“Sweat” Lynn Nottage’s latest play reviewed by the New York Time
“Sweat” is being hailed as one of the best plays of the 2015 Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s season by many of the Chanticleer Inn’s guests and now the New York Times.
Tickets for “Sweat” are going fast, especially on weekends.
Britt Festivals commission composer Michael Gordon to capture the Crater Lake’s essence in sound.
By Bill Varble, for the Mail Tribune
Never mind the sound of one hand clapping. If Crater Lake were a symphony, what would it sound like? The question is no mere Zen koan. The Britt Music and Arts Festival has commissioned composer Michael Gordon to create a major musical work inspired by Oregon’s only national park.
Britt Music Director Teddy Abrams announced the ambitious project Saturday night at the last concert of Britt’s classical festival for 2015. The composition will have its world premiere the last weekend of July 2016 at the lake with the aim of connecting the iconic park’s unique vibe with an orchestra of 30 or 40 classical musicians performing live. Admission will be free.
The idea for a site-specific composition stemmed from Imagine Your Parks, a National Endowment for the Arts project celebrating the centennial of our nation’s national parks, a system that was created in August 1916. Britt officials have submitted a request for a matching grant of $100,000 to the NEA. The Neuman Hotel Group of Ashland has stepped up as the first major sponsor.
Michael Gordon, who lives in New York City, will make his first visit to the park this week when he and Abrams meet with park officials. He says the goal is to get a sense of the place.
“There’s a lot of sound in nature,” he says. “There’s rain and wind, thunder, birds, the rustling of leaves. But we push this stuff to the background and think about our walk or our drive.”
Abrams says the idea is to link the music specifically with the place.
“We want to use the actual park in the music as opposed to just having a concert there,” he says.
Famed for its beauty and its intensely blue water, Crater Lake was created nearly 7,000 years ago when so much material blew out of a half-million-year-old lava cone that the mountain collapsed, creating a caldera that filled with water from rain and snowmelt. It is the deepest lake in the United States and is noted for the purity of its water. It became a national park in 1902 only after a 17-year fight to preserve it led by William Gladstone Steel.
Michael Gordon is no stranger to translating famous places and our associations with them into structures of sound. In recent years he’s created major compositions based on New York City, Los Angeles and Beijing.
Over the last 25 years, he’s created music for a long list of major orchestras and high-energy ensembles.
In the past year or so alone, Gordon’s compositions have had world premieres performed by the Ensemble Modern, the Dublin Guitar Quartet and the New World Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.
Critic Alex Ross, writing in The New Yorker, said Gordon’s music combines “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz and the intransigence of classical modernism.”
Gordon says he plans to visit Crater Lake, where he will be artist-in-residence, often in the coming months.
“You have to live with it,” Abrams says.
Although it’s much too early to say, Gordon is thinking that the composition might have three sections, each dealing with a different aspect of nature at the park, such as trees, animals and ultimately the merging of environmental sound and music. He says he thinks of the results to come as a “symphonic tone poem.”
His compositions cast a wide net. “Dystopia,” his L.A. piece, begins with a lyrical and pensive movement and soon suggests out-of-control sprawl. “Gotham,” his New York City composition, begins with a musical evocation of the kind of quiet place New Yorkers search for as a respite from crowds and skyscrapers and traffic and city noises.
“It’s very personal, of course,” he says of creating a musical response to a place.
He’s not the first to do so, he adds, mentioning George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and Ferde Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite.”
He says the biggest hurdle in such an undertaking is finding a starting place.
“The first note is always the hardest,” Gordon says. “I usually sit around and stare off into space.”
Sometimes a musical theme will come to him in a dream.
“It’s always the greatest music I’ve ever heard,” he says. “The next day it’s never as good.”
Although the project is still in the conceptual stages, Britt officials say there will be at least two free performances at the park, perhaps with musicians dotting the landscape and playing here and there as visitors approach the site of the actual concert, which will be in full view of the lake.
Other plans include transporting veterans to the concert and possibly working with Southern Oregon University students to create a visual arts component.
Reach Medford freelance writer Bill Varble at email@example.com.
Daedalus Project — August 24, 2015
The Daedalus Project, in its 28th year, is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s annual ‘talent show’ event to raise money to end the spread of HIV/AIDS, and to remember and celebrate those who have died from this disease.
There are two events on August 24th. For the afternoon there’s a play reading and in the evening in the Elizabethan theater a variety show. Both promise to be entertaining and inspiring events.
Tickets for the Reading are $25. Tickets for the Variety Show are $30-35. To purchase tickets for the Variety Show online, click on August 24 on the calendar above; or call the Box Office at 800-219-8161. For the Play Reading, visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s webpage here here.
Catherine Coulson teaches a free class on OSF’s musical “Guys and Dolls”
Each year, a variety of OSF actors teach classes for the Siskiyou Center. Go to Siskiyou Center’s website to see the in-depth theater education programs and other free classes.
The classes are free of charge, but please call 541-482-0260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know if you are attending to arrange for the right amount of seating and refreshments.
Location: Ashland Springs Hotel, 212 E. Main Street
Date: May 9, 2015
2015 Ashland Farmers Market Opens
Always fun, the Ashland Farmers market, also called Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market, provides a wide selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables. As well as herbs, plants, soaps and crafts. Music and food booths add to the festive feel.
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the National Guard Armory on 1420 E. Main Street
Screech Owls! Great photo from KBO
These are the very same Screech Owl babies who were ‘disrupting’ the plays in the Elizabethan theater earlier in the season.
As soon as the music started up or actors started to say their lines, the owlets would join in. The audience could hear them in the ‘background’ [thankfully they weren’t miked] and it sounded like the sound system was having a problem.
When they were hungry and calling for food from their parent, they were even louder. There’s a reason they are called “Screech Owls”!
Now that they are fully fledged (as you can see by the picture) and learning to hunt for themselves, it’s been much quieter in the theater.
This photo comes from Klamath Bird Observatory Facebook page.
Applegate Lavender Tour Festival, 2014
The Applegate lavender tour comprised of farms and nurseries will be inviting the public to visit, pick, and buy lavender-based products while their lavender is in bloom. Some farms are not open to the public at any other time in the year.
Tour the lavender farms and nurseries to enjoy the beauty and scents of lavender; enjoy the journey as you travel through Oregon’s pastoral countryside to each destination.
Each location has different activities arranged for the festival, ranging from lavender bouquet cutting to mini-festivals with music, food, and vendors, so be sure to visit the Lavender-festival page to help you decide which locations to visit. Entry to each location is free.
Mountain Bird Festival hosted by the Klamath Bird Observatory
Ashland, Oregon, May 30 through June 1, 2014
Mountain Bird festival offers 3 days of guided bird walks and keynote presentations with half-day and full-day field trips both Saturday and Sunday.
Klamath Bird Observatory will host this community conservation event in the spring of 2014 in Ashland, Oregon. The festival combines a celebration of nature with the stewardship ethic needed to ensure thriving landscapes for humans and wildlife. Every person who participates in this festival will become a significant steward of the science that drives bird conservation.
Extend your stay and enjoy more of Ashland and its surrounds: wineries, theaters, hiking, art galleries, restaurants.
Follow this link for more information on the Klamath Bird Observatory’s Mountain Bird Festival.
The mountain birds of interest migrate through the Siskiyou and Cascade mountains, many viewing areas are easy driving distance from the town of Ashland, Oregon. The ‘target’ list includes: Redhead, Common Merganser, Mountain Quail, nesting Sandhill Cranes, nesting Osprey, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, dancing Western and Clark’s Grebes, Wilson’s Snipe, Black Terns, Great Gray Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Vaux’s Swift, Calliope Hummingbird, Prairie Falcon, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, White-headed Woodpecker, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Cassin’s Vireo, Mountain Chickadee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Townsend’s Solitaire, Mountain Bluebird, Hermit Warbler, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Green-tailed Towhee, Vesper Sparrow, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Lazuli Bunting.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival opening night is nearly upon us!
Already? YES, indeed! Attend any and all of the 2014 opening Shakespeare Festival plays and celebrate Valentine’s Day with drama, music and wit.
Friday, February 14th, the Tempest Directed by Tony Taccone, Prospero played by Denis Arndt.
February 15th, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window Directed by Juliette Carrillo, written by Lorraine Hansberry (her ‘other’ more well known play is Raisin in the Sun)
February 16th opens the much awaited Marx Brother’s adaptation of The Cocoanuts Directed by David Ivers, Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin, Book by Georges S. Kaufman and adapted by OSF’s very own Mark Bedard.