portugal sets massed viola guinness record

From the 2011 Portugal viola biennial.

Hat tip to Evan, via Slipped Disc.

oct 1 concert program (replaces upshaw special)

Well, if you’ve been wanting to hear the Oregon Symphony featured in some high-octane orchestral showpieces in the months following our Carnegie Hall concert last May, then you’re in for a treat – and the best news is that this concert will be affordable for all!

Here’s the program:

Walton: Scapino, A Comedy Overture
Franck: The Accursed Huntsman
Debussy: Rondes de printemps (Spring Round Dance) from Images
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
Chabrier: España
Barber: School for Scandal Overture
Copland: Corral Nocturne from Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes
Gershwin/Bennett: Porgy and Bess:A Symphonic Picture

And the ticket prices:

$15 / $20 / $25 / $40 for families*
*The $40 Family Pack option is available by calling our Ticket Office at 503-228-1353 (M-F, 10am-6pm).

Yes, you read that right – you can bring the entire family (up to five people) can see a great concert for $40. That is less than it costs to go to the movies for two people (with concessions) these days!

flux in search of a capacitor

I’ve been at the Sunriver Music Festival for the past 11 years or so, and this year is one for the history books. Our long time and beloved music director Lawrence Leighton Smith (or simply “Larry”, as he’s known to everyone here) has had to bow out of participating in the festival due to a frightening brain illness, we have an interim conductor whom we’ve never seen before, and the schedule is condensed from the usual two weeks to just ten days, all with the same amount of concerts to play and repertoire to learn. It has, thus far, been a less than satisfactory experience for many of us in the orchestra.

The Sunriver Music Festival was founded 34 years ago by a group of musicians and year-round SR residents who wanted to provide high quality classical music to this resort community. Over the years, the quality of the festival has grown, largely under the leadership of Larry Smith, both artistically and in terms of audiences. The 2008 crash however, really put the screws to the Central Oregon economy, which is built upon two sectors that rely upon a good, strong economy: construction and tourism. Like many other arts organizations around the state and the country, the SRMF had to find ways to make (as Tim Gunn would say) it work, even as other festivals (the Cascade Festival of Music) succumbed to mismanagement and artistic malfeasance.

The Sunriver Resort had always been a stalwart supporter of the festival, for many years giving us the Great Hall (a prime wedding and conference rental space) for two weekends of rehearsals and concerts. As the economy continued to sour, and ownership changed, the disinclination of the resort to provide four prime rental days to the festival increased. This forced the SRMF board to seek to try to capture some of the audience left high and dry by the sinking of the Cascade Festival, which involved our doing two concerts plus a pops concert in Bend – the pops concert usually in one of the three major high school auditoriums, and the two classical concerts at the refurbished Tower Theatre in downtown Bend. This introduced the notion of commuting to Bend twice a day (12 miles each way for most of us) on concert days in the first week, which took us out of the insular resort atmosphere of Sunriver. It was not a positive development for many of us, who loved being in Sunriver, away from the congestion that was increasingly plaguing Bend during its skyrocketing development boom.

This year, the resort would give us three days in the Great Hall, but they couldn’t be the lucrative Friday/Saturday nights. So that forced the board to put our final two classical concerts (plus a piano recital) in the Great Hall on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. Hence, our compressed schedule. Thus far we have rehearsed four different programs in five days, with three performances in that time as well. Oof! To put this into a bit of perspective, a couple of years ago we would have arrived on Sunday, had rehearsals starting on Monday morning (with a pops concert Monday night), and had our first two classical concerts on Friday and Saturday. We would have Sunday off, then rehearsals for the week two repertoire would begin on Monday morning, and so it would go. There was plenty of time to enjoy our surroundings, do some hiking, practice, and generally relax a bit in between services. This year, however, it has been basically nothing but hard work. We did get an extra night off due to a three-hour rehearsal on Saturday morning, which helped a great deal, but the first week was a major slug fest. It leaves me wondering if I would choose to come back next year if the schedule were to remain the same.

Fortunately, there might be some other options for performing (or rehearsing) than the Great Hall after a new recreation complex is completed at the end of this summer. The auditorium that we’ve rehearsed in at the Three Rivers elementary school is a decent acoustic (with actual reverberation which is nonexistent in the Great Hall) and has plenty of good parking, and is only about 3 minutes farther away than the Great Hall. So, there will be many discussions between the musicians and board of the SRMF over the ensuing months, and hopefully a more mutually pleasing arrangement can be reached.