violinist Wyatt True and harpsichordist Margret Gries trace the development of violin repertoire from its early Baroque origins based on vocal music.


Aldo Abreu.

Aldo Abreu.

Aldo Abreu, Sunday, Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College. Free. The Venezuelan recorder virtuoso plays a solo recital of music from Medieval to Modern times, Bach to Berio, and, accompanied by a string quintet of Portland Chamber Orchestra musicians, concludes with a Vivaldi concerto.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Wind Quintet, Kiggins Theatre, Vancouver, WA. Kids concert includes Peter and the Wolf, The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Oregon’s own Mike Curtis, and a pair of works featuring VSO string players.

Bach Birthday Celebration, Sunday, Tabor Heights United Methodist Church, Portland, free. This multimedia performance, with organ, voice, violin, and trumpet, explores J.S. Bach’s life and music.

45th Parallel, Tuesday, The Old Church, Portland. $20-$25. A sterling ensemble featuring some of Portland’s finest orchestral and chamber musicians from the Oregon Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra and others plays three sextets, including one of Brahms’s finest chamber works, Schoenberg’s uber-intense late Romantic landmark Transfigured Night, and the American premiere of The Last Island by the great contemporary British composer Peter Maxwell Davies, whose music has been featured in several MMM shows.

Bob Sterry, Wednesday, Tony Starlight’s Lounge, Portland, $12. Accompanied by pianist Rhonda Ringering and abetted by Anne-Louise Sterry, the cabaret singer/storyteller/humorist delivers songs and British humor by Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, Randy Newman, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and more.

Eugene Opera performs Puccini's opera, "The Girl of the Golden West" this weekend.

Eugene Opera performs Puccini’s opera, “The Girl of the Golden West” this weekend.


Girl of the Golden WestEugene Opera, Friday and Sunday, Hult Center, Eugene. Read my preview.

Beaverton Symphony Orchestra, Friday and Sunday, Village Baptist Church, $5-$10. With help from Portland Opera To Go soloists, the orchestra plays music from Puccini’s La Boheme.

Portland Youth Philharmonic, Sunday, Oregon Zoo, $5-$10. The latest Cushion Concert for kids and families features an instrument petting zoo as well as music.

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