Here are some of Portland’s music highlights for January and February (see visual arts and performing arts highlights):
Even though March is the main month for new classical music in Portland, both local and touring ensembles warm the winter season with certified classics featuring typically non-starring instruments (cello, bass, recorder, and more), show tunes, film scores, two of literature’s strongest women, and a surprising number of contemporary works.
Photo by Ellen Appel
Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Ave.
Friends of Chamber Music again brings back perhaps the world’s finest and most passionately powerful string quartet to play masterpieces by Schubert and Haydn, plus (with help from guest violist Erika Eckert) both of Brahms’s gorgeous viola quintets.
“Selva Morale e Spirituale”
The Ensemble and Wildwood Consort, Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road
Accompanied by the city’s premiere historically informed small ensemble, an all-star lineup of some of Portland’s finest singers performs one of the greatest works of the early Baroque period by the Italian master Claudio Monteverdi.
Rastrelli Cello Quartet
Lincoln Recital Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Ave.
A city so smitten by the Portland Cello Project will welcome the mostly Russian foursome, which mixes music by classical composers like Tchaikovsky and Bach with pop and jazz stars such as Dave Brubeck and George Gershwin.
Image courtesy Portland Opera
Feb. 1, 3, 7, 9
Portland Opera, Keller Auditorium, 222 S.W. Clay St.
Puccini’s heartbreaking drama of political corruption, love, and betrayal returns.
FearNoMusic, Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St.
In the most exciting classical music event of the season, the Portland new music ensemble brings composer Sarah Kirkland Snider’s new song cycle (with vocals by the bold pop/new music singer Shara Worden, from My Brightest Diamond) that tells the story of the Odyssey from the perspective of Odysseus’s loyal wife, left behind to fend off suitors while he sought adventure abroad.
Kaul Auditorium, 3203 S.E. Woodstock Blvd.
Chamber Music Northwest brings back two favorites from its summer festival—the world’s greatest recorder player, Danish virtuosa Michala Petri, and the oboe master Alan Vogel—plus other guests to perform an all-Baroque program of music by J.S. Bach, Telemann, Corelli, Beethoven and more.
Image courtesy www.chi-chinwanoku.com
“Virtuoso Bass. Vienna c1780“
Portland Baroque Orchestra, First Baptist Church, S.W. 12th Ave. and Taylor St.
The fabulous Nigerian-Irish virtuosa Chi-chi Nwanoku joins the excellent historically informed period instrument ensemble for an unusual program of music by Haydn, Mozart and more that features the deep dark sounds of the acoustic double bass.
“Music of Film“
Feb. 22 (Portland Chamber Orchestra, Village Church, 330 S.W. Murray Blvd., Beaverton)
Feb. 23 (Scottish Rite Temple, 1512 S.W. Morrison St.)
The inventive pocket-sized symphony plays award-winning movie soundtrack scores.
“From Broadway to the Met“
Choral Arts Ensemble, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 3228 S.W. Sunset Blvd.
The choir sings choruses from opera composers Puccini, Verdi and Wagner as well as hits from American stage musicals.
“Hough Plays Liszt“
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway
Another great pianist, another program featuring music of Beethoven (“Symphony #2”) and Paul Hindemith (“Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber”), this one also features one of today’s most visionary classical pianists performing Franz Liszt’s big “Piano Concerto #2.”
“When Michael Meets Julia“
Feb. 28-March 1
Third Angle, Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St.
Oregon’s oldest new music ensemble plays the music of two of today’s most prominent American composers, Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon, two of the founders of New York’s transformative Bang on a Can organization that has helped make new classical music hip and sustainable again.