Oregon Symphony: Notations

Every musician’s story has a beginning. That first note, that first instrument, that first song. It is unique to the artist, often inspired by their heritage, personal history, and journey in life.

Over the course of Notations, Oregon Symphony’s latest digital series, you will experience the deep connection between musical expression and culture through the lens of five local musicians whose stories are poignantly shaped by music. The cultural landscape of America is rich and complex, and through these featured artists, Notations will examine how personal histories inspire creative work.

Each featured artist will share the unique cultural background that has influenced their music, with each episode culminating in a musical performance.

Notations’ five episodes will feature the following musical artists:

  1. M. Ward: A prolific folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist, M. Ward explores his family’s immigration story from Mexico, celebrating his forgotten Mexican-American roots through a memorable musical performance.
  2. Keiko Araki: An Oregon Symphony violinist, Keiko Araki shares her experience growing up in Canada and exploring her dual Japanese and Chinese heritage, which deeply shaped her evolution into a violinist for a leading orchestra.
  3. Andy Akiho: An avant-garde percussionist and composer, Andy Akiho’s musical style has been shaped by the exploration of his Japanese heritage. Andy will perform one of the first songs he ever wrote, and share more about the surroundings that influenced his music.
  4. Inés Volgar Belgique: With an immigration story that spans Eastern Europe, Venezuela and finally Portland, Inés Volgar Belgique’s music has always been deeply tied to place. Currently an Oregon Symphony violinist, Inés dedicates a song to her childhood memories in Venezuela.
  5. Darrell Grant: A prolific member of the Portland jazz scene, Darrell Grant explores his story of first arriving in Portland and the impact gentrification has had on Jazz in Portland and the Black community.

Notations, the new digital series from the Oregon Symphony, began July 29. Learn more at

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