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Music

The Britt Commissions Composer Michael Gordon


Britt Festivals commission composer Michael Gordon to capture the Crater Lake’s essence in sound.

By Bill Varble, for the Mail Tribune

Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon to capture Crater Lake in Sound

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 varble.bill@gmail.com.

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St. Claire Productions presents: Josh Feinberg sitar and Ravi Albright tabla


Josh feinberg sitar

Josh Feinberg

Josh Feinberg sitar, with Ravi Albright, tabla traditional Indian ragas

Come and enjoy an evening of traditional Indian ragas with Feinberg and Albright this Saturday.

More about Josh Feinberg sitar and more about Ravi Albright tabla

Saturday, February 7, 2015 8pm
Tickets: $20/advance, $22/door, $10/teens 12–17,
children under 12 are free with paying adult.
Unitarian Fellowship, 4th and C Streets, Ashland

Often in the off-season the Chanticleer Inn B&B donates room(s) to Ariella St. Claire Production musicians. This coming weekend, we will be hosting Josh and Ravi.

 

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Mystic Treats Restaurant


Pizza and Salad at Mystic Treats Restaurant

After a day rafting on the Rogue river, we went for pizza at Mystic Treats, a newish restaurant on Ashland St. near Rite Aid.  Mystic Treats has a diverse menu of unusual pizza selections.  If none of those works for you, then you can assemble your own.  Never being one to pass over smoked salmon, we selected to share the Jeremiah Johnson pizza and had our own side salads.  It was tasty and if I’m in the mood for pizza and happen to in that part of town it’s THE place to go.

It was our good fortune that Mystic Treats had live music tonight.  Maurice Woodard was playing some blues and jazz with Lucy accompanying.   Most of the time, as Maurice’s service dog, Lucy quietly snoozes. But she has a special number in which she’s does a duet with Maurice.  The link below is a video of part of their act.

Maurice and Lucy

 

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Backwards In High Heels” Oregon Cabaret Theatre Sept — Nov


Oregon Cabaret Theatre presents “Backwards In High Heels” Sept – Nov

Backwards in High Heels

Backwards in High Heels

A striking show about Rogue Valley’s very own former resident Ginger Rogers who famously said that she did everything Fred Astaire did but “backwards and in high heels”.
Best known for her partnership with Fred Astaire, Ginger had a successful Hollywood career including dramatic roles as well. The show follows her from her teen years in vaudeville to her Oscar win for 1940 film Kittly Foyle.
Backwards In High Heels combines cherished standards with new original songs, a compelling play, and many stunning dance sequences to tell Ginger’s fascinating story.

Oregon Cabaret Theatre hits the spot if you’re looking for fun, and talented entertainment.  One of Ashland’s performing arts venues that have shows on Monday nights!
September 12 – November 9
Previews September 10 & 11
Performances Thursday – Monday @ 8:00
(No performance on October 31)
Sunday Brunch matinees @ 1:00
For more information visit their website

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Island Night in Ashland Oregon


Island Night, a Tropical Party at Daniel Meyer Pool

Island Night

Island Night in Ashland

Aloha!  Come to a tropical island themed pool party — “Island Night: An Aloha State of Mind”.

Saturday, July 19, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Daniel Meyer Pool! 

Enjoy Hawaiian music and dancing and fun activities for all ages!

A free community Hula dance workshop will be offered for anyone wanting to learn the beautiful moves of Hawaiian dance.

Daniel Meyer Pool, a division of Ashland Parks & Recreation, is an outdoor facility located in Hunter Park at 1705 Homes Ave in Ashland.

The pool will be open through September, 6, 2014. The pool offers Starfish Aquatics Institute (SAI)® swim lessons, private lessons, swim team camps and Starguard® lifeguard certification. View complete information on pool activities and classes.  The pool can be reached directly at 541.488.0313.

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Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, June — Aug


Ain’t Misbehavin’ June 6 – August 31

Ain't Misbehavin'

Ain’t Misbehavin’

In Ain’t Misbehavin’, the soul of 1930s Harlem is captured in this finger-snapping and toe tapping revue. Thomas “Fats” Waller was an iconic musical force, known for his exuberant personality, energetic stride-piano playing, infectious humor and jumping beat.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ evokes his good-time joie-de-vivre as a versatile cast sings, dances and carries on to the songs he made famous: Jitterbug Waltz, This Joint Is Jumpin’, Your Feets Too Big, Spreadin’ Rhythm Around, Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now, Honeysuckle Rose and, of course, Ain’t Misbehavin’. Sassy, silly, sultry and with moments of devastating beauty.
Oregon Cabaret Theatre hits the spot if you’re looking for fun, talented and snazzy-jazzy entertainment.  One of Ashland’s performing arts venues that have shows on Monday nights!
June 6 – August 31
Previews June 4 & 5
Performances Wednesday – Monday @ 8:00
(no show July 4)
Sunday Brunch matinees @ 1:00
For more information visit Oregon Cabaret Theatre’s website

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Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, Bluegrass May 9


An Evening of Bluegrass with Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum; and also with Robin and Linda Williams

Laurie Lewis

Laurie Lewis

St. Claire Eclectic Music Concert Series presents Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum Bluegrass at it’s best!  With Robin and Linda Williams a great night not to be missed.

Since forming a musical partnership in 1986, Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum have recorded 12 albums and performed around the globe. These Grammy-nominated artists are widely regarded as among the leading lights of modern bluegrass and are highly-prized by their peers as sidemen and producers.

Friday, May 9, 2014 • 8pm
Tickets: $25/advance, $28/door, $10/teens 12–17,
children under 12 are free with paying adult.
Unitarian Fellowship, 4th and C Streets, Ashland, Oregon

Robin and Linda Williams

Robin and Linda Williams

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Hair, Let the Sun Shine In! in Medford April 23


Craterian Theater at the Collier Center presents “Hair, Let the Sun Shine In!”

Hair Poster

Hair

This groundbreaking musical rocked the world in the 1960s with its youthful exuberance and dramatic interpretation of the social clashes of Vietnam War era America. “Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine in,” “Good Morning, Starshine” and “Easy to be Hard” filled the airwaves. Today, human struggles for peace, equality, truth and freedom continue and as The Baltimore Sun says, “HAIR still has something significant to say.”

April 23, 2014, 7:30 pm

23 S. Central Ave, Medford, OR 97501
Box Office: 541–779-3000

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David Roth, singer/songwriter, April 12


David Roth Inspirational Singer/Songwriter

St. Claire Eclectic Music Concert Series presents David Roth

David Roth

David Roth

David has stayed with me in the past … this description is ever so true:

David and his music will touch you to the very depths of your soul. He’ll make you laugh and cry, inspire you to rise and fly…” Jack Canfield, co-author Chicken Soup for the Soul

Saturday, April 12, 2014 • 8pm
Tickets: $18/advance, $20/door, $10/teens 12–17,
children under 12 are free with paying adult.
Unitarian Fellowship, 4th and C Streets, Ashland

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Kathy Mattea in Medford April 10


Craterian Theater at the Collier Center presents Kathy Mattea

Kathy Mattea

Kathy Mattea

The chart-topping and Grammy Award-winning recording artist returns to the Craterian for another sweet evening of music rich with family stories and influences from bluegrass to gospel to Celtic.

In 2008’s Grammy-nominated Coal and 2012’s Calling Me Home, Mattea mines her deep Appalachian and West Virginian roots to remarkable effect with her exquisite alto. As the Hartford Courant says, “Her voice stands out as a rare blend of warmth and power.”

April 10, 2014, 7:30 pm
23 S. Central Ave, Medford, OR 97501
Box Office: 541–779-3000

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