Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bob Priest and MMM - Part 4

Here's the final installment of the interview with Bob Priest of March Music Moderne.

What are the events for today?

High noon at TaborSpace is a free lecture/concert by recently formed Oregon Composers Watch, co-sponsored by Oregon Arts Watch, Cascadia Composers, and Classical Revolution PDX. Brett Campbell will introduce the music of three excellent Oregon composers: Bonnie Miksch, Christopher Corbell, and Jedadiah Bernards. You will definitely be hearing more from this friendly fellowship as they are major advocates for local music of our time.

Then, 2 pm in at the Niche Bar in Vancouver, you can catch Ghost Town Poetry and Jazz with poet extraordinaire Christopher Luna who will read a cornucopia of poems backed up by a jazz ensemble – sort of like a ‘50s beatnik happening. You might even call this left field afternoon "way up north" an homage to the Beat Poets.

Baaaack in PDX at 4 pm chez Performance Works NW, a schlammin' Demolition Duo gig featuring super tasty drummer Ken Ollis and sax-shred maestro Dr. John Savage will pin you to the wall, mon! Dynamite duos plus improvised trios and large ensemble compositions are on tap. A celebration of on the spot creativity without a safety net, DD's performance also doubles as a CD release party for a new Ollis/Savage release on PJCE Records. This unique MMM roustabout is sponsored by PDX's absolutely invaluable Creative Music Guild.

Over at the Community Music Center's jewel of a concert hall at 7:30 pm, "Storm Session" is an All-Svoboda concert with MC Hammered Klavier. Scarily brilliant, laser focussed & steamin' hot pianist Maria Choban and friends will perform dazzlers by the great Tomas Svoboda in celebration of his 75th birthday. Yep, yet another unbelievably bitchen free MMM concert with MCHK unveiling a brand spankin' new Svoboda CD to boot! Place your bets now as to whether or not the house pi-an-a will survive the storm that is Maria Choban. BYO-OMG meter!

A ravishing 11 pm, waaaaay after-hours candle-lit Recalled to Life concert at St. David of Wales Church closes out this Saturday's high 5-spot. Bask in 20th and 21st century music with 13th century lighting as Beth Karp and friends illuminate musical lovelies by David Schiff, Benjamin Britten, Ahmed Saygun, and Aaron Berenbach.

OK, since we emerge from St. David's just after the clock strikes Sunday, why not keep beauty and grace awake with a 9 am musical meditation at the Zen Center of Portland? Scott Emery, MD and Larry Christensen, PhD, will offer revelatory insights on Music – Synesthesia – Meditation – how music affects and can trigger an intermingling of your other 4 senses. Some folks associate music with colors (Scriabin and Messiaen) while others associate music with smells (yours truly), etc. Come find out more about this interesting phenomena with two specialists in the field. Scott Emery is a neurologist at Kaiser Permanente and Larry Christensen is the head teacher at the deeply nurturing Zen Center of PDX. Another free presentation; so come on down, not all that long after dawn!

Friends of Rain, an excellent new music ensemble directed by Michael Johanson at Lewis and Clark College, will air recent works by visiting Chicago-based composer Mischa Zupko, PSU's Bonnie Miksch, featured MMM Canadian composer/scholar James Harley, and Maestro Johanson. The concert takes place at Gregg Pavilion on the L and C campus. Friends of Rain has been part of MMM since day one and their gigs are always rendered with authority by some of PDX's best musicians.

Next up, at 3 pm, the Oregon Symphony presents “Tango Caliente,” music of the uber-great Astor Piazzolla with dancers at the Schnitz. This exciting program is part of the orchestra’s pops series and puts Tango Pacifico to scintillating use. The band includes Erin Furbee and Jeff Johnson, who are both members of OSO. It is because of this program that I decided to thread Tango throughout MMM IV as a central MMM festspiel theme.

Electric Marzena Land at SE's Community Music Center is one of my own direct productions. This 6 pm tribute to Jimi Hendrix is an electro-acoustic concert with a bit of text, lights and lite staging. David Loftus will recite a fragment from Sherman Alexie's short story, "Because my Father always said he was the only Indian to see Jimi Hendrix play the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock" just before Jim(i) Harley's "Spangled" closes out this 45 minute show. "Spangled" is one of the standout works on my "Hendrix Uncovered" CD that will be given out for free in the lobby. EML also includes signal electro-acoustic music by Iannis Xenakis, Susan Alexjander, Hildegard Westerkamp, Jonathan Harvey, and The Residents - an insane skewering of Beatles tunes a la collage.

MMM IV's grand finale at 7:30 is a highly eclectic offering from my Free Marz String Trio – virtuosi Hae-jin Kim (violin), Kenji Bunch (viola), and Diane Chaplin (cello). Recent works by Ennio Morricone, James Harley, Iannis Xenakis, and a thrilling recent discovery, Dobrinka Tabakova (U.S. Premiere) go up "against" the 9 canons from Bach's "Goldberg Variations" in a program of international scope. Free Marz's “Erik Satie Tango Project” is a Baby LeRoy Memorial Trust funded commission for nine new tangos based on Satie’s “Tango Perpetuel.” Each composer takes the basic outline of Satie’s short little tango and runs with it in their own inimitable style. All I ask is that they use Satie’s first and last measures so we can string them together as one brand new, uh, “Tango Perpetuel.” Plus, actor David Loftus returns to read short prose selections from Ray Bradbury, Italo Calvino, Elias Canetti and Jasmina Reza to help flesh out our program's narrative of "The Marzian Chronicles." This concert is free and is followed by a fabulous reception catered by Exuberance Catering featuring "Les Vins Magnifiques" from Yamhill's WillaKenzie Estate. Oh, did I already mention that our festspiel finale and farewell is FREE? Then what, you wonder? Well, plans for March Music Moderne V are already shaping up. So, y'all can join us in the there of the then when we will once again listen to the here of the now in Global Village PDX . . .

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