Spring concerts, world beat
by brett campbell
Kahane’s the name, and a familiar one to Eugene classical fans, as Jeffrey K is a frequent (and formidable) pianist and conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival. But the Colorado Symphony and L.A. Chamber Orchestra conductor has lately been overshadowed a bit by his excellent singer-songwriter son Gabriel Kahane, one of the rising young stars of alt classical music, who effectively (and wittily) combines pop and classical devices to forge a surprisingly natural sounding style (evident in the very title of his breakthrough Craigslistlieder) that works well in clubs and concert halls. The 28-year-old Brooklynite has even composed for his dad. He plays with Rob Moose at Cozmic Pizza on April 23, a must-see for anyone interested in progressive pop and classical music.
More young classical voices resound at the UO’s Beall Concert Hall on April 18, where UO voice students will premiere a dozen new songs by UO grad student composers, all mentored by renowned new music singer Lucy Shelton during her residency. On April 27, the school’s new Ambrosia Men’s Choir will sing more new music (set to a variety of texts ranging from haiku to Emily Dickinson) at the Oregon Composers Forum. If spring’s arrival is making you feel a little, y’know, horny, check out the Northwest Horn Symposium concerts at the UO music school April 23-25. And on April 26, Beall will ring to music by J.S. Bach, Brahms and more, including a piece written by one of today’s most respected composers, Frederic Rzewski, for flutist Molly Barth, who’ll be accompanied by fellow UO prof David Riley.
Present and former UO music profs fill the ranks of Chamber Music Amici, who perform a varied program of some of Beethoven’s most winning chamber music — one of his too-seldom heard cello sonatas, the charming clarinet trio, and his Mozartean Piano and Winds Quintet — on Monday, April 19, at their home at Springfield’s Wildish Theater. For more tasty intimate sounds, enhanced by treats, head over to Cottage Grove’s Cottage Theatre on April 26 for the Oregon Mozart Players’ Chamber Music & Chocolate, featuring music by Mozart, Haydn, Granados and — cool! — two actual living composers, violin whiz and increasingly persuasive composer Mark O’Connor (his poignant and popular “Appalachia Waltz”) and Eugene’s own Dale Bradley.
A surprising surge of world music tumbles through town this month. Cozmic Pizza hosts Botswana’s 10-member Maru-a-Pula Marimba Band on April 26. The pulsating, danceable concert of various African (traditional and contemporary) sounds benefits AIDS orphan scholarships. For a more modern take on African sounds, check out one of the best world music shows of the season: the funk-meets-highlife-infused Chicago Afrobeat Project with Portland’s excellent 11-member Afropop ensemble Jujuba on April 20 at the WOW Hall. And for a spicy taste of what happens when African music goes to Brazil and then to laid back surfer haven Santa Cruz, head to Sam Bond’s on April 15 to hear SambaDá’s propulsive, danceable hybrid of bloco afro (Afro-Brazilian percussion music), samba-reggae, surf-rock and funk that even won fans when they took it back home to Sao Paulo and the countryside.
On April 15, L.A. composer and oud master Yuval Ron’s multiculti ensemble, augmented by guest dancers, plays Hebrew, Sufi and Armenian sacred music; they’re also involved in a number of pro-peace and diversity workshops and activities during their visit. On April 23, Harmony Roadhouse brings yet another recommended Indian music concert, with Brandon McIntosh playing ragas on the beautiful sarod zither and Sunny Matharu on tabla. On April 18, Todd Johnson blows the Australian didjeridu at Tsunami Books. And on April 24, Gamelan Sari Pandhawa performs some of the planet’s most beautiful sounds, gamelan music played on bronze gongs, mallet-struck keyboards and other melodic percussion instruments from Java, in a benefit for Butsugenji Temple.