Chamber Music to Premiere at Reed

Chamber Music Northwest brings new work and venerable classics to Kaul Auditorium.

Katie Pelletier ’03 | May 24, 2018

Did you know that Portland institution Chamber Music Northwest (CMNW) has been holding summer concerts at Reed since 1973? This summer, Kaul Auditorium will once again resound with world-class instrumental performances during CMNW’s Summer Festival 2018. The five week series will feature a variety of musical styles from classic to contemporary, American to world, in an environment that is "approachable, accessible, and affordable." Festival programming includes world premieres, pre-concert picnics, musical conversations before concerts, free open rehearsals, and even an “instrument petting zoo.” The series kicks off on June 25 with the Opus One Quartet playing works by Mozart, Fauré, and Roberto Sierra.

CMNW was founded as Portland Summer Concerts and began holding concerts at Reed when PSU’s Lincoln Hall was being renovated. It was then that the series was expanded from six concerts to a five week series with 15 concerts total. Performances were initially held in commons. "Our patrons fondly remember sweating in the non-air conditioned commons, seated on cushions watching concerts!" says Rachael Smith, Marketing Director at CMNW. The college has has been a CMNW venue ever since, barring the summers of 1996 and 1997 while Kaul Auditorium—a 760-seat venue with acoustics particularly well suited to chamber music—was being built.

Now in its 48th season, CMNW brings musicians from near and far, producing repertoire that ranges through chamber music’s 500-year history including perennial favorites, forgotten gems, and more. Concerts are hosted at Reed on Monday, Thursday, and Saturdays, PSU on Tuesdays and Sundays, and the Alberta Rose Theatre on Wednesdays during the Summer Festival.

This year, performances will explore the work of Mozart and Dvorak, French composers like Dubois and Franck, and musical periods classic, romantic, and modern. On July 5, Jeff Scott’s “Passion for Bach and Coltrane” delves into the work of these two composers at their height and asks, “what if J.S. Bach and John Coltrane might chance to meet?”

CMNW commissions four to six new works annually, several of which will debut this summer. Shotgun Houses for clarinet and string quartet by Valerie Coleman about the life of Muhammad Ali premieres on July 7 in Kaul Auditorium alongside the premiere of Jeff Scott’s fantasy on rock favorites from the year 1967, and new arrangements of jazz classics like The Girl from Ipanema and Take the “A” Train.

For tickets and more information about what all the Summer Festival has to offer, see CMNW’s website. Also take note: tickets for people ages 7-25 are only $10, and people 26-35 are only $20!

Tags: Performing Arts