Fall into the Arts 2022

Fall into the arts 2022

All Classical Portland’s Fall into the Arts is back for 2022! Join us on the radio Thursdays at 7:00 PM PT this autumn.

Our seven-part radio festival features fantastic recent performances from our local musical community, curated by your favorite All Classical Portland hosts.

Enjoy an encore broadcast of each episode on Sunday at 4:00 PM PT. Episodes will also be available in our Audio Archive for two weeks after their initial broadcast date.

Read on for more details about each episode. We hope you’ll tune in and join us at 89.9 FM in Portland or worldwide at allclassical.org.

Fall into the Arts 2022 is generously sponsored by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, OR.


Fall into the Arts 2022


PAST EPISODES

Episode 1 | September 29
Hosted by Christa Wessel

Artist in Residence Recital
Pianist María García & double bassist Maggie Carter

Program details

  • 2022 Artist in Residence María García, piano
  • 2022 Young Artist in Residence Maggie Carter, double bass

Performed by María García:

Mélanie Bonis (1858-1937): “Desdémona” from Femmes de légende (Women of legend)

French composer Mélanie Hélène Bonis wrote over 300 works during her lifetime, including pieces for chamber ensemble, piano, organ, choir, solo voice, and orchestra. Bonis studied under César Franck at the Paris Conservatoire alongside Claude Debussy and Gabriel Pierné. Knowing full well the challenges facing women in achieving recognition as a composer, Bonis chose to publish her works under the gender-neutral pseudonym “Mel Bonis.”

Femmes de légende (Women of legend) is a collection of seven piano pieces named after women, historical and allegorical, whose fates became legends, including Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, Desdémona. These seven works were published over fifteen years with no intention by the composer of combining them into a collection. It wasn’t until 2003 that the publisher Furore compiled the thematically related works.


Enrique Granados (1867-1916): “El Amor y la Muerte” (“Love and Death”) from Goyescas

Despite his international acclaim today, Catalonian composer and concert pianist Enrique Granados established surprisingly little notoriety outside Barcelona during his lifetime. Granados wrote over 140 pieces for orchestra, chamber ensemble, piano, voice, and stage. However, he was perhaps better known for his improvisations as a concert pianist. He was notorious for how performances of his music differed from his printed scores.  

The piano suite, Goyescas (meaning “Goya-esque”), is the composer’s best-known musical work. First performed as a complete set in 1912, Goyescas was inspired by the artwork of Spanish painter Francisco Goya and his ability to capture the essence of Spanish character. The ballade, “El Amor y la Muerte” (“Love and Death”), references Goya’s etching of the same title from Los Caprichos. The haunting image portrays a woman holding her dying lover in her arms, looking distressed and mournful. Granados noted, “All the themes of Goyescas are united in ‘El Amor y la Muerte’ … intense pain, nostalgic love, and the final tragedy – death.”


Marianna Martines (1744-1812): Sonata in G Major

A contemporary of Mozart and Haydn, Marianna Martines (also known as Marianne von Martinez) was an Austrian composer, keyboardist, and singer. Her career trajectory was unprecedented for a woman at the time because she could financially support her family from composition and teaching without court patronage. Martines wrote oratorios, masses, choral works, cantatas, and works for orchestra and keyboard, the earliest dating from when she was a teenager. In 1773, she became the first female composer to be admitted to the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna, a highly regarded society of musicians and composers.

Sonata in G Major was written for harpsichord in 1769. The three movements of the piece beautifully demonstrate the ideals of music from Classical-era Vienna. As a whole, the work showcases the composer’s mastery of the genre’s elegance, approachability, and sense of balance.


Johanny Navarro (b. 1992): Son a Papá

Puerto Rican composer Johanny Navarro is quickly becoming an internationally renowned musical force. Despite her young age, Navarro has already established an expansive catalog of works rooted in Afro-Caribbean musical traditions. As of 2022, Navarro’s oeuvre consists of orchestral works, chamber music, opera, and pieces for choir, solo voice, and solo instrument. She is currently a resident artist at the American Lyric Theater in New York. Her most recent opera, ¿Y los pasteles?, Ópera Jíbara en dos actos (“And the cakes? Jíbara Opera in two acts”), awarded the composer the 2020 Discovery Grant from Opera Grants for Female Composers by Opera America.   

Primarily drawn to writing for ensembles and stage, Son a papá (“Son to dad”) is currently Navarro’s only piece for solo piano and offers a fascinating insight into the composer’s exploration of the intimacy of the genre. The work was published in 2017 and has already been featured on a recording by pianist Daniela Santos.


Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000): Sonatina in g minor

Composer and pianist Carlos Guastavino was a significant figure for 20th Century Argentinian music. He came of age amid a robust push towards nationalism in Latin America which undoubtedly influenced his musical voice. Guastavino’s prolific career amassed several hundred works, the best known being his art songs, piano works, and chamber music. The sheer number of art songs alone has prompted admirers to call Guastavino “The Argentine Schubert” or “The Schubert of the Pampas.”    

Written in 1945, Guastavino’s Sonatina in g minor is among the composer’s earliest works. The sonatina is considered to be a study for his 1947 Piano Sonata in c-sharp minor and provides a glimpse into the early days of Guastavino’s musical development. The piece is firmly rooted in Western classical traditions, offering impressionistic influence from Debussy and Ravel, with the exception of the highly syncopated rhythms in the third movement.  


Performed by Maggie Carter:

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Cello Suite No.2 in d minor, BWV 1008 – Prelude

Today, Johann Sebastian Bach is celebrated as one of the most influential and significant composers of all time despite never having left his native Germany. During his lifetime, Bach held positions as a singer, violinist, organist, and music director while producing an astounding catalog of musical works.  

In 1717, Bach accepted a music director position at the court of Anhalt-Köthen. During this particular post, Bach wrote many of his most beloved chamber music pieces, including his six suites for unaccompanied cello. While these suites have become pinnacles of music repertoire, at the time, Bach was transcending convention in being the first, or at least among the first, to write music for unaccompanied cello. Previously, the cello was confined to playing the bass line in instrumental ensembles. It didn’t take long for musicians to recognize the extraordinary importance of these suites and arrange them for other instruments, with double bass being among the most popular.

Cello Suite No. 2 in d minor follows the precedent set by the first suite in elaborating on six dance forms in a sequence familiar to listeners of 18th century Europe. The “prelude” has a tradition of sounding improvisational and sets the tone for the suite as a whole.


Frank Proto (b. 1941): A Carmen Fantasy for Double Bass and Piano – Prelude & Aragonaise

(Accompanied by María García)

American composer and bassist Frank Proto is a pioneer of American bass repertoire. Largely self-taught, Proto was dissatisfied with the lack of contemporary pieces available for double bassists and endeavored to help fill the gap. He subsequently spent three decades as a double bassist and composer-in-residence with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where he premiered over 20 large works and countless smaller pieces and arrangements.

Proto wrote his Carmen Fantasy for Double Bass and Piano in 1991 as a surprise for Syrian/French bass virtuoso François Rabbath. The work premiered at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music to much acclaim, leading to calls for the piece to be orchestrated (it later was). In this piece, Proto arranged material drawn from Bizet’s opera, Carmen, including the Aragonaise, the Toreador Song, the Bohemian Dance, and Micaëla’s Act II aria. The prelude, on the other hand, is original and serves as an overture to the suite.


Adolf Míšek (1875-1955): Sonata No. 2 in e minor, Op. 6 – 1st Movement

(Accompanied by María García)

Adolf Míšek was a Czech composer, conductor, pedagogue, and double bassist who spent much of his professional career living in Vienna and then Prague. The music of Bohemian composers such as Dvořák and Smetana influenced Míšek as an emerging composer, though he eventually honed his own unique way of blending Romanticism with Czech folk idioms. While Míšek is best known for his works for double bass, he also wrote chamber music and art songs. He strove to create a more exciting and varied repertoire for double bassists in his composing.

Sonata No. 2 in e minor for double bass and piano was published in 1911 and exhibits the composer’s deep knowledge and mastery of the string instrument. The first movement, “Con fuoco,” reveals the influence of Brahms and other late-Romantic voices as well as the music heard in Viennese dance halls, an aesthetic Míšek indeed would have known well at this point in his life.


Episode 2 | October 6
Hosted by John Pitman

Performances by:

  • Eugene Symphony Orchestra
  • Mt. Angel Abbey Bach Festival
  • Oregon Repertory Singers
  • Portland Chamber Orchestra

Program details

Performed by Eugene Symphony Orchestra:

Libby Larsen (b. 1950): Deep Summer Music

Libby Larsen is one of America’s most performed living composers. Larsen has written over 500 works spanning every classical genre, from large-scale orchestral works and opera to art songs and chamber music. As an advocate for promoting the work of living composers and musicians, Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum in 1973 (now known as the American Composer’s Forum). 

Deep Summer Music, a tone poem for full orchestra, premiered in 1982 with the Minnesota Orchestra under the baton of Joseph Giunta. Larsen wrote the following about the piece:

“On the plains, one cannot help but be affected by the sweep of the horizon and depth of color as the eye adjusts from the nearest to the farthest view. The glory of this phenomenon is particularly evident at harvest time, in the deep summer, when acres of ripened wheat, sunflowers, corn, rye, and oats blaze with color. In the deep summer, winds create wave after wave of harvest ripeness which, when beheld by the human eye, creates a kind of emotional peace and awe: a feeling of abundance combined with the knowledge that his abundance is only as bountiful as nature will allow.”


Performed by Mt. Angel Abbey Bach Festival:

Robert Schumann (1810-1856): Piano Trio No. 1 in d minor, Op. 63 – 1st Movement

German composer Robert Schumann is perhaps as infamous for his music as he is for his tragic demise. His sensitivity and introspectiveness make him a quintessential Romantic figure, while his substantial catalog of stunning repertoire has proven to be perpetually captivating for the listener. Best known for his piano music, Lieder, and orchestral music, Schumann only became inspired to write chamber music later in his career. Interestingly, most of these chamber pieces were created within a relatively short period of time, during a burst of creative energy.   

Written in 1847 amid this creative outpouring, Schumann’s first trio for piano, violin, and cello was conceived and written down in just two weeks. The first movement, “Mit Energie und Leidenschaft” (with energy and passion), takes on a restless quality amid brooding, romantic textures. The writing for this modest-sized ensemble seems to take on a larger existence as the music swells and declines.


Performed by the Oregon Repertory Singers:

Matthew Lyon Hazzard (b. 1989): The Ocean Between Us

Filipino-American composer, conductor, singer, and educator Matthew Lyon Hazzard is making waves with his acclaimed choral music. While still early in his career, Hazzard has earned numerous accolades, and his music is increasingly performed by collegiate and professional choirs worldwide. He is currently pursuing his D.M.A in choral conducting at the University of Houston Moores School of Music. 

The Ocean Between Us encompasses three pieces for choir, piano, strings, and crystal wine glasses. Born out of grief, the piece explores life after the storm with songs of joy, sorrow, and renewal. The work began with Jonathan Talberg’s Ocean Poems, written in response to the grief of his father’s passing. One week later, Hazzard’s own father passed away. The following months offered an opportunity for healing through music. The Ocean Between Us premiered in 2018 and was performed by the California State University – Long Beach Bob Cole Conservatory Chamber Choir.


Performed by Portland Chamber Orchestra:

Daniel Freiberg (b. 1957): Northern Journey, “Suite for Orchestra in Three Movements” (American Premiere)

Originally from Buenos Aires, Daniel Freiberg is a New York-based composer, arranger, pianist, and music producer. Freiberg has crafted an eclectic and unique musical voice through his studies in jazz arranging, film scoring, and classical orchestration paired with his Latin American roots. In addition to his independent musical commissions, Freiberg is an active film and TV composer writing for HBO, Netflix, Summit Entertainment-Lions Gate, and many others.

Northern Journey is a musical voyage originating in the composer’s native Argentina that gradually moves towards its destination, New York. The piece is autobiographical in that it reflects on the composer’s rich and diverse influences as a Jew growing up in Latin America who emigrates to one of the greatest hubs for jazz music. Northern Journey premiered in 2017 under conductor Wayne Marshall with the Cologne Radio Orchestra of Germany. This recorded performance by Portland Chamber Orchestra under conductor Yaacov Bergman is the U.S. premiere of this work. 


Episode 3 | October 13
Hosted by Brandi Parisi

Performances by:

  • Cappella Romana
  • Portland Baroque Orchestra
  • Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival
  • Portland Youth Philharmonic

Program details

Performed by Cappella Romana:

Kurt Sander (b. 1969): “He Made the Moon”

Grammy-nominated composer Kurt Sander draws inspiration from the Eastern Orthodox Church and its rich musical traditions when creating his choral and instrumental works. Sander’s compositions have been performed in 14 countries and recorded by numerous professional ensembles worldwide. In addition to composing, Sander serves the next generation of musical voices as a Professor of Composition at Northern Kentucky University.

“He Made the Moon” is a lush, flowing anthem influenced by Slavic choral traditions. It was written as part of a multi-piece collaboration called Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation. In this project, six composers were tasked with creating a unique setting of a section of the Creation Psalm. “He Made the Moon” will be featured on Heaven and Earth, an album commissioned by the St. John of Damascus Society performed by Cappella Romana under the direction of John Michael Boyer. The album is set to release on October 14, 2022.


Performed by Portland Baroque Orchestra:

Johann Philipp Kirnberger* (1721-1783): Harpsichord Concerto in c minor

German composer Johann Philipp Kirnberger is best remembered for his work as a music theorist, though he also composed and even studied for a period under Johann Sebastian Bach. Kirnberger’s mentorship under Bach would prove to be highly influential. The composer championed his great teacher in his theoretical work and sought to perpetuate Bach’s music and compositional technique for future generations. As a composer, Kirnberger wrote a respectable number of pieces for keyboard and chamber ensemble, as well as Lieder and sacred music.

Despite being a contemporary of Mozart and Haydn in his mature years, Kirnberger evokes the stylistic traditions of the past in his Harpsichord Concerto in c minor. Most pieces within his compositional oeuvre firmly cling to Bach’s conservative aesthetic. Interestingly, historians initially thought the harpsichord concerto belonged to Bach. The piece is speculated to have been written circa 1770, while Kirnberger worked as music director for the Prussian Princess Anna Amalia.

*Attributed


Performed by the Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival:

Reena Esmail (b. 1983): Zeher

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail blends the worlds of Indian and Western classical traditions in her music. Focusing her attention on orchestral, chamber, and choral works, Esmail has written music for several acclaimed ensembles, including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Seattle Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Kronos Quartet. She is currently the Artistic Director for Shastra, a non-profit organization promoting cross-cultural learning connecting the music traditions of India and the West.

Zeher (“Poison”) was written while Esmail was in the throes of an aggressive virus. The illness, the “poison,” made the composer feel voiceless and powerless. The piece explores Esmail’s debilitating experience and ends with neutralizing waves brought on by strings, evoking a sense of compassion and humanity for all those enduring their own journeys to health. Commissioned by Brooklyn Rider, Zeher premiered in 2018 and has been performed around the world ever since.


Performed by Portland Youth Philharmonic:

Polina Nazaykinskaya (b. 1987): Symphony No. 1, “April Song”

The music of Russian-born Polina Nazaykinskaya is quickly becoming a staple of classical repertoire throughout the U.S., Russia, and Europe. When creating a new piece, the composer frequently turns to tragic events in humanity’s collective history for inspiration. Nazaykinskaya is currently an Adjunct Lecturer of Composition at Brooklyn College Conservatory and a Teaching Artist at the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven.

Symphony No. 1, “April Song,” was written in 2017, and the Portland Youth Philharmonic performed the West Coast premiere in 2022 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Nazaykinskaya wrote the following about her first symphony:

“[Symphony No. 1] traces a journey of the human spirit in search of personal freedom, solace and eternal love. The trials and tribulations of doubt culminate in a struggle to find inner peace, as the illusion of happiness crumbles and a sense of direction is lost. Anticipation of a new dawn presses against the limits of despair. With the rebirth of nature after a dreadful winter’s spell, the inner doubts start to dissipate and open a pathway toward greater acceptance and gratitude. The spirit is able to break from the shackles of hopelessness and rise as the Phoenix from the ashes.”


Episode 4 | October 20
Hosted by Warren Black

Performances by:

  • Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra
  • Metropolitan Youth Symphony
  • Concerts at the Barn

Program details

Performed by Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra:

Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Petite Suite – En bateau & Cortège

The music of French composer Claude Debussy is so distinctive and evocative that the composer’s name alone is essentially synonymous with an entire musical period. Debussy is perhaps the best-known representation of Impression in music, even though the composer rejected the label. His substantial output includes orchestral works, ballets, piano pieces, art songs, and opera. In the words of music critic Alex Ross, “[Debussy’s] music is easy to love but hard to explain.” 

Petite Suite premiered in 1889 as a piano piece for four hands, featuring Debussy and his longtime friend, Jacques Durand. The first two movements of the work, “En bateau” (Sailing) and “Cortège” (Retinue), were inspired by poems from Paul Verlaine’s Fêtes galantes. Debussy was an ardent admirer of Verlaine’s words and set many of his poems to song. In Fêtes galantes, Verlaine depicts the aristocratic frivolity and exuberance portrayed in works by Fragonard and Watteau. “En bateau” is characterized by serenity and listlessness, while “Cortège” is playful and full of implication.

Petite Suite was later arranged for orchestra by Debussy’s colleague, Henri Büsser.


Performed by Concerts at the Barn:

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): Six Studies in English Folk Song

2022 is the perfect year to feature English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams as music lovers around the world celebrate the composer’s 150th birthday. Vaughan Williams’s long and prolific career earned him countless accolades and profound respect in England and beyond.

Around the turn of the century, still in the early stages of his career, Vaughan Williams was among the first composers to travel around the country collecting folk songs and transcribing them for future generations. Unsurprisingly, folk songs played a crucial role in the development of the composer’s musical voice. His compositional oeuvre heavily features these native tunes, sometimes in subtle ways, others in more obvious as seen in Six Studies in English Folk Song. These brief studies for cello and piano are not solely arrangements of English folk songs but rather elaborations on them. Written and dedicated to cellist May Mukle, Six Studies in English Folk Song premiered in 1926 as part of the English Folk Dance Society Festival.


Performed by Metropolitan Youth Symphony:

Koharu Sakiyama (b. 2004) & Laila Vickers (b. 2005): Untold Tales

Koharu Sakiyama has been composing since age five. Already the recipient of numerous musical accolades in her late teens, Sakiyama bolsters her compositional efforts by playing the violin, the Koto, and the alto saxophone. Laila Vickers is also making her mark on the Portland arts scene and has written award-winning poetry for several organizations and competitions. In addition to writing, Vickers is a dedicated actor.

These two local creative minds were brought together through a collaboration between the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and I Am M.O.R.E, a local youth-leadership development program that uses the power of personal storytelling, critical inquiry, and social-emotional skill-building to help Black youth. The goal of the collaboration was to offer an opportunity to showcase young regional artists and provide the infrastructure to bring their work to fruition.    

Untold Tales is a musical narrative for orchestra composed by Sakiyama with recited poetry written by Vickers. The poetry explores themes of identity, fate, and trials, and the music infuses a sense of hope for a better future, together creating a powerful overarching message. 


Performed by Concerts at the Barn:

Robert Beaser (b. 1954): Souvenirs – Lily Monroe, Spain, & Cindy Redux

Robert Beaser is an American musician at the forefront of his generation of composers. Beaser conducted his first orchestral work at 16, and in 1977, he became the youngest composer to win the Prix de Rome from the American Academy in Rome. Beaser’s music is regularly performed and commissioned in America and abroad. His compositional output encompasses works for orchestra, opera, chamber ensemble, choir, and piano. He currently serves as Artistic Director Laureate of the American Composers Orchestra and has been chair of the Composition department at Julliard since 1994.

Commissioned by the National Flute Association, Souvenirs for piccolo and piano premiered in 2002. The piece consists of six movements, each coming from distinct sources. Some movements are based on folk songs, while others are original. “Lily Monroe” comes from a North American folk song, and “Spain” is based on an obscure Spanish folk song called “The Four Mules.” “Cindy Redux,” based on an Appalachian folk tune, is an arrangement of a piece from the composer’s earlier work, Mountain Songs for flute and guitar.


Benj Pasek (b. 1985) & Justin Paul (b. 1985): “Waving Through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen

Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have been a collaborative tour de force for over 15 years. The duo has written songs for multiple acclaimed films, TV shows, and theatrical productions, including La La Land, The Greatest Showman, and the Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen.

Following the life of a teenage student struggling with social anxiety, Dear Evan Hansen tackles big topics around acceptance and loss as a teenager in modern society. “Waving Through a Window” serves as Evan’s power anthem. The protagonist feels disconnected from the world around him, trapped inside the structure society has built for people like him, and longs to be accepted for his true, authentic self.


Performed by Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra:

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): Symphony No. 2 in D Major – 3rd & 4th Movements

German composer Johannes Brahms was one of the leading influential figures of the Romantic period. Considered the third member of the “Three Bs” (the other two being J. S. Bach and Beethoven), Brahms’s popularity and mastery of many musical genres of the day cannot be overestimated. The composer remains highly respected for preserving the traditional compositional techniques of his predecessors while also innovating and advancing the Romantic idiom.

Despite achieving fame as a composer at a relatively young age, Brahms refused to write a symphony for decades, instead waiting until he felt confident enough in his abilities to tackle the genre. Brahms successfully found his symphonic flow in his mid-40s, producing not one but two symphonies within just a couple of years.

Completed in 1877, Symphony No. 2 in D Major provides the perfect counterpart to Brahms’s first symphony in its pastoral mood and orchestral warmth. Symphony No. 2 premiered in December 1877 with the Vienna Philharmonic under Hans Richter. The public immediately fell in love with the piece and even demanded a repeat of the joyful third movement.


Performed by Concerts at the Barn:

Elton John (b. 1947) & Bernie Taupin (b. 1950): “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”

Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s collaborative masterpiece, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” is considered to be among the greatest songs of all time. Referencing imagery from The Wizard of Oz, Taupin’s poetic lyrics are somewhat autobiographical in their desire to return to simplicity after experiencing the extravagance of fame. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was released in 1973 as the title track on Elton John’s album by the same name. The album skyrocketed the musical duo to legendary status, with the title song, in particular, resonating with audiences for its sense of grounding and relatability.


Episode 5 | October 27
Hosted by Andrea Murray

Performances by:

  • In Mulieribus
  • 45th Parallel Universe
  • Portland Opera
  • Newport Symphony Orchestra

Program details

Performed by In Mulieribus:

Sungji Hong (b. 1973): Missa Lumen de Lumine – Kyrie & Gloria

Sungji Hong is a Korean-American composer whose “utterly luminous” works for solo instruments, orchestra, chorus, ballet, and electroacoustic media have reached over 46 countries. Among her growing list of accolades, Hong was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In addition to her music commissions, Hong is an Assistant Professor of Music Composition at the University of North Texas. 

Missa Lumen de Lumine (“Light of Light”) is an a cappella piece for three female voices written for the Grammy-winning Norwegian vocal group Trio Mediaeval. Using a Roman Catholic Mass Ordinary setting, Hong evokes the florid sonorities of Medieval liturgical music while subtly integrating modern practices. In this piece, the listener is offered a stunning example of how past musical traditions might be presented in a contemporary setting. 


Performed by 45th Parallel Universe:

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912): Nonet in f minor, Op. 2 – 1st Movement

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was an English musician who had a thriving career as a composer, conductor, and educator. Coleridge-Taylor taught at Trinity College of Music and directed several choral societies, including the Handel Society of London. As a composer, he primarily wrote for orchestra and choral ensembles. Coleridge-Taylor was particularly adamant about uplifting the creative influence and dignity of people of African descent and regularly explored his own heritage through his music.

Nonet in f minor was composed while Coleridge-Taylor was still a student at the Royal College of Music. Although the piece is written for nine musicians, the composer’s writing makes the ensemble appear much more robust and more closely resembling an orchestra. Coleridge-Taylor was inspired by Dvořák when writing this early piece, whose influence is particularly evident in the first movement.


Performed by Portland Opera:

Anthony Davis (b. 1951) & Richard Wesley (b. 1945): Central Park Five – Act I, Scene 7 “Their Truth, Not Mine”

American composer Anthony Davis is not afraid to tackle issues related to social justice and race in his music, particularly in his operas. His music is a vehicle for experiencing raw political topics on a deeply emotional level. American playwright and screenwriter Richard Wesley has likewise been trailblazing in his field for decades. The recipient of numerous honors for his contributions to theater and screen, Wesley has become an essential voice for exploring the Black experience in America through art.

Central Park Five was conceived in 2014 with Wesley’s libretto. After completing the text, Wesley sought a composer to set his words to music, a call enthusiastically answered by Davis. The plot of the opera is based on the true story of five Black and Latino youths who were wrongly accused of assaulting and raping a woman jogging through Manhattan’s Central Park. While the case occurred in 1989, the opera employs modern political references that resonate deeply among audiences today. Infused with classical, jazz, and gospel elements, Davis’s score would go on to win the 2020 Pulitzer Price for Music.

In the final scene of Act I, “Their Truth, Not Mine,” the five protagonists of the opera are pressured to turn on each other in their confessions by the offer of freedom.


Performed by Newport Symphony Orchestra:

Ernest Bloch (1880-1959): Concerto Grosso No. 1

Ernest Bloch was a Swiss-born Jewish musician who became a naturalized American citizen and spent his later years as a resident of Oregon. As a composer, Bloch wrote an expansive and diverse range of pieces for voice, solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra, chorus, and opera. However, it was as an educator that Bloch made the most profound impact on the emerging generation of American composers.

While serving as Music Director at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Bloch created Concerto Grosso No. 1 as an example for his students. Many of the composer’s pupils felt that tonality was becoming obsolete, considering the Modernist trends of the time. Bloch wrote this neo-Baroque piece with both Romantic and Modernist elements as a response. In his concerto grosso, Bloch updated the Baroque tradition of including stylized dances in orchestral suites by using a folk dance from his native Switzerland.


Episode 6 | November 3
Hosted by Brandi Parisi

Performances by:

  • Beaverton Symphony Orchestra
  • Portland State University Chamber Choir
  • Fear No Music
  • Friends of Chamber Music

Program details

Performed by Beaverton Symphony Orchestra:

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924): La bohème “Si, Mi chiamano Mimì”

Italian composer Giacomo Puccini securely resides as one of the world’s most beloved and frequently performed writers of opera. His verismo portraits of relatable and realistic characters within a larger-than-life art form make his productions even more poignant and widely accessible. Based on the novel Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henry Murger, La bohème follows a group of Parisian Bohemian artists and a fateful encounter with a seamstress named Mimì on Christmas Eve. In one of the most famous meet-cutes in operatic history, Mimì introduces herself to her neighbor and new love interest, Rodolfo, in the Act I aria, “Si, Mi chiamano Mimì” (Yes, they call me Mimì”). Follow along with this English translation of the aria.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): Symphony No. 5 in e minor – 2nd Movement

Given the distinction of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s music among audiences around the globe, it might be surprising to learn that the Russian composer suffered from colossal self-doubt and insecurity. Only receiving the status of popularity he longed for in the final decade or so of his life, Tchaikovsky spent much of his career searching for recognition and approval. If only he could have foretold how prevalent his oeuvre of symphonic works, ballets, operas, concertos, and choral pieces would become for future concertgoers.

Symphony No. 5 in e minor perfectly encapsulates Tchaikovsky’s lifelong struggle for renown. He initially felt the symphony represented his best work to date. However, a few pieces of criticism quickly led the composer to cast off the work as a failure. The initial sketch of Symphony No. 5 included an accompanying program exploring man’s relationship with fate, which is depicted in the music through a distinctive opening theme that appears in later movements. The second movement, “Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza,” is characterized by a stirring horn solo, only to be interrupted by the recurring Fate theme. 


Performed by Portland State University Chamber Choir:

David Walters (b. unknown): A Voice is Heard in Ramah

Composer and conductor David Walters has Portlandian roots, earning both his MM and BM degrees at Portland State University. Walters previously held the position of Assistant Conductor for ISing Choir in Beaverton and served on its Board of Directors. The award-winning piece A Voice is Heard in Ramah tells the story of biblical matriarch Rachel and her seemingly eternal vigil for the loss of her children. The work is filled with grief and emotional depletion, drawing its text from the Books of Jeremiah and Matthew. This recording by Ethan Sperry and the Portland State University Chamber Choir is the world premiere of the work.

Ara Lee (b. unknown): Aho*

Ara Lee is an acclaimed Pacific Northwest-based singer, writer, and recording artist whose roots are built on the old hymnal spirituals of her Appalachian youth. Her powerful songs have been covered by artists and arranged for choirs throughout the world. Aho was written for Lee’s friend, Felipe Canete, to honor his life and passing and encompasses a musical outpouring of grief.

*Arranged for choir by Ethan Sperry

Bryan Johanson (b. 1951): Liquid Music

Portland native Bryan Johanson is a classical guitarist and composer whose oeuvre consists of symphonies, chamber works, song cycles, choral works, and solo pieces for guitar. Johanson wrote Liquid Music for the former conductor of the Portland State Chamber Choir from 1978-2006, Dr. Bruce Browne. Dr. Browne was particularly admired for bringing the ensemble to international prominence.

Veljo Tormis (1930-2017): Autumn Landscapes – Heather

Estonian composer Veljo Tormis wrote almost exclusively for voice in the form of songs, choral pieces, and works for the stage. Best known for his choral composing, Tormis led the revival of Estonian folksong and ancient song traditions among his native musical colleagues. Autumn Landscapes is a song cycle for unaccompanied choir consisting of seven settings of poems by Viivi Luik. Each movement depicts a particular atmospheric image of the season. The cycle is brought to a close by “Heather” – “Sad purple heather-bell frantically blazes, capturing aftermost flickering sunlight.”


Performed by Fear No Music:

Jiyoun Chung (b. 1982): Freestyle Battle

The music of composer and pianist Jiyoun Chung is gradually permeating the concert halls of Asia, Europe, and the United States. Known for her exploration of both Korean and Western concert music, Chung draws inspiration from East Asian culture, popular genres, and world traditional music. Consequently, her works speak to a broad range of audiences. Originally from South Korea, Chung currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Music at Central Washington University.

Freestyle Battle for clarinet, viola, cello, and piano is one of many representations of Chung’s exploration of popular culture through more traditional mediums. In this instance, Chung evokes the street culture of B-boy dancing to create a corresponding musical vocabulary reflecting the art form’s gestures, rhythms, and expressive physicality. Chung notes that “listeners will hear the musical reinterpretation and reimagination of the movements of breakdancing such as toprock, downrock, power moves, and freezes.”


Performed by The Jerusalem Quartet (presented by Friends of Chamber Music):

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): String Quartet in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3

German-born musical icon Ludwig van Beethoven has been such a constant source of study and inspiration for subsequent composers that he has nearly become synonymous with an entire art form. When the public thinks of classical music, chances are that Beethoven is one of the first, if not the first, names to come to mind. The composer ushered in the Romantic era through his deeply emotive and groundbreaking symphonies, chamber music, and piano pieces. Despite his historical depiction as a grumpy figure suffering from deafness later in life, in his music, Beethoven exposes a figure who is sensitive, passionate, and fascinated with unraveling the human condition.

Beethoven’s three “Razumovsky” string quartets, Op. 59, were written for Count Andrey Razumovsky, the Russian ambassador to Vienna. Each of the three works incorporates Russian influence to honor its dedicatee. For example, Beethoven composed a tune using a Russian idiom in the “Andante” movement of the third quartet. Interestingly, Beethoven wrote these string quartets the same year that his “Eroica” Symphony was published, and listeners can hear a similar heroic quality in these string quartets.



Episode 7 | November 10
Hosted by Lynnsay Maynard

Performances by:

  • Third Angle New Music
  • Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
  • Portland Symphonic Choir
  • Chamber Music Northwest

Program details

Performed by Third Angle New Music:

Reena Esmail (b. 1983): Jhula Jhule (with Interlude)

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail blends the worlds of Indian and Western classical traditions in her music. Focusing her attention on orchestral, chamber, and choral works, Esmail has written music for several acclaimed ensembles, including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Seattle Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Kronos Quartet. She is currently the Artistic Director for Shastra, a non-profit organization promoting cross-cultural learning connecting the music traditions of India and the West.

Looking to her own roots for inspiration, Esmail chose two folk melodies to incorporate into Jhula Juhle (“Back and forth”) that were initially introduced to the composer by her grandparents. Jhula Juhle is particularly special to Esmail because she was able to bring songs from the musical memories of her childhood into the Western concert hall. In this recording, the composer precedes the piece by singing the lullaby that her grandmother sang to her and helped inspire this piece. 


Performed by Vancouver Symphony Orchestra:

George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931): Rip Van Winkle Overture

New England native George Whitefield Chadwick was a composer, organist, and educator who, despite his relative anonymity today, played an integral role in developing an American classical music idiom unique from European traditions. Chadwick was a leading figure of the Second New England School, a group of composers from Boston and surrounding areas who made significant contributions to American music repertoire during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to composing, Chadwick is remembered for his post as the Director of New England Conservatory for over 30 years.

Chadwick wrote his concert overture, Rip Van Winkle, as his capstone piece for his studies at Leipzig Conservatory. Drawing inspiration from both Washington Irving’s famous tale and a popular play version of the story, Chadwick’s overture was well received at its premiere and helped solidify the composer’s career once he returned to the United States. The opening cello melody portrays the title character, whose musical narrative is then carried out in a rich blend of European and American influences and techniques.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912): Ballade in a minor, Op. 33

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was an English musician who had a thriving career as a composer, conductor, and educator. Coleridge-Taylor taught at Trinity College of Music and directed several choral societies, including the Handel Society of London. As a composer, he primarily wrote for orchestra and choral ensembles. Coleridge-Taylor was particularly adamant about uplifting the creative influence and dignity of people of African descent and regularly explored his own heritage through his music.

Ballade in a minor was written early in Coleridge-Taylor’s career, shortly after he finished his studies at the Royal College of Music. The piece was commissioned for the 1898 Three Choirs Festival upon the recommendation of Sir Edward Elgar, who noted: “[Coleridge-Taylor] is far and away the cleverest fellow going amongst the young men.” The orchestral piece reveals an emerging distinctive musical voice while still paying homage to the Romantic-era icons Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Dvorák.


Performed by Portland Symphonic Choir:

Kyle Pederson (b. 1971): “Can We Sing the Darkness to Light?”

Minneapolis-based composer, lyricist, pianist, and educator Kyle Pederson is best known for his contributions to choral repertoire. He enjoys working at the intersection of sacred and secular and evokes a greater sense of hope, grace, and compassion in his music. Through his accessible and highly evocative music, Pederson’s works have attracted the attention of All State/Honors choirs as well as youth, church, college, and professional choirs around the world.

“Can We Sing the Darkness to Light?” beautifully characterizes Pederson’s ethos in creating musical works. Having written both the music and text, Pederson said the following regarding the piece: “The text invites the listener to imagine a world without weapons or war–where the human experience is defined not through continued judgment of others, but through the lens of mercy and compassion.”


Performed by Chamber Music Northwest:

Anton Arensky (1861-1906): String Quartet No. 2 in a minor, Op. 35

Russian composer, pianist, and educator Anton Arensky developed his musical skills at an early age, composing several songs and piano works by the age of nine and becoming a Professor of Composition at the Moscow Conservatory at 21. During his time at the conservatory, Arensky grew close to renowned composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who advocated for the young professional. Arensky wrote opera, symphonic works, chamber music, and songs for piano, though his music would become overshadowed by his Russian contemporaries following his death.

Dedicated to the memory of Arensky’s mentor, Tchaikovsky, String Quartet No. 2 is an amalgam of Russian psalm tunes, folk melodies, and a theme and variations on one of Tchaikovsky’s own works from 16 Songs for Children. The piece’s second movement containing the Tchaikovsky variations has long outshone the others and is even commonly performed as a standalone work. Unusually, Arensky scored his string quartet for violin, viola, and two cellos to enhance a darker, more somber sonority, only befitting a musical memorial.



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Fall into the Arts was conceived during the first year of the pandemic, as a way to support our local arts organizations by sharing their best recordings to simulate the concert hall experience. In 2021, as venues slowly began to re-open, we continued the series in order to provide a concert hall experience for listeners not quite ready to venture out yet. Now, in it’s third year, Fall into the Arts is celebrating the rebound of our arts community, joyfully anticipating what our partners and colleagues have planned for their new and exciting performance seasons.

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