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Friday, July 10, 2009

A classical music weekend that is NOT dull (promise!!)

Posted by Stephen Marc Beaudoin on Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 9:11 AM

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Does that guy look like a classical music composer to you? Well, does he?!? Because - surprise! (maybe) - he is.

His name is Mason Bates, he's all of 30 years old, and a new work of his is one of the highlights of what's turning out to be a pretty interesting weekend upcoming of classical music shows in PDX. Aside, of course, from the much-touted world premiere of "Maelstrom: A Zombie Opera" out at the IFCC - you've got three really fabulous nights of classical music performance in the weekend ahead that veer off into unusual territory (queer composers, little-heard lieder, that new work from young American composer Mason Bates, etc). Here's what's worth hearing this weekend, and where:

Friday, July 10: Chamber Music Northwest is well into the 3rd week of their annual summer mega-fest, and tonight's show ("Vintage 1826" - who comes up with these program titles??) features a titanic Beethoven string quartet, a brilliant Schubert rondo for violin and piano, a Mendelssohn quintet and a rare chance to hear some Mendelssohn songs for voice and piano. Alluring soprano Hyunah Yu - an ethereal presence in previous PDX appearances - is the one to listen for on this program (7:00 pm, First Congregational Church - tix here).

Saturday, July 11: Portland isn't known as a town for solo recitals (why is that?), but touring young cellist James Waldo touches down for a nicely programmed show at the Old Church (6:30 pm onward), featuring solo suites from Baroque meister J.S. Bach and formidable 20th century composer Benjamin Britten, with superlative pianist Janet Coleman partnering at the keyboard. Best news: admission is free!

Sunday, July 12: Eight pianists bang up 88 keys real good over the course of Portland Piano International's 10-day festival at the World Forestry Center. The opening Sunday program is a showcase for show-pony pianist Yeol Eum Son, recent Silver Medalist at the Van Cliburn competition (read: hot-shit-big-deal). In addition to pumping out the fireworks (Chopin, Liszt, Schumann), the pianist dares to program a work by that young American composer Mason Bates called "White Lies for Lomax," which sounds vaguely like a fragrance Elizabeth Taylor would design. Don't let that deter you. Tix are at 503-228-1388.

So - there you go! Yeah, you're welcome.

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