Classical music performances abound on Portland’s winter arts scene


Despite the threat of omicron, classical music continued a strong resurgence with an increasing number of performances this winter. Although most events require proof of vaccination or a recent negative test, it is best to double-check the requirements. For those who are still unsure, many concerts offer a live streaming option.

With that in mind, here are a dozen concerts that include unreleased works and old classics.

You will fly! – 45th parallel universe

Composers are notorious for “borrowing” from their colleagues – the sooner the better – and even from themselves. In this master thief program for chamber orchestra, you’ll hear a bit of Bach in Brahms’ Serenade No. 2 in A major. Another Bach-like strain appears in Stravinsky’s “Concerto in E-flat Major Dumbarton Oaks”. The 45th parallel will also perform the world premiere of a play by Marcos-Adrián Ramos.

January 27; PICA, 15 NE Hancock St.; or 503-446-4227.

Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade – Oregon Symphony

San Francisco Opera Music Director Eun Sun Kim returns to conduct this concert, which features fellow returnee Johannes Moser in the world premiere of Robin Holloway’s Cello Concerto. Holloway, who taught music composition at the University of Cambridge, has an extensive body of work known for its lush, modern undercurrent. Also on the program, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Dukas, known for generations through the antics of Mickey Mouse in the 1940 Walt Disney concert film “Fantasia” and “Scheherazade” by Rimsky-Korsakov, which evokes colored several tales from “The Thousand and One Nights.”

29-31 Jan; Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway; or 503-228-1353.

When the Sun Comes Out – Portland Opera

Commissioned by the Vancouver Queer Arts Festival, this chamber opera will have its American premiere with these performances. Set in Fundamentalia, a country where assigned gender and sex roles are ruthlessly enforced, “When the Sun Comes Out” tells the story of two women who rediscover love and challenge those norms. Written by Canadian composer Leslie Uyeda to a libretto by Rachel Rose, the production features soprano Cree Carrico, mezzo Sandra Piques Eddy and baritone Michael Parham. Conductor Maria Sensi Sellner and director Alison Moritz form an infallible duo for this stimulating opera.

28 Jan-Feb 12; The Hampton Opera Center, 211 SE Caruthers St.; a digital pass is available for the Portland Opera on screen, or 503-241-1407.

Gerald Finley, bass-baritone & Julius Drake, piano – Friends of Chamber The music

Grammy Award-winning Gerald Finley will sing a selection of songs by Franz Schubert, Hugo Wolf, Peter Lieberson and more at this can’t-miss concert. The Canadian bass-baritone has enormous dynamic range, dramatic ability and charisma. It has been featured in 47 recordings ranging from JS Bach to Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera on Anna Nicole Smith. Finley will be accompanied by Julius Drake, one of the best in the business.

February 1st ; Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Avenue; or 503-224-9842.

Angela Hewitt – Portland Piano International

An internationally acclaimed keyboardist and curator of this season’s performances for Portland Piano International, Hewitt returns to Portland for two concerts with a wide variety of programs. In the first, she will play pieces by Couperin, Messiaen and Brahms. In the second, she will perform Scarlatti and Bach. The immaculate technique and graceful art of the Canadian pianist are supported by 44 albums and numerous awards, including the Bach Medal from the city of Leipzig and the Wigmore Hall Gold Medal, which rewards her 80 performances in this prestigious hall. Londoner.

February 5-6; Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Avenue; or 503-228-1388.

Little Things – Third Angle New Music

Angélica Negrón’s music has been featured by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Kronos Quartet, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Sō Percussion and the American Composers Orchestra. The Puerto Rican-born composer and multi-instrumentalist has invented pieces for accordions, robotic instruments, toys and electronics. In Portland, she will collaborate with flautist Sarah Tiedemann, cellist Valdine Mishkin, percussionist Chris Whyte and pianist Susan DeWitt Smith to present several electro-acoustic pieces, including the world premiere of “Espacios, objetos, sonidos y tiempo” (Espaces , objects , sounds and time).

February 10-11; Bodecker Foundation 2360 NW Quimby St.; or 503-331-0301.

Super Bach Sunday – Bach Cantata Choir

This annual event is a great way to get your fill of culture before pulling into the recliner with beer and pretzels to watch the big game. The 50-voice choir, masked and spaced six feet apart, will split into two groups for this concert. Each ensemble will feature a cantata and an a cappella piece plus a double choir number which will include all the singers. The program will also feature voiceless brass and organ music. All plays will be directed by Ralph Nelson. The concert is free and will be broadcast live.

February 13; Rose City Park Presbyterian Church, 1907 NE 45th Ave.; or 503-702-1973.

Christoph Prégardien & Gloria Chien: Poetry in Performance – Chamber Music Northwest

This renowned German tenor has been featured in 150 recordings including art songs, cantatas, oratorios and operas ranging from early music to contemporary music. Its Portland program will focus on the Romantic era with Beethoven’s ‘Adelaide’, a selection of Schubert’s ‘Schwanengesang’ and Schumann’s ‘Dichterliebe’. The brilliant pianist Gloria Chien, who is co-artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest, will accompany Prégardien in what should be a memorable evening of German lieder. A recorded livestream will be available two weeks after the live concert with a concert pass.

February 24; The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave.; or 503-294-6400.

It’s a family affair when the orchestra plays “Heirloom”, a new piano concerto by Gabriel Kahane.Eric Engel

Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony – Oregon Symphony

It’s a family affair when the orchestra plays “Heirloom”, a new piano concerto by Gabriel Kahane. That’s because Kahane’s father, Jeffrey Kahane, will be on keyboard. This piece, co-commissioned by the Oregon Symphony, is influenced by folk music, the sacred hymns of Germany and the pandemic. Also on the program, “Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis” by Vaughan Williams and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, the “Pastoral Symphony”. David Danzmayr will conduct and the Monday evening performance will be broadcast live.

March 12-14; Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway; or 503-228-1353.

Jakub Józef Orlinski, countertenor & Michal Biel, piano – Friends of Chamber Music

Hailed for his recent performance in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Eurydice”, Polish countertenor Orlinski rose to fame after winning international vocal competitions, releasing stellar recordings and earning accolades for his breathtaking singing on the stages of foreground. Her modeling deals with Nike, Levi’s and Mercedes-Benz and her breakdancing skills added to her luster, earning her some sold-out appearances. Upon his return to Portland, Orlinski will team up with pianist Michał Biel to present songs by Fux, Purcell and Handel, as well as gems by Polish composers Mieczysław Karłowicz, Stanisław Moniuszko and Henryk Czyż.

The 17th of March; Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Avenue; or 503-224-9842.

A close up of a man in a white shirt and black suit jacket

Jakub Jozef OrlinskiJiyang Chen

Voices Out of the Darkness: Bach Cantatas – Portland Baroque Orchestra

This concert will mark Bach’s birthday (March 21) with selections from his cantatas as well as other similar works by Baroque masters such as Pachelbel. Bass-baritone Jonathan Woody will lead the historically informed period ensemble. It will be complemented by a group of exceptional soloists, including soprano Sherezade Panthaki, countertenor Reginald Mobley and tenor Jacob Perry. PBO will provide a free live stream of the March 21 performance on YouTube.

March 20th; Kaul Auditorium, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.; or 503-222-6000.

March 21st; Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, 12725 SW Millikan Way #240, Beaverton; or 971-501-7762.

Locally Sourced Sounds VII – Don’t Fear the Music

This intriguing concert features an Indonesian-influenced solo piano piece by Lifia Teguh, a pandemic-inspired work for clarinet and string trio by James Shields, a solo flute and electronics number by Drew Swatosh, a meditative mixed quartet by Jesse Ehrenberg, a gem solo marimba by Lisa Neher, and a piano quartet with the intriguing title “Rabbit in the Moon” by Kirsten Volness.

March 21st; The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave.; or 971-220-6366.

—James Bash, for The Oregonian/OregonLive

This post has been updated to reflect the following correction: Jakub Józef Orlinski performed with the Portland Baroque Orchestra in 2017. The above item has been updated to correct his Portland debut date.


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