Angela Allen

CMNW: Kenji Bunch takes flight

The new "Vesper Flight" is inspired by the soar of Vaux swifts, who alight in Portland every year.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch July 2021

Reasons abound to feel at home with Kenji Bunch’s high-flying new work, Vesper Flight for Flute and Piano, that premiered July 10 and July 11 to a rapt Chamber Music Northwest audience at Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium. Read More

At CMNW, an ever-flowing ‘Spring’

The chamber music festival's brilliant version of "Appalachian Spring" will also be available to view from home.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch July 2021

Orchestra maestro Leonard Slatkin tells a story about Appalachian Spring and its composer Aaron Copland, who was deep in the throes of Alzheimer’s in 1987. Read More

Colors go out in the world: ‘Frida’, reviewed

Portland Opera's summer show is fresh and flashy, with sex, angst & art propelling it into contemporary times.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch June 2021

Despite its three-decade lifespan, Frida remains fresh and flashy. Plenty of sex, angst and art (and a little pot) propel it into contemporary times. Read More

Portland Opera’s bold new season

As audiences emerge tentatively from Covid, the Opera roars out of seclusion with big changes – and a little something for everyone

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch May 2021

If you watched the moving Journeys to Justice concert, streaming through May 31, you can see that the 56-year-old Portland Opera’s evolution is taking root in a more inclusive philosophy and broader repertoire. The six-piece program of Black-experience songs and chamber operas, sung by PO’s Resident Artists, all performers of color, is a major step into a broader opera world. Read More

Songs of Love and Justice

New Portland Opera production celebrates Black composers

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch April 2021

When Portland Opera singers and staff began to discuss Journeys to Justice, a 75-minute program of art songs and opera about the American Black experience, they pleaded with Damien Geter to add to the list his “The Talk: Instructions for Black Children When They Interact with Police.” Read More

Bending genres to the world’s shape

"Classical music remains racist," composer DBR declares. His vital music breathes the air of Prince, hip-hop, Rosa Parks and Nina Simone.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch August 2020

In the heatwave of the Black Lives Matter movement and the thirst to hear new multicultural classical music, composer Daniel Bernard Roumain is a force to be reckoned with. Read More

A hearty encore for David Shifrin

After 40 years, the clarinetist supreme retires as director of Chamber Music Northwest. His colleagues give him a round of applause.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch August 2020

Even the most ardent classical-music enthusiasts may not know several details about celebrated clarinetist David Shifrin, who retired this summer after 40 years as artistic director of Portland’s Chamber Music Northwest. Read More

Her Own Wings, The Williamette Valley Chamber Music Festival

Flights of music from a barrel room

Composer Gabriela Lena Frank and the musicians of Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival create an album in the J. Christopher cellars

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch August 2020

On a bone-chilling March day in 2018, Gabriela Lena Frank flew in from her Northern California farm to rehearse with Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival members. Bundled up in fleece and flannel, the group descended into the barrel room at J. Christopher Wines in Newberg, Oregon, a place they’d inhabited in summer 2017 with Frank as composer-in-residence and the string players bringing her music to life. Read More

Chamber music and a virtual toast

Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival, known for blending sounds and wine, pops the cork on its fifth vintage – this time, via streaming

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch August 2020

Minus the barrel room and live applause, members of Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival will play music for three August weekends at three stellar wineries (J. Christopher Wines, Archery Summit Winery and Sokol Blosser Winery) beginning Saturday, Aug. 8. Though you’ll have to savor the vintages at home in front of your computer, it’s a small sacrifice for these dedicated musicians’ performances. Read More