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The Concert Hall host John Pitman Photo by Christine Dong

Summer Shakespeare Series on The Concert Hall

Spend your Midsummer nights with All Classical Portland host John Pitman and William Shakespeare! Inspired by the resurgence of live Shakespeare in Portland’s parks and around Oregon, John is shining a spotlight on music inspired by The Bard on The Concert Hall this summer.

Enjoy music from and inspired by the legendary works of Shakespeare, as well as readings from his classic plays and sonnets by Dame Judi Dench, Sir John Gielgud, and more. 

Join us Saturdays at 7:00 PM PT (through Labor Day 2022) for The Concert Hall‘s Summer Shakespeare Series! Tune in at 89.9 FM in Portland or anywhere in the world via the live player on our website.

“Shakespeare has had an enormous influence on composers for centuries, especially since the 19th century with Tchaikovsky and Berlioz, and in in the 20th century with the evocative scores of William Walton, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Prokofiev.  Each Saturday in July – and the first Saturday in August – I am thrilled to share all manner of classical works inspired by The Bard. If music be the food of love, play on!”

John Pitman

The Concert Hall’s 2022 Summer Shakespeare Series

Past Programs

  • July 9, 2022 – Felix Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture and complete incidental music, featuring Dame Judi Dench reading passages from the play. Soprano Kathleen Battle, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Chorus are led by Seiji Ozawa.
  • July 16, 2022 – Hector Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette (Dramatic Symphony after Shakespeare)

    A wonderful and recent recording featuring the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, directed by Michael Tilson Thomas. With vocal soloists including Sasha Cooke, Nicholas Phan, and Luca Pisaroni. PLUS, an aria from Gounod’s opera, Roméo et Juliette, and three dances from Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet ballet.

  • July 23, 2022 – William Walton: Henry V – A Shakespeare Scenario

    Summer Shakespeare Series…At the Cinema! Actor Christopher Plummer reads key passages from Shakespeare’s play about the young English king who leads his “band of brothers” to the “vasty fields of France” at Agincourt. Then on the lighter side, Arthur Sullivan’s incidental music to Shakespeare’s play, Henry VIII, Joseph Joachim’s overture to Henry IV, and Walton’s music to As You Like It.

  • July 30, 2022 – To Be or Not to Be…

    Enjoy another of William Walton’s scores for Laurence Olivier’s film adaptation of Hamlet. Sir John Gielgud reads the famous soliloquy, and other passages with Walton’s music. Plus, Franz Liszt’s tone poem inspired by Hamlet, and to lighten the mood, Purcell’s music for Timon of Athens.

  • Saturday, August 6 – The Winter of Our Discontent…

    A film score by William Walton for Shakespeare’s Richard III. Sir John Gielgud reads passages from Shakespeare’s play about the scheming English monarch, to Walton’s score which matches the pomp, and the darkness depicted in the play. Plus, great composers inspired by Shakespeare, including Vaughan William’s original version of his Serenade to Music (after The Merchant of Venice), Roger Quilter’s suite As You Like It, Korngold’s suite Much Ado About Nothing, and more.

The Concert Hall airs weekly on Saturdays at 7:00 PM PT. Host John Pitman shares curated programs featuring the world’s finest orchestras and ensembles, drawing from decades of experience and thousands of world-class recordings.

Join us at 89.9 FM in Portland or worldwide through our our website’s player.

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